Reader’s links for March 21 – 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

84 Replies to “Reader’s links for March 21 – 2016”

  1. U.S. sailor incident: What Carter couldn’t put on record to Congress – plus Iran’s new taunt
    By J.E. Dyer March 19, 2016

    In case you were wondering, the leaders of Iran’s military despise America. If they hadn’t made that clear before, they have now.

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is planning to build a statue of the US sailors who were captured in Iranian waters earlier this year, a senior officer said.

    The provocative proposal is likely to cause outrage in the US and be seized on by Republicans opposed to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

    Commander Ali Fadavi, the head of the Guard’s naval forces, said the monument of the surrendering Americans would be a “tourist attraction”.

    “There are very many photographs of the major incident of arresting US Marines in the Persian Gulf in the media and we intend to build a symbol out of them inside one of our naval monuments,” he told Iran’s Defense Press news agency.

    The knife-twisting is getting a little silly at this point – seriously, they don’t have something better to do? – but it’s probably going to continue.

    • I’d seen the Tower report, but J.E.’s scathing indictment is satisfying.
      But one of her commenters cut that short with, Note, there is no Deus ex Machina that mandates civilization winning.

      We know with absolute certainty now, if not so patently before, that the Daily Beast is a house organ playing for the wrong side.

  2. Obama must be beside himself over the ascension of The Donald. What could possibly be worse for Barry than Trump? Trump has always made it no secret that he thinks the president’s credentials stink. Two years from now the US will probably be back to where it used to be and all of Mr. “No Drama’s” improvements will be undone and his legacy will simply not exist. So sorry. Ah, so…

    So, let me see now… Mrs. Clinton is in the foetal position on the bathroom floor weeping, “Make the bad men stop”, and Hussein is simply letting out one continuous hour-long wail of, “Nooooooooooooooooooo…” The pair of them must be pretty much contemplating suicide at the moment. If anybody thinks the FBI would investigate the leading Presidential candidate during the nomination cycle for no good reason they are out of their minds. You’d spend the rest of your career changing the catbox at the Polar ice station if you did that. It’s unthinkable…

    • Unless they cut some deal with Trump.
      I don’t know enough about him.

      Those who know where every mouldering skeleton lives in his many, many closets may offer him a deal he just can’t refuse.

      • I know what you mean, however events may take that option away from the left, if/when the big time fighting starts the option of blackmailing Trump may go out the window with the conclusion that if he doesn’t defend the US to the full extend of his and our ability the blackmailers will be dealing with the officers who lead a coup.

        Don’t count that possibility out until the war is over.

      • Hillary knows too much for Obama to let her be prosecuted, she could cut a deal for a lesser sentence if she testified against Obama. That is why Obama will pardon her before leaving office. He will do everything he can to avoid that because the fact that he thought she needed a pardon will kill her chances of being elected.

    • I hope it can happen in 2 years but am afraid it will take 6 or more.

      It depends on how fast the war gets real big, I think it will take off real fast but have been wrong on the timing of just about every move in this war.

  3. Soros Board Member Chairs Firm Running Online Voting for Tuesday’s Utah Caucuses

    Smartmatic Group, an electronic voting firm whose worldwide headquarters is located in the United Kingdom, will be running the online balloting process in the Utah Republican Open Caucuses on Tuesday.

    The chairman of Smartmatic’s board, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, currently serves on the board of George Soros’s Open Society Foundation and has close ties to the billionaire.

    The Wall Street Journal dubbed the Republican party’s online adventure on Tuesday as “one of the biggest online votes conducted so far in the U.S.” and the “largest experiment with online presidential voting since 2004, when Michigan allowed Democrats to vote in a party caucus via the Internet.”

  4. Erdogan’s boomerang: Turkey is now at total war
    It was Erdogan who ended the peace talks with the Kurds, declared war on the PKK, and joined the coalition against ISIS. Now he finds himself in an all-out war across three fronts.

    Israeli diplomatic and intelligence channels are attempting to verify if the attack in Istanbul intentionally targeted Israeli tourists, although it is more likely that the Israelis were caught up as bystanders along with other tourists. Turkey receives 35 million tourists a year from many countries, mainly tourists from nearby countries.

    State tourism has not been affected, despite the recent terror wave which has hit the country, with a number of deadly attacks perpetrated by both Kurds and ISIS. This is in fact a war which has been going on for around six months, and has so far killed nearly 3,000 people.

    A year ago, Erogan’s AKP party failed to win over 50% in the national elections, as it had been accustomed in the recent past. In order to form a government, he required a coalition agreement with the Nationalist Party – an extreme right-wing party, who believed that Erdogan was not forceful enough in the struggle with the Kurds.

    Until those elections, the Turkish government had been conducting peace talks with the Kurdish minority, including its militant wing – the PKK movement led by Abdullah Öcalan, who is sitting in prison, who was a key figure in the talks aimed at strengthening the ceasefire and discussing the expansion of Kurdish autonomy.

    Erdogan ended the peace talks and actually declared war on the PKK. In practice, by doing so he declared war on most of the country’s Kurdish minority. Six months ago it seemed that his gamble was paying off. He took votes from the Nationalist Party, whose power was reduced from 80 deputies to 40, and the AKP won an absolute majority. But the price is being paid in a rise in terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, whose impact is greater and more painful.

    Effectively, Turkey is at total war across three borders: the war on the home front against the PKK, a war against the Kurdish minority in Syria, and a war against PKK training camps in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turkish military is hitting targets from the air in Iraq, as well as sending special forces into the field.

    In Syria, Turkey does not dare send its planes over the border, for fear of having them downed by Russian jets and air defense batteries. Erdogan is instead making do with an artillery bombardment in a desperate attempt to prevent the Kurds in Syria, who with the help of the US and Russian air power, have been able to capture territory from ISIS and establish an independent province along the Turkish border.

    To facilitate the struggle against the Kurds, Erdogan changed his policy towards ISIS. Turning from clandestine support or turning a blind eye to their presence in Syria, which caused the US and the West to censure him, he decided to join the international coalition against ISIS, opening a front against them.

    It is difficult to know what Erdogan was thinking when he decided to move against the Kurds at home and abroad, and join the war against ISIS. Perhaps he thought that they would not respond, or that it was a calculated move on his part. Either way, both the Kurds and ISIS have responded to Erdogan’s gambles with deadly terrorist attacks.

    [The conclusion of a long but worthy article]
    The Kurds today—in Iraq, in Syria, in Turkey, and even in Iran—are stronger and more important actors in the Middle East than they have ever been in modern history. A bid to establish an independent Kurdish state is ever more plausible. Success in achieving self-determination, however, rarely comes without assistance from an outside power. And unlike America, whose relationship with NATO ally Turkey blocks it from embracing full-fledged Kurdish statehood, Russia is relatively free to back the idea of a sovereign independent Kurdistan.

    Putin, in short, is in a unique position to bring Russia’s centuries-long relationship with the Kurds to a logical culmination and deal a devastating blow to Turkey in the process. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu both profess an admiration for Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II. They would do well to remember that it was during Abdulhamid II’s reign that Russian arms and diplomacy secured Bulgarian, Romanian, and Serbian independence. Kurdistan perhaps awaits its own liberator tsar.

    • This could be, if I were in Putins boots I would consider setting up the Kurds and the Christians in client states that would provide places to preposition equipment and munitions and semi stable airports to use for military strikes. If you look at the efforts of the Russians from way back in the time of the Czars to the present they have wanted to control most of Asia.

  6. Living in chains: In Indonesia, mentally ill kept shackled in filthy cells (CNN, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Jakarta (CNN)Engkos Kosasih kept his 50-year-old daughter locked in a room in the house because he thought someone had cast a spell on her. The windows were boarded up so she couldn’t escape.

    For 15 years, she lived in darkness and isolation.

    “She became destructive, dug up other people’s crops and ate raw corn from the plant. I was ashamed and scared,” Kosasih said.

    He first bound her wrists and ankles with cables but she managed to untie herself. So for years, Kosasih kept her in the room, pushing in plates of food twice a day through a hole in the wall. No one entered to clean up. His daughter used stones to dig up the cement floor in an attempt to escape and slept on the rubble.

    Common practice
    Pasung — the practice of confining or restraining relatives with mental health problems — was banned in Indonesia in 1977 but remains startlingly common.

    According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), more than 57,000 people in Indonesia “with real or perceived psychosocial disabilities” have been shackled or locked up in confined spaces at least once in their lives.

    Around 18,800 people are kept in pasung today, HRW said in a new report released Monday.

    A spokesman for the Indonesian Health Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment.

    Kriti Sharma, a researcher with HRW who researched and wrote the report, found Kosasih’s daughter in a rural part of Cianjur, West Java.

    Sharma said many Indonesians believe people with psychosocial disabilities are possessed by the devil or evil spirits.

    “Superstition is so prevalent that the first step is to find a faith healer,” she said.

    Two months after HRW visited the family, Kosasih’s daughter was released by her family.

    Aid workers suffer mental health crisis

    Persistent beliefs
    The government has long tried to eradicate pasung, however superstitious beliefs, stigma against mental illness and a lack of understanding of mental health is keeping many in chains, even after they are rescued.

    In Central Java, 29-year-old Carika was locked in a filthy, cramped goat shed for four years, “barely able to stand or move around and forced to eat, sleep and defecate amid the nauseating stench of goat droppings,” according to HRW.

    Carika was released five years ago but her family ran out of money to pay for her medication and her condition worsened.

    Just a few days ago, Carika was returned to the shed.

    “It’s a vicious cycle. The medicine ran out and she got worse. It was too expensive for the family to get her treatment,” Sharma said.

    Access to care
    According to the World Health Organization Ministry of Health, there are only 48 mental hospitals in Indonesia for a population of more than 250 million. More than half of those hospitals are located in just four of the country’s 34 provinces.

    Even when a province does have a hospital, many families can’t afford transportation costs to get there.

    While basic medical services are provided by village health centers, there are few trained mental health professionals outside of big cities.

    There are around 800 psychiatrists in Indonesia, or one for every 300,000 people.

    Those patients that are taken to hospitals are frequently subject to abuse and unorthodox treatments such as electro-shock therapy. At traditional centers, healers often recite the Koran into patients’ ears, force feed them herbal concoctions and subject them to vigorous, even violent massages that result in painful, extensive bruising, according to HRW.

    “The few facilities and services that do exist often do not respect the basic human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities and greatly contribute to the abuses against them,” HRW said.

    The situation can often be only a slight improvement on being confined at home.

    “People are routinely forced to sleep, eat, urinate, and defecate in the same space,” Sharma said.

    Breaking the taboo: It’s time to talk about mental health

    Government response
    In 2014, the Indonesian parliament passed the Mental Health Act to improve the dire state of mental health services in the country.

    Next month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to sign the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, designed to protect and promote the rights of those with disabilities.

    While HRW is supportive of the government’s desire to promote mental health and end the practice of home confinement, it warned that policies must be fully implemented on the ground.

    That means affording basic and equal rights to a person with psychosocial disabilities or mental health conditions, according to HRW

    “The thought that someone has been living in their own excrement and urine for 15 years in a locked room, isolated and not given any care whatsoever is just horrifying,” Sharma said.

    “So many people told me, ‘This is like living in hell.’ It really is.””

  7. Now students have to be shown how to use the toilets: Top university puts up bizarre warning signs in campus loos after complaints about ‘awful’ mess
    The University of Sheffield created cards to show how to use the toilet
    Basic techniques including sitting and flushing paper away are included
    Students posted signs on social media and thought they were a joke
    Sources say toilets are ‘pretty disgusting’ and cleaners have had enough

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

  8. Greece: Evacuation of Lesbos refugees underway after EU-Turkey deal

    Around 400 refugees arrived in the northern Greek city of Kavala after getting the ferry from Lesbos, Monday morning, as the evacuation of 6,000 asylum seekers from temporary camps on Greek islands begins, following the EU-Turkey repatriation agreement struck on Friday.

    • Greece: EU staff arrive in Idomeni as Turkey deal comes into effect

      The first group of workers from the EASO (European Asylum Support Office) arrived in the Idomeni refugee camp in northern Greece on Monday. The workers are there to begin hearing and processing asylum applications from the nearly 12,000 people currently living in the camp.

    • Greece: ‘We want Germany!’ – Yazidi refugees protest at Idomeni camp

      Members of the Yazidi community protested at the Idomeni refugee camp near the Greek-Macedonia border on Monday, where they called on the Macedonian government to re-open the frontier.

      Protesters marched along the train tracks which run through the centre of the camp holding signs reading ‘Let us pass the border, we are Yazidi minority,’ among others. The group chanted “we want Germany” with several members holding sheets of paper with the slogan ‘Obama and Merkel, I am dying here.’

    • Greece: 1,500 refugees arrive at Elefsina port from Lesbos

      Around 1,500 refugees reached Elefsina port aboard the “Eleutherios Venizelos” ship on Monday morning having embarked from the island of Lesbos. Upon disembarking the refugees were transported by bus to a provisional shelter in Scaramanga.

    • Greece: Young refugees at Idomeni urge Merkel to help

      Children staying at the Idomeni refugee camp near the Greek-Macedonia border staged a protest on Monday, in which they called on the Macedonian government to re-open the frontier and asked for assistance from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Paris attacks: Suspect’s ‘accomplice’ named as Najim Laachraoui (BBC, Mar 21, 2016)

      “Belgian prosecutors say that DNA has identified an accomplice of captured Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.

      The man is named as Najim Laachraoui, 24, still on the run. A statement said he had been using false ID and that his DNA had been found in houses used by the suspected jihadist network.

      Abdeslam was captured in Brussels on Friday and is still being interrogated.

      French President Francois Hollande will later meet relatives of some of the 130 killed in the 13 November attacks.

      Meanwhile, Abdeslam’s lawyer has denied Belgian media reports the suspect will become an informer in return for more lenient treatment.

      So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the Paris attacks…”

    • DAILY MAIL – Gunned down: Incredible moment Paris attacker is shot by Belgian police as he tried to flee…and dropped a note as he was hauled to the ground which may hold clues to fresh attacks

      Salah Abdeslam, 26, arrested in Molenbeek, Brussels, on Friday
      Video shows him being shot in the leg as police took him down
      Moment he drops a note from his trousers also caught on camera
      French authorities said he had planned new terror strike in Belgium
      Prosecutor confirmed he was meant to be fourth Stade de France bomber

  9. A woman beheaded in the road. Five headless corpses hanging from cranes. As a documentary exposes the horror of life in Saudi Arabia, why DOES Britain cosy up to this kingdom of savagery? (dailymail, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Five bodies hang from a pole suspended between two cranes, a public display which serves as a reminder to those who might contemplate a life of crime.

    They belonged to a gang of five robbers, all of whom were publicly beheaded before their corpses were hoisted high in the air, where they remained for days.

    The gruesome sight is one scene in a shocking documentary to be aired this week which sheds light on life in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s bloodiest and most secretive countries…”

  10. North Korea Launches 15th ‘Projectile’ in 2 Weeks

    by Alastair Jamieson and Stella Kim

    North Korea has fired several projectiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korean officials said Monday amid concerns that Kim Jong Un’s regime is preparing to conduct another test of its nuclear weapons.

    “We are confirming that North Korea has fired five short-range projectiles off its northeastern coast area into the East Sea,” a South Korean military officer said. “North Korea has launched 15 different projectiles on four different dates since firing the long-range missile on Feb. 7.”

    • One of three things is happening:

      1) Kim is in a lot of trouble and trying to keep the Armies minds off replacing him.

      2) China is up to something and wants the worlds attention on North Korea.

      3) Iran is up to something and is paying Kim to keep attention on North Korea.

      And it could be a combination of any two or all three.

  11. Nine in ten hospitals are now unsafe: Bed blocking fuelling overcrowding crisis with a third running out of spaces at least once this winter (dailymail, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Nine in ten hospitals are so overcrowded they are deemed unsafe, NHS figures reveal.

    A third have run out of beds at least once this winter including some where it has happened nearly every other day.

    Desperately ill patients needing to be admitted from A&E are having to languish for hours on trolleys waiting for the next bed to become available.

    Figures show that 143 out of 154 hospital trusts in England are currently more than 85 per cent occupied – the maximum level considered to be safe.

    Patients are more likely to die when this limit is breached because rushed staff make more mistakes and are not able to monitor patients properly for signs of deterioration. There is also a higher risk of hospital-acquired infections because staff may not have time to wash their hands properly or clean equipment adequately.

    Data analysed by Labour also reveals that 49 hospital trusts ran out of beds altogether on at least one occasion since the end of November…”

      • Indeed… Plus there is this constant rather massive influx of new people into the country. And as it seems the “system” is not really benefiting from it (by observation), despite many people in high place claiming the converse (by imagination).

  12. Yemeni Jews brought to Israel in secret mission (BBC, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Some of the last remaining Jews in war-torn Yemen have been brought to Israel in a secret mission.

    The Jewish Agency, which is responsible for Jewish immigration to Israel, said 19 people had arrived in recent days, among them a rabbi carrying a 500-year-old Torah scroll.

    The non-profit organisation said some 50 Jews had chosen to stay in Yemen.

    Since 1948, 51,000 Jews have emigrated to Israel from Yemen, which has one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities.

    Almost all of them were brought to Israel as part of Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 and 1950.

    In recent years, some 200 Jews have left as attacks against the Jewish community have increased and the country has descended into war.

    The Jewish Agency announced on Monday that the group landed in Israel on Sunday night following a “complex covert operation”.

    “Nineteen individuals arrived in Israel in recent days, including 14 from the town of Raydah and a family of five from Sanaa,” a statement said.

    “The group from Raydah included the community’s rabbi, who brought a Torah scroll believed to be between 500 and 600 years old.”

    The Jewish Agency said attacks against Jews in Yemen had risen sharply since 2008, when Jewish teacher Moshe Yaish Nahari was murdered in Raydah.

    In 2012, Aharon Zindani – whose son and four other relatives were on board Sunday’s flight to Israel – was murdered in Sanaa and a young Jewish woman was abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forcibly wed to a Muslim man, it added.

    After the conflict between the Yemeni government and the rebel Houthi movement escalated a year ago, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily, the Jewish community found itself increasingly imperilled and covert operations to spirit Jews out of Yemen were stepped up.

    The Jewish Agency said some 50 Jews remain in Yemen, including approximately 40 in Sanaa, where they live in a closed compound adjacent to the US embassy and enjoy the protection of Yemeni authorities.

    Both the capital and Raydah are controlled by the Zaidi Shia Houthi movement, whose slogan is: “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel. A curse on the Jews. Victory to Islam.”

    Sunni jihadist militants from al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) have also gained ground by taking advantage of the unrest.

    The Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, said the arrival of the final group of Jewish immigrants from Yemen was “a highly significant moment in the history of Israel”.

    “From Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 until the present day, the Jewish Agency has helped bring Yemenite Jewry home to Israel. Today we bring that historic mission to a close.”

    “This chapter in the history of one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities is coming to an end, but Yemenite Jewry’s unique, 2,000-year-old contribution to the Jewish people will continue in the State of Israel.””

    • And these last ones are bonkers-crazy. Inbred, hunted like wild game for sport their whole lives. They have to be treated very gently. But there’s a good community in Israel for them, thank heavens.

  13. The Latest: Activist Say IS Loyalists Take Syrian Village (abcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “… Activists who monitor the Syrian war say that a militant faction loyal to the Islamic State group has taken a village in southern Syria that was previously in the hands of an al-Qaida affiliate and other militant factions.

    The two activist groups — the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees — say that Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades, which are loyal to the IS, captured the village of Tseel on Monday.

    The Observatory said three fighters were killed on the side of al-Qaida’s branch for Syria, known as the Nusra Front, including the group’s top commander for the south.

    The fighting came days after clashes between the Nusra Front and groups loyal to IS in southern Syria….”

  14. 4 US Senators Meet Saudi King Salman Ahead of Obama Visit (abcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Saudi Arabia’s official news agency says King Salman has met with a U.S. Congressional delegation ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit next month.

    The Saudi Press Agency says the delegation was led by ranking Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Ben Cardin, D-M.D., and included Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Maryland, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Republican Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

    SPA says Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also attended Monday’s meeting.

    On Sunday, the senators met in Doha with Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

    Obama is due to visit Saudi Arabia on April 21 and attend a Gulf Cooperation Council summit. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.”

  15. The Latest: EU’s Frontex Seeks 1,500 Police for Greece (abcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “… The European Union border control agency Frontex says it’s seeking 1,500 police officers and 50 readmissions officers from the bloc’s member states to help Greece return migrants to Turkey.

    The announcement Monday comes after the 28-member bloc and Turkey reached a deal last Friday under which migrants who arrive in Greece will be returned to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum or if they make a failed asylum request.

    Greece does not have enough officials to process all the asylum-seekers flooding across the Aegean Sea from Turkey.

    Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri said “Frontex can only return people once the Greek authorities have thoroughly analyzed each individual case and issued a final return decision.”…”

  16. China says U.S.-Philippines base deal raises questions

    BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Monday agreements like the one reached last week by the United States and the Philippines allowing for a U.S. military presence at five Philippine bases raised questions about militarization in the South China Sea.

    The United States is keen to boost the military capabilities of East Asian countries and its own regional presence in the face of China’s assertive pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest trade routes.

    The United States and its regional allies have expressed concern that China is militarizing the South China Sea with moves to build airfields and other military facilities on the islands it occupies.

    Asked about the base deal, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that U.S.-Philippine cooperation should not be targeted at any third party nor harm other nations’ sovereignty or security interests.

    “I also want to point out that recently the U.S. military likes to talk about the so-called militarization of the South China Sea,” Hua told a daily news conference.

    “Can they then explain, isn’t this kind of continued strengthening of military deployments in the South China Sea and areas surrounding it considered militarization?”

  17. Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia demands withdrawal of U.S. force deployed in Iraq

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – An Iranian-backed militia said on Monday it said it would treat U.S. Marines deployed in Iraq to fight Islamic State as forces of occupation and “deal” with the foreign troops.

    Washington said on Sunday a detachment of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit was in Iraq, bolstering efforts by the United States and a coalition of allies against Islamic State.

    “If the U.S. administration doesn’t withdraw its forces immediately, we will deal with them as forces of occupation,” the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia said on its TV channel, al-Ahd.

    “The forces of occupation are making a new suspicious attempt to restore their presence in the country under the pretext of fighting their own creation, Daesh,” the Shi’ite Muslim militia added, referring to an acronym for Islamic State, a ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim movement.

    • Putin was moving the Russian troops out of the line of fire so Russia wouldn’t be involved in any fighting with US forces. With Obama on the way out any attack on US troops will shift votes from the Dems to either Trump or Curz.

  18. The bizarre, even crazy intemperance of Trump haters

    By J.E. Dyer March 20, 2016

    Once again, let me clarify at the outset that I’m not a Trump supporter. I think Ted Cruz ?
    is the president we need. So I don’t write this from the perspective of someone who wants people to vote for Trump.

    I do write it from the perspective of someone who is daily astounded by the wild, urgent desperation of those who are horrified by Donald Trump. It’s like a whole segment of the American population has lost its mind.

    The segment has two basic components. One is the radical left, which is turning out in droves to rant dementedly against a candidate the radical left has little if anything to fear from. (One somewhat different aspect of the insanity here — and here.)

    The left

    Policy-wise, Trump has never proposed anything the rad-left might object to that’s at all likely to happen. Nor is there any reason to think Trump would try to do things he hasn’t talked about that the rad-left would oppose. Trump isn’t a limited-government, rule-of-law conservative. He’s just fine with using government to prejudice outcomes – and he and the left aren’t as far apart on outcomes as the media piously suggest.

    They’re certainly not far apart on principles for the use of government. The rad-left doesn’t want freedom for Americans, and Trump is not a “freedom-on-principle” guy. Trump and the rad-left are both on the opposite side from me, because neither of them thinks actual freedom is better than using government prejudicially.

    One random, illustrative example. I think businesses should not be under a government mandate to — picking one item out of many — install wheelchair ramps on the floors of factories.* There’s a whole apparatus of disability regulation at the federal level that needs to be lifted off of businesses. (States can do what they want – if the people approve it.)

    Trump doesn’t want to try to fundamentally change that regulatory burden; he doesn’t think of it as government that’s too big. He’s not a freedom-on-principle guy.

    The rad-left sees all such regulation as a method for shakedowns and rent-seeking. The more government regulates, the more power regulators have to tie the people down and pillage them. The left’s life is dedicated to this dynamic.

  19. Deutsche Welle – On the alert against right-wing extremism

    Stephan Kramer, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thüringen

  20. TIMES OF INDIA – blog – Radical Islam creates terrorism…why should USA give Islam special protection? Trump’s a buffoon, Cruz is fine: Daniel Pipes

    […]Your organisation is termed Islamophobic by some.

    I don’t use that term ‘Islamophobic’ – it’s silly. For decades, I’ve been saying radical Islam is the problem, modern Islam is the solution.

    That doesn’t mean i hate Islam. I hate a certain form of Islam – just as many Muslims do. I work against that radical version of Islam.

    That certainly doesn’t mean I am against Islam as such.

    -In the US today, there are three major positions vis-à-vis the issue we have.

    The establishment position says the problem is terrorism or violent extremism – in other words, it is nothing to do with Islam, it’s something that came out of nowhere. That’s the position of politicians, press and police. They take that position because it’s easier not to talk about Islam.

    There are two other positions which agree that it has something to do with Islam – but there’s one important difference between them. My position is, it is a form of Islam – and not Islam in its entirety. Only Muslims can defeat this form of Islam. I am against radical Islam.

    The third position is against Islam and Muslims as a whole – i think that is primitive and useless.

    We should work with our Muslim allies to defeat our Muslim enemies.

    […]Speaking of support, who are you backing in the US presidential race?

    I’m against Trump – he’s a buffoon, a megalomaniac and unacceptable.

    I’m against Hillary Clinton – I find the whole Clinton apparatus repugnant, dishonest and greedy.

    I’m left with Cruz – I generally agree with his views. He’s a fine human being.

  21. CANADA – Fort Edmonton Al-Rashid Mosque unveils locally designed prayer rug

    Individual voices, woven together to create a community, is the driving force behind a new project created by a group of Edmontonians and being unveiled Tuesday.

    “Various Muslim countries and cultures have prayer rugs that are symbolic of the regions that they were made in and the people that created them,” said Taouba Khelifa, program manager for Green Room, the youth program run by the Islamic Family and Social Services Association and brains behind the Edmonton prayer rug project.

    Prayer rugs, Khelifa explained, have a communicative purpose along with their obvious practical one. They can tell the story of a place or people, incorporating the historical and existing features of them through symbols and colours.

    “We started thinking about what does a Canadian prayer rug look like and what does an Edmontonian, Albertan, prayer rug look like?” Khelifa explained. “What materials would it be made of, what symbols and motifs would be on it that would represent this province and this city?”

    The conversation that began with a few friends and family grew and new threads were added to the conversation.

    Suggestions spanned from the traditional — depictions of the Al-Rashid Mosque, the first purpose-built mosque in Canada that now sits at Fort Edmonton Park — to the natural elements of the seasons and the river valley.

    Through a grant from the Edmonton Heritage Council, two people were hired to collaborate in the process — a Métis woman, Kit Walton, would serve as designer, and a Muslim woman, Noor Iqbal, would be the weaver.

    They all did their own research and then began working together to make designs that managed to mingle the elements they all felt were important. A final design was agreed upon and on Tuesday the rug is set to be unveiled.

    “It’s more subtle representations of the mosque, but we played around a lot with the land and the seasons and the colours surrounding Alberta and Edmonton,” said Khelifa.

    The background represents the colours of the seasons. The foreground has symbols of the Al-Rashid Mosque’s crescent moon minarets and Ukranian Orthodox style window arches, balanced with images of Alberta spruce trees and wheat sheaves.

    Khelifa said the goal is to have this rug serve as the first of many in a larger cultural conversation in Edmonton and across the country.

    “We created one, but there’s probably multiple other ones that can be created depicting the various communities here,” she explained, adding the rug will be on display at a few locations in Edmonton before touring across the country.

    “Our hope from this project is to start exploring the Muslim narrative across the country. What does it mean to be a Muslim Canadian? What does it mean to create a home here? Whether you’re fourth-generation Muslim or a newcomer or immigrant, what does that belonging look like to you?”

    The unveiling is taking place at the Al-Rashid Mosque at Fort Edmonton Park on March 22 at 7 p.m. Visitors will be able to see the rug along with an exhibit explaining how the design was created.

    Muslims find new home in Nunavut’s capital

    “We’d love to let people see what Islam is all about”

    […]With the help of the Winnipeg-based Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, the Islamic Society of Nunavut built and opened its new place of worship in mid-February.

    The building now serves as a place of prayer, but also as a community centre for Iqaluit’s 100 or so Muslims.

    The thin tower attached to the building and topped with a crescent moon, called a minaret, is a visual symbol of the loud speaker outside many other mosques worldwide, designed to call Muslims to prayer.

    […]In the Islamic faith, prayer is linked to the rotation of the sun, so Muslims pray at sunrise, at noon, mid-afternoon, after sunset and when darkness sets in.

    But that can be tricky in the Canadian Arctic, where the hours of daylight go between two extremes through the year.

    Islam encourages followers in northern climates to follow the sun cycle in the closest city that has what is considered, a regular cycle — in this case Ottawa. Some Iqaluit Muslims may still follow prayer times from Mecca,

  22. RT – 90 potential suicide bombers ‘roaming’ EU, arrived via migrant influx – police report

    A chilling internal French police report has revealed that as many as 90 ‘kamikazes’ may be roaming the EU. The report also states how terrorists are mastering encryption and bomb making techniques to help them achieve their aims.

  23. An Ominous Warning From Japan — Central Bankers Are Losing Control

    By Zach Scheidt, Income Editor for Agora Financial

    If you haven’t opened up your recent copy of the “Tokyo Times”, you probably don’t know of an unusual phenomena taking place across Japan…

    I am not talking about a cartoon or the latest robotic invention, but rather an economic indicator that is revealing the central banks of the world are losing their power.

    You are probably aware that Japan’s economy has been slumping for the past two decades (the “lost decades” as they say), and I am sure you have heard that the Bank of Japan recently introduced a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) across the country.

    But here’s something you may not know: according to the news out of Tokyo, Japanese hardware stores have sold out of home safes — the kind you use to store gold or valuables. Not only have they sold out of safes, but there is also a month long backorder for anyone who wishes to purchase one.

    This is a big story. Remember, central banks across the globe have gone into uncharted territory in the past few years. First it was lower interest rates. Next it was Quantitative Easing. Now, with negative interest rates hitting the shores of Japan, we’re starting to see the unintended ramifications of “weird” central bank policies. Indeed, what we’re seeing in Japan has deep implications for central bankers. Let’s take a look….

    To start the story from the beginning, people began purchasing safes when Japan imposed their negative interest rate policy less than a month ago. In theory, negative rates are supposed to prompt investors to take their money out of a bank account and put it to work. Maybe they’ll buy a new Honda? Maybe they’ll invest in the Nikkei? Either way with cash out of the banks central bankers were hoping to spark more “economic growth” as they call it.

    However, with a huge backorder on safes, it potentially means that the Japanese people are planning on hoarding their money. This is bad news for local banks and central bankers! The people are doing the exact opposite of what the central banks want. Looking ahead, this hoarding mentality undermines the entire idea behind negative interest rates and renders them ineffective.

    Negative interest rate policy is the new battlefield in the war on savers. But unlike previous battles, the central bankers are NOT on solid footing, here. It all comes down to control…

    “‘Control’ is the crux of the matter” says navy veteran turned economist Jim Grant. “Command and control is the operating method of post-2008 monetary policy. To tighten control is the open ambition of the central bankers and their civilian apologists.”


    Arthur Hartsock says

    March 21, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Unfortunately, if the whole economic system comes crashing down, then we can’t eat gold or cash. We’ll need food, water, hunting/fishing equipment, ammunition, etc. The gold won’t be useful until the society stabilizes. Lots of things more valuable than gold.

    STMA says

    March 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Spot on -I’ve been saying that for many years- people look at me sideways. I’m a “prepper”, ya know…

    Ron says

    March 21, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    If the dollar is worth nothing, stocks will be worth nothing, and then gold and silver will still have a value and can be traded for things you need. There are many other things to use for barter that will be in high demand, guns and ammunition, and any necessity, such as food, water, medicine, first aid, survival items, etc.

    Justin W says

    March 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    There’s a growing distrust in government and these all powerful financial systems. They seem to be based more on wishful thinking than basic math and sound money principles. I suspect many people are beginning to quietly pull some of their money out of banks and put it into something tangible.

    I don’t see how our present economic system of near zero or negative interest rates are sustainable. Now’s a good time to begin making decisions to protect your wealth when the elite destroy everything through their sheer incompetence.

    • I added the comments because they are also interesting.

      This pretty much sums up what is happening in the worlds financial markets, the Keynesian/socialist economics have run into uncharted territory where a solid hard currency backed by precious metals is necessary. The world doesn’t have one of those anymore.

  24. Beware ‘Democracy Spring’
    The proper response to the left’s violent provocations must be zero tolerance.

    As the 2016 field of election contestants narrows, Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has become the stormy center of campaign news coverage and a lightning rod for violent tension at his rallies. Many in the left-leaning media place the blame for the heated confrontations at his events on Trump himself; others on his supporters. Few are pointing the finger at the swelling numbers of leftist protesters aggressively organizing to shut Trump down altogether.

    A recent analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC news coverage found that all three broadcast networks have made the violence plaguing Trump’s rallies the near-exclusive focus of their campaign coverage. Their reporters specifically placed 94% of the blame – 46 instances to 3 – on Trump and his campaign, while virtually ignoring the protesters such as those who forced the cancelation of Trump’s recent appearance in Chicago.

    As Monica Crowley observed in the Washington Times, the hordes of protesters who swarmed the Chicago arena and forced Trump to cancel were operating “straight out of the Alinsky playbook: create chaos, blame the victim, stop free speech and advance progressivism.” It is “the same leftist revolution that’s been roiling America for decades.” That is evident if for no other reason than the fact that domestic terrorist Bill Ayers showed up at the Chicago protest to give it his imprimatur.

    In conversation with Sean Hannity on Fox after the Chicago cancelation, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke called the protesters “a totalitarian movement”:

  25. Global Teacher Prize Winner’s Husband Massacred Jews Celebrating Sabbath

    ou might have seen the media blowing up this story not long ago.

    Hanan Al Hroub, a Muslim settler living in the West Bank, in ’67 Israel, received the Global Teacher Prize and $1 million bucks that come with it. She was praised by Bill Clinton and Pope Francis. And she supposedly teaches non-violence to her students. Aussie Dave at Isreallycool uncovered the grim reality behind the hype.

    Hanan Al-Hroub was born and raised in the alleys of Dheisheh refugee camp and has experienced first-hand the suffering of its people. The camp is close to the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, where she went to school. She married a Palestinian freedom fighter, Omar Al-Hroub, who took part in one of the most daring guerrilla operations in the occupied territories, the Dabboya operation, in Hebron in May 1980. When the guerrillas were being pursued in the mountains they attacked a group of settlers going from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement to the Dabboya building near the Ibrahimi Mosque. Thirteen settlers were killed, including their military leader in Hebron, and dozens were injured. Months after the operation, the guerrillas were captured; Omar was imprisoned and spent many years in Israeli prisons before being released. It was then that he met and married his life partner who became the best teacher in the world.

    The actual story is that her husband took part in the brutal terrorist attack on Jews walking home from synagogue. This was the Beit Hadassah attack. (Dabboya is the name used by Muslim settlers in ’67 Israel to refer to the Jewish area.)

    Six, not thirteen, Jews were murdered. Twenty others were wounded. There was no pursuit. This was a cold-blooded ambush. The terrorists set up their position on a rooftop and opened fire on Jews celebrating the Sabbath.

  26. UK Labour Leftist: Don’t Bomb ISIS, Have Tea With Them

    You first.

    Britain would be safer if its defence policy was to have “cups of tea” with Isil terrorists rather than bomb them, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s key allies on Labour’s ruling body has said.

    Christine Shawcroft, who sits on the party’s National Executive Committee and is a senior figure in Momentum, said “That Jeremy Corbyn you know, faced with terrorists he’d sit down and have a cup of tea with them or something.”

    Ms Shawcroft went on: “Now I mean, you know, maybe we should try it! Bombing them and attacking them has got us nowhere, why don’t we get the teabags out?”


    Democracy Spring (DS) was established as a political movement in early 2016 to warn Americans that “our democracy is in crisis” because U.S. “elections are dominated by billionaires and big-money interests who can spend unlimited sums of money on political campaigns to protect their special interests at the general expense.” Though DS did not mention Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by name, it was clearly alluding to him in its vow to “make this election a referendum on whether our democracy should belong to the People as a whole or to the billionaire class” wherein “the super-rich dominate the ‘money primary’ that decides who can run for office.”

    In its earliest days, DS identified four specific reform bills that were already pending before Congress as “exemplary actions that can be taken” toward the goal of minimizing the influence of money in political elections: (a) Implement “small-dollar citizen-funded elections,” where candidates are required to accept public money for their campaigns in exchange for a promise to limit how much they spend on any election and how much they receive in donations from any one source; (b) “Combat voter suppression” efforts like the enactment of Voter ID laws, which DS falsely characterizes as efforts to “disenfranchise … people of color and the poor”; (c) “Empower citizens with universal suffrage,” meaning that all adult U.S. residents should be eligible to vote in political elections, without any citizenship or voter-registration requirements; and (d) “Introduce a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United,” a landmark 2010 Supreme Court decision that had struck down the McCain-Feigold Act’s restrictions on what corporations could spend to support or oppose political candidates during the weeks immediately preceding primaries and general elections.

    In its effort to gain support for the aforementioned agenda items, DS vowed to “call on every member of Congress and candidate for office in America” to join its “citizen equality champions” in taking an “Equal Voice for All” pledge that “commits them to fight for pro-democracy reform.” This pledge read as follows: “I pledge to fight to ensure that our government is free from the corrupting influence of big money in politics and solely dependent upon the people as equal citizens, by supporting pro-democracy reforms including voting rights protections, anti-corruption measures, citizen-funded elections, and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.”

  28. Filippo Grandi, UN Refugee Chief, Calls Canada A Model For The World

    OTTAWA — The head of the United Nation’s refugee agency says he’d like to see Canada’s private sponsorship program exported around the world. Filippo Grandi says while it is important for governments to show leadership by resettlement programs, having private citizens also engaged encourages a feeling of solidarity for the world’s most vulnerable. Canada is one of only a handful of states that currently run such programs and private groups have sponsored more than 9,000 Syrians in recent months. Grandi says Canada as a whole has been a leader in global Syrian resettlement and that’s why he chose to visit here this week. He says he’d like the Canadian government to help other countries roll out programs like the one the Liberals put in place to resettle 25,000 Syrians in a matter of three months. Grandi says he hopes to see Canada make a further commitment to Syrians at a pledging conference in Geneva later this month.

    The Canadian Press


    Canada is leading the way’ UN applauds country’s Syrian refugees private sponsorship

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi spoke Monday during a visit to Ottawa, acknowledging the work that Canada is doing to lead the way on private sponsorship of refugees, and the efforts the county is taking to teach other nations to do the same.

  29. 13 Iranians in Saudi jails on terror charges (saudigazette, Mar 21, 2016)

    ” Thirteen Iranians are under detention on charges of terrorism in the Kingdom, according to security sources.

    The sources said nine Iranians were arrested during the past 10 days from a number of locations across the Kingdom. They were part of two groups: The first one consisting of seven suspected terrorists and the second comprised two.

    The sources said the Iranians did not resist the arrest nor did they make any attempt to escape.

    Four Iranians were already in prisons facing similar charges. One of them was caught with the cell of 32 spies for Iran between March and May, 2013. In addition to him, the cell included an Afghan national and 30 Saudis.
    The cell members are being tried before a criminal court in Riyadh which reconvened on Sunday after a three-day recess.

    The court recessed its first session on Feb. 23 after giving each of the defendants a paper containing the charges against him.

    The judge in the case asked them to prepare their replies to the second round of the sessions.

    He also asked them to assign lawyers or ask the court to do this for them.
    According to court sources, the attorney general asked for capital punishment for 25 of them. They were accused of high treason, liaising with Iranian intelligence elements, meeting with some of them in Iran and Lebanon, meeting with Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and passing over to Iran classified military and civil data about the Kingdom.

    The spies were also accused of maintaining contacts with a number of Iranian officials and diplomats at the embassy in Riyadh, the consulate in Jeddah and the Iranian mission to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    The court sources revealed that a Saudi defendant is a nuclear physicist, another an owner of a local Haj company, a third a soldier at the Haj military forces, the fourth an educationist with long years of experience while others are bankers, government officials and businessmen.”

  30. Set of 38 Islamic books in 3 languages launched (saudigazette, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Renowned scholar of hadith (sayings of the Prophet — peace be upon him) and King Faisal Award laureate Dr. Mohammad Mustafa Azmi launched a set of 38 books in three different languages here at the weekend.

    The books in English, Hindi and Urdu are written by Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi.

    Following are the books in English: Quran & Hadith — Main Sources of Islamic Ideology; Diverse Aspects of Seerat-un-Nabi; Come to Prayer, Come to Success; Ramadan — A Gift from the Creator; Guidance Regarding Zakat & Sadaqaat; A Concise Haj Guide, Haj &Umrah Guide, How to perform Umrah?; Family Affairs in the Light of Quran & Hadith; Rights of People & their Dealings; Important Persons & Places in History; An Anthology of Reformative Essays, Knowledge and Remembrance; Following (Taqleed) the four Imams & Status of Imam Abu Hanifah; Journey to Madinah & Visiting the Masjid of the Prophet and His Holy Grave.

    Delivering his valedictory speech on the occasion, Dr. Azmi said: “Anti-Islamic elements across the globe have united in their bid to eliminate Islam and Muslims. Even some governments are spending profoundly on organizations working to criticize the Qur’an and hadith and hence create doubt among the followers of Islam. In such a scenario, Muslims need to put aside their ideological differences and stand together in face of these challenges.”

    Talking about madrases, he said: “Curriculum in Islamic seminaries require immense changes so that the products of these seminaries would be aware of the conspiracies hatched by the Western Orientalists against Islam”.

    Dr. Azmi is an alumni of Darul Uloom Deoband. He also studied in Cairo’s Al Azhar University in 1955 and obtained his doctorate from Cambridge University in 1966. He is the first person to computerize hadith and has many books to his credit which are taught as part of curriculum in several universities.

    Dr. Nadeem Tarin, an educationist from India, appreciated the efforts of Dr. Najeeb Qasmi. He said he had been observing consistent achievements of the author in serving Islam and Muslims for two and three years hoping that this activeness would continue to grow in future. He appealed to the audience to provide every possible support in the noble cause rendered by Dr. Qasmi.

    Adnan Mahmoud Usmani, currently a researcher in College of Medicine, King Saud University and editor of all the English books of Dr. Qasmi, said: “Different languages were used for preaching Islam since early period, but now the need for interpretation of Islam in English language has grown more than ever”.

    Illustrating the features of the two applications “Deen-e-Islam & Hajj-e-Mabroor”, Dr. Qasmi said the two apps are available at Play Store and App Store, and can be searched by typing Najeeb Qasmi or Deen-e-Islam or Hajj-e-Mabroor. The Apps have been created in light sizes, which can be installed within two minutes. Once the app “Hajj-e-Mabroor” is installed on the mobile, pilgrims will no longer need to carry books as the app consists of ample information to guide them. Many authentic scholars of India and Pakistan have reviewed the contents and appealed to the Muslims to make maximum of these apps.”

  31. Hamburg left rejects call for German flags outside schools (thelocal, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Conservatives in Hamburg met with ridicule on Monday after they proposed ordering all public schools to raise German and European flags.

    “Visibly installing German and European flags can offer an important and positive contribution to considering and identifying with the values of the Constitution and the European Community,” Christian Democratic Union (CDU) school policy spokeswoman Karin Prien told the Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday.

    In the proposal tabled before the Hamburg city parliament, the CDU argues that the “symbolic act” of hanging the two flags at schools would bring up questions and lead to discussion about German values and democracy.

    Flags should be accompanied with an “explanatory poster” that explains their symbolism, the proposal adds.

    Other countries marked by high levels of immigration – such as the USA – have successfully used flags and national anthems to create “additional emotional identification” with the nation, it continues, which could help “fend off threats to our open society.”

    The CDU’s is a controversial proposition in a society which still has a complicated relationship with its flag.

    While most Germans are comfortable displaying the black, red and gold on special occasions like football matches, it’s rarely used in a political context unless protocol demands it.

    For many, pride in the national colours comes uncomfortably close to nationalism – something almost all Germans shrink away from – although the black, red and gold was not the flag of Germany in either World War in the 20th Century.

    At celebrations of her 60th birthday Chancellor Angela Merkel typified this mindset when she refused to wave a German flag which an aide passed to her.

    That’s also why many viewers were uncomfortable when Alternative for Germany (AfD) spokesman Björn Höcke hung a miniature flag from his armchair during a talk show appearance in October 2015.

    Left dismisses the plan

    As the CDU are in opposition in Hamburg, currently governed by Social Democratic Party (SPD) mayor Olaf Scholz in coalition with the Green Party, the flag plan has no chance of becoming reality without agreement from left-wingers.

    And that looked like a remote possibility on Monday afternoon.

    “Schools mostly have flagpoles and the corresponding flags. They are used for certain national or school occasions,” Hamburg SPD representative Gerhard Lein told The Local via email.

    Ordering or pressuring schools to fly flags daily would be “wrong and populist,” he went on.

    CDU politicians ought to be pushing for a law governing immigration and integration at the federal level, Lein said.

    “The idea of making a successful contribution to integration with flags outside Hamburg schools is simply absurd,” Hamburg Green Party interior policy spokeswoman Antje Möller told The Local in an emailed statement.

    “What the children and young people learn in school about living well together in our society is much more decisive than a black, red and gold flag.”

    Möller added that when it came to integrating refugees in German society, the city government had set up “orientation units” in accommodation centres and organized conversations with judges, the police, trades unions and others for the newcomers.”

  32. Berlin’s busiest square is hunting ground for criminals (thelocal, Mar 21, 2016)

    “For years, crooks and criminals have tormented tourists and travellers at Berlin Alexanderplatz. Police efforts to fight the scourge have so far failed.

    Crime has been rife for years at Alexanderplatz, Berlin’s busiest public space and home to the German capital’s world-famous TV tower. And despite increased police presence, officers have been unable to get a grip on the situation.

    Figures released to Berlin city representative Tom Schreiber of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) show that the number of violent offences at Alex – as it’s fondly known to Berliners – remained stuck at around 600 per year between 2011 and 2015.

    “Although there are more officers and they are probably working overtime, I think the staff are overwhelmed with the situation,” Schreiber told The Local.

    Ever since 20-year-old Johnny K. was beaten to death by 6 men in October 2012, an extra police team has been in place to watch over the tourist, shopping and travel nexus in the former East of the city.

    But the report from the city government’s Interior department shows that while crime was relatively low in early 2015, there were a total of 597 acts of violence by the end of the year.

    The offences include criminal assault, armed robbery, threats and unlawful detention.

    The department registered 481 cases of assault, 62 instances of coercion and threats, 51 cases of robbery and three counts of the most serious crimes: rape, murder and homicide, some of them attempted.

    Cases of pick-pocketing also increased by 54% between 2014 and 2015.

    “We need combined supervision at Alexanderplatz; a joint effort of the public order office [Ordnungsamt], federal police [responsible for policing transport infrastructure], and city police,” city representative Schreiber said.

    “We don’t want tourists to arrive in this city and then be welcomed by crime.””

  33. Death threats levelled at AfD ‘traitors’ (thelocal, Mar 21, 2016)

    “MEPs who quit the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party after its right-wing populist turn in 2015 have received threatening letters from an anonymous group demanding they stand down.

    “We will avenge ourselves for every vote you cost the AfD! Bloodily!!!” the group calling itself the “AfD Army Faction” wrote to Hans-Olaf Henkel, a former head of the Federation of Germany Industry (BDI) elected to the Brussels parliament in 2014.

    The name recalls the Red Army Faction far-left terrorist group active in the 1970s and 1980s, which carried out assassinations, kidnappings and bombings.

    “Death to you and your Alfa cowards!” the typewritten letter seen by newspaper Welt am Sonntag continued. “Watch out for your family, we’ll get them. The armed struggle has begun!”

    A second letter went to Henkel’s fellow MEP Bernd Kölmel, warning him to “piss off with your arsehole party or we’ll clean up beginning with your kids”, while four more letters went to other former AfD leaders.

    Henkel and Kölmel left AfD in July 2015 after the party was taken over from within by a right-wing populist wing led by figures such as Frauke Petry, now one of the party’s most prominent figureheads.

    Party founder Bernd Lucke, an economist who started the movement to fight German membership of the Euro single currency, left and founded a new party named Alfa, followed by Henkel and a number of other elected officials.

    “Petry will be Chancellor of a new Germany and there will no longer be a place for you there. Watch out for your family, we’ll get them,” the letter sent to Henkel concluded.

    Henkel told Welt am Sonntag that he was used to criticism from party colleagues after his decades in politics.

    “But what I have experienced in internal criticism, insults and threats from the far-right of the AfD has topped everything else,” he said.

    Police told Welt am Sonntag that all six letters were processed at the mail center in Waiblingen, near Stuttgart, and that the area is now the focus of their investigation.”

  34. Drop in state funds puts Austrian refugee NGOs at risk (thelocal, Mar 21, 2016)

    “The Austrian government has come under fire for apparently reducing the amount of funding available for charities working with refugees.

    Twelve NGOs received a letter from the Interior Ministry in February asking them to declare donations made to their refugee work so the equivalent figure can be deducted from federal funding given to the charities.

    In the letter, the Ministry asked: “What level of donations have been made to support refugee work since September 4th 2015 and how much has already been used for this purpose so far.”

    They went on to explain that this information would be used to calculate how much will be deducted from the state funding.

    A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told Der Standard newspaper that they are following an objection made by the Finance Ministry about how they were following the guidelines for granting money to NGOs.

    According to the head of the Austrian Red Cross Gerry Foitik however, the move will bring some organisations “to the brink of insolvency”….”

  35. Two million: Germany records largest influx of immigrants in 2015 (DW, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Germany’s statistics office has recorded the highest number of immigrants in post war history. Net immigration increased by 49 percent in 2015 and for the first time most of the arrivals were not from Europe.

    The Federal Statistics Office on Monday announced that it recorded the country’s highest net immigration of foreign nationals to Germany in 2015, totaling over 1.1 million for the year.

    “Net migration of foreign people amounted to 1.14 million. This is the highest net immigration of foreigners ever recorded in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany,” said a statement from the statistics office.

    The figure marks a 49-percent increase compared to 2014, which witnessed a net migration of 577,000 people.

    The office registered in 2015 under two million immigrants arriving in Germany, while 860,000 departed again.

    The figures are based on the numbers from January to August 2015 and estimates for the four remaining months of the year.

    For the first time immigrants from non-European countries outnumbered those from Europe.

    The announcement comes as Germany and other European countries struggle to cope with an influx of irregular migrants and refugees, many fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa….”

  36. Greece Sets up Detention Camps as Refugee Deal Hits Delays (abcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Greece detained hundreds of refugees and migrants on its islands Monday, as officials in Athens and the European Union conceded a much-heralded agreement to send thousands of asylum-seekers back to Turkey is facing delays.

    Migrants who arrived after the deal took effect Sunday were being led to previously open refugee camps on the islands of Lesbos and Chios and held in detention, authorities on the islands said.

    EU countries are trying to avoid a repeat of the mass migration in 2015, when more than a million people entered the bloc. Most were fleeing civil war in Syria and other conflicts, traveling first to Turkey and then to the nearby Greek islands in dinghies and small boats. Efforts to limit migration have run into multiple legal and practical obstacles.

    Under the deal, Greek authorities will detain and return newly arrived refugees to Turkey. The EU will settle more refugees directly from Turkey and speed up financial aid to Ankara. The two sides, however, are still working out how migrants will be sent back.

    “We are conscious of the difficulties,” EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said in Brussels.

    “And we are working 24-7 to make sure that everything that needs to be in place for this agreement to be implemented soon is happening.”

    Commission officials said support staff needed to implement the deal — including hundreds of translators and migration officers — would not start arriving until next week. Returns, they said, cannot start until Greece changes its law to recognize Turkey as a “safe country” for asylum applications.

    The human rights group Amnesty International sharply criticized the plan…”

  37. Russia Says Might Use Force on Cease-Fire Violators in Syria (abcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Russia on Monday warned the United States that it will start responding unilaterally to cease-fire violations in Syria if the U.S. refuses to coordinate rules of engagement against violators. The U.S. State Department insisted that Moscow and Washington were working constructively to monitor the truce and warned Russia against taking unilateral action.

    The Russian military has accused the U.S. of dragging its feet on responding to Moscow’s proposals on rules for joint monitoring of the Syria cease-fire and response to violations. It said that further delays are leading to civilian casualties.

    Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian General Staff said in a statement on Monday that if the U.S. fails to respond to its proposals on a joint response, the Russian military will have to start unilaterally using force against those who break the cease-fire, starting Tuesday.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a separate but similar statement…”

  38. Police: Extremists Attack EU Mission in Mali’s Capital (abcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “Extremists launched an attack Monday evening on the European Union military mission’s headquarters in the Malian capital, underscoring their determination to continue striking against Western interests in the region.

    Sgt. Baba Dembele from the anti-terrorism unit in Bamako told an Associated Press reporter at the scene that it was believed some attackers had entered the luxury hotel where the mission is headquartered.

    The EU mission later released a statement on Twitter saying no personnel had been wounded during the violence, and that forces are securing the area…”

  39. Terrified Migrants Toil on Land Taken From the Mafia in Corleone, Sicily (nbcnews, Mar 21, 2016)

    “CORLEONE, Italy — In the dark heart of Sicily near the town that for decades was the Mafia’s capital and killing ground, a dozen strangers cultivate a vineyard.

    They are the new muscle on land that was taken from Corleone’s most feared Mafia bosses, who were jailed for dozens of murders stretching back decades. The migrants, who are among some 400,000 to have washed up on Sicily’s shores over the past two years, were hired from refugee camps after enduring long and dangerous journeys.

    The men, in their 20s and 30s, may have fled violence and poverty, but are now working on an island that has plenty of both.

    “Sometimes I feel afraid,” said a man from Gambia. “I’m looking over my shoulder.”

    A fellow migrant from Pakistan agrees….”

  40. DAILY MAIL – UK – Illegal immigrant who murdered his wife by pouring white spirit over her and setting her on FIRE while they were decorating their bathroom has been jailed for life

    Muhammed Hammad carried out brutal killing of Nazia Akhtar at their flat
    Ms Akhtar claimed Hammad was controlling and only with her to get a visa
    When she told him to leave their home he attacked her with the white spirit
    He set himself alight to cover his tracks but was found guilty of her murder

    An illegal immigrant who murdered his wife by dousing her with white spirit and setting her on fire has been jailed for life.

    Muhammed Hammad, 30, carried out the brutal killing of Nazia Akhtar, 31, following an argument at their home in Birmingham on April 25 last year.

    Hammad was sentenced to life in prison, and will serve a minimum of 25 years, after being found guilty of her murder at Birmingham Crown Court.

    The court heard how the attack took place after Ms Akhtar threatened to leave her husband because his ‘controlling’ ways had become too much to bear.

    The couple met in 2013 and married the year after, but Ms Akhtar had soon threatened to divorce.

    She claimed Pakistani-born Hammad, who was in the country illegally, had only married her to get a British visa.

    On the day of the attack, Ms Akhtar said she had asked her husband to leave their flat, which resulted in him furiously throwing the white spirit and calling her a ‘fat ugly cow.’

    In order to cover his tracks and make it look like an accident, Muhammad then poured the flammable liquid over himself and set himself on fire.

    Both were taken to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and placed into induced comas but sadly Ms Akhtar died of her injuries on June 12.[…]

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