Reader’s links for May 9 – 2016

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

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

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

54 Replies to “Reader’s links for May 9 – 2016”

  1. This seems to be an important story:

    So I get not everyone reads Norwegian but this is an important story. Sweden now has no go zones where police, ambulances, and fire trucks have rocks, Molotov cocktails, and in one case a granade thrown at them. It’s spiralling out of control and official Norwegian media is willing to say integration has failed and the people are suffering because of it.

    Site offers to autotranslate…

  2. Sadly, I am not sure if this is a new one or not:

    Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)Khurram Zaki spent years denouncing Islamic extremists in his homeland. He apparently paid for it with his life.

    The Pakistani human rights activist was gunned down at a restaurant in Karachi on Saturday night, fellow activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said.
    The Hakimullah faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Zaki’s death.
    “Our four friends in Karachi riding on two motorcycles targeted Khurram Zaki successfully,” faction spokesman Qari Saifullah said.

  3. European Parliament Orders MEP To Take Down A Video About His Attempt To Visit The ‘Reading Room’ For Trade Documents
    from the really-now? dept
    We’ve written many times about the insane levels of secrecy around various trade agreements, including the TTIP agreement that is being worked on between the EU and the US. Basically, everything gets negotiated behind closed doors — though certain lobbyists get full access — and then it will be presented as a final document when it’s too late for the public to actually weigh in. It’s the ultimate in corrupt processes. In the past the USTR has admitted that it demands such secrecy because if it had to reveal its positions publicly, the public wouldn’t support the agreement. In the US this has led to ridiculous situations like such as when Senator Ron Wyden, who at the time was the chair of the Senate’s subcommittee on international trade, was not allowed to bring a staffer of his, who is an expert in international trade, with him to read the latest text of a trade negotiation. Because that went against the rules.

  4. AMMAN, Jordan — Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged rival jihadist fighters in Syria to unite or risk death but again decried fellow Sunni Muslim group ISIS as “extremists” in an audio recording posted online on Sunday.

    Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in 2014. SITE via Reuters TV
    As successor to Osama bin Laden, Zawahiri has the allegiance of al Qaeda branches in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. But the group’s dominance is being challenged by ISIS, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq.

  5. I guess the rapefugees are not coming to the US fast enough for Obama:

    Hillary’s rumored running mate, Housing Secretary Julian Castro, is cooking up a scheme to reallocate funding for Section 8 housing to punish suburbs for being too white and too wealthy.

    The scheme involves super-sizing vouchers to help urban poor afford higher rents in pricey areas, such as Westchester County, while assigning them government real-estate agents called “mobility counselors” to secure housing in the exurbs.

    Castro plans to launch the Section 8 reboot this fall, even though a similar program tested a few years ago in Dallas has been blamed for shifting violent crime to affluent neighborhoods.

    This seems to be designed to put the kind of pressure on US citizens that the migrants have put on the Europeans…

  6. Brexit’ could trigger World War Three, warns David Cameron

    Hillsborough Inquests
    Andy Burnham
    Royal Family
    Prince dead
    May Day


    UK News
    EU Referendum

    ‘Brexit’ could trigger World War Three, warns David Cameron

    09:31, 9 May 2016
    Updated 11:54, 9 May 2016
    By Ben Glaze , Dan Bloom

    Mr Cameron told pro-EU campaigners: “Can we be so sure peace and stability on our continent are assured?”

    1711 shares 288 comments

    Click to play

    David Cameron has pleaded for Britain to stay in the EU to help prevent the Continent being ripped apart by another conflict.

    Mr Cameron today highlighted the UK’s role in bringing peace to Europe as he hit the referendum campaign trail – just hours before a rival speech by Boris Johnson.

    In a key speech at the British Museum in London, the PM told pro-EU campaigners: “Can we be so sure peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking?

    “I would never be so rash to make that assumption.”

    And he said: “What happens in our neighbourhood matters to Britain. That was true in 1914, 1940, 1989…. and it is true in 2016.”

    Both the Prime Minister and his Brexit-backing Tory rival were making speeches this morning in the countdown to the June 23 vote.

  7. Nearly half of voters in EU countries say they want a referendum on whether to remain in the bloc

    Nearly half of voters in some of the European Union’s main member states want to have their own In/Out referendum just like Britain, a poll reveals.

    Forty-five per cent of voters in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden said they want to be able to vote on whether or not to remain in the EU.

    A third of the 6,000 people polled across the continent said they would opt toleave the European Union if given the chance.

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

  8. Iran claims to successfully test missile that can reach Israel
    Highly accurate ballistic missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers, was launched two weeks ago, Tehran general says

    Tamar Pileggi
    Tamar Pileggi Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

    A senior Iranian general on Monday announced that the country’s armed forces successfully tested a precision-guided, medium-range ballistic missile two weeks ago, the state-run Tasnim agency reported.

    “We test-fired a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a margin of error of eight meters,” Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi was quoted as saying at a Tehran science conference.

    The eight-meter margin means the “missile enjoys zero error,” he told conference participants.

    The general went on to say that 10 percent of Iran’s defense budget has been allocated to “research.

  9. Pentagon report reveals confusion among U.S. troops over Afghan mission

    KABUL (Reuters) – Amid fierce fighting after the Taliban captured the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last year, U.S. special forces advisers repeatedly asked their commanders how far they were allowed to go to help local troops retake the city.

    They got no answer, according to witnesses interviewed in a recently declassified, heavily redacted Pentagon report that lays bare the confusion over rules of engagement governing the mission in Afghanistan.

    As the Taliban insurgency gathers strength, avoiding enemy fire has become increasingly difficult for advisers, who have been acting as consultants rather than combatants since NATO forces formally ceased fighting at the end of 2014.

    In the heat of the battle, lines can be blurred, and the problem is not exclusive to Afghanistan: questions have arisen over the role of U.S. troops in Iraq after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed by Islamic State this month.

    “‘How far do you want to go?’ is not a proper response to ‘How far do you want us to go?’” one special forces member told investigators in a report into the U.S. air strikes on a hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 medical staff, patients and caretakers.

    That incident was the biggest single tragedy of the brief capitulation of Kunduz to Taliban militants, and there is no suggestion that the mistake was the result of a lack of clarity over the rules of engagement.

  10. Panama Papers report alleges NZ prime place for rich to hide money

    WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Wealthy Latin Americans are using secretive, tax-free New Zealand shelf companies and trusts to help channel funds around the world, according to a report on Monday based on leaks of the so-called Panama Papers.

    Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister John Key to take action after local media analyzed more than 61,000 documents relating to New Zealand that are part of the massive leak of data from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm. The papers have shone spotlight on how the world’s rich take advantage of offshore tax regimes.

    Mossack Fonseca actively promoted New Zealand as a good place to do business due to its tax-free status, high levels of confidentiality and legal security, according to a joint report by Radio New Zealand, TVNZ and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

    Key said it was “utterly incorrect” that New Zealand was a tax haven, adding he was open to changing rules around foreign trusts if advised by a review or the OECD.

    “If there’s any need for change in this area, the government will consider it and if necessary, take action,” Key told reporters.

    The government was asking the Ministry of Justice to move quickly on rules already under consideration to tighten anti-money laundering requirements for lawyers, real estates and accountants, he added.

    Opposition Labour Party Leader Andrew Little said the government must act to “preserve New Zealand’s reputation by shutting down the system that sees our country implicated in a massive global network of tax avoidance.”

  11. Panama Papers law firm apologizes to Chinese bank over leak

    HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – The law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” offshore tax haven controversy has written an apology to a Chinese banking client as it seeks to shore up its Asian business following a massive leak of financial data last month, according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.

    The letter was written by Mossack Fonseca in response to queries from the Chinese bank about compliance with global financial standards. It is not known whether there were similar communications with other financial institutions, but the letter shows at least one bank client in the firm’s biggest market was concerned by issues raised in the publicity surrounding the leak.

    In the undated letter to the mid-tier Shanghai-based lender, signed by Mossack Fonseca’s regional general manager, the shell company specialist said it “deeply regrets” any misuse of its services or the companies it set up.

    “If the unauthorized illegal leaks from Mossack Fonseca company servers have created any inconvenience for (the bank) and your clients, we wish to once again apologize,” it added.

    A Mossack Fonseca spokesperson said reporting of the leak had “deepened confusion” about the nature of its business.

    “As such, we are routinely speaking to our clients and other related parties that have questions to explain that … nothing in the illegally obtained cache of documents suggests we have done anything wrong or illegal,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

  12. Extraordinary incident: Jewish passengers removed en masse from EasyJet flight in Europe
    By J.E. Dyer May 9, 2016

    At this point, it is difficult to know what to make of this astounding and troubling incident. I won’t try to frame confident conclusions in this post, but I do think it unquestionably bears looking into by at least three national governments: those of Spain, where the incident occurred; the UK, where EasyJet is a registered company; and France, whose citizens were the ones quite remarkably inconvenienced.

    The incident took place on 1 May in Barcelona, and involved a flight from Barcelona to Paris. Most of the passengers were French Jews who had been in Spain for the Passover celebration, and were headed home. I won’t rehash the entire drama, because what I am presenting at the end of this post is the account of a Jewish man on the flight, a Mr. Alain Sayada. His post is in French, but I’ve prepared a rough translation and am copying it below. You can read it to get the full story.

    Several English-language media outlets have picked up on this report, including Jewish Press. The bottom line appears to be that a situation blew up that probably didn’t have to, in part due to a language barrier. (The flight crew had no one in it who spoke French. Mr. Sayada was able to communicate in English with the captain, but the Spanish cabin attendants’ English was very poor.)

  13. Swedes confused, upset when migrant assaults daughter in home he was taken into

    A Swedish mother decided it would be a good idea to open up her home to a male refugee from Eritrea, and so she kicked her daughter out of her room to make space. That refugee then decided to sexually assault her 10-year-old daughter.

    In the summer of 2015, a mother of three children in Sweden brought two third world asylum seekers into her home. To make space, she decided to move her daughter Emma into her own room.

    On the eve of Aug. 18, 2015, Emma awoke to find Isaac squeezing her chest. She suffered breast pain after the incident and didn’t want to tell anyone, as she was afraid her mother would get in trouble. Emma couldn’t even look at Isaac because “he looked scary to her.”

    The story came out after Emma finally told a friend of hers, and eventually after several people became aware of the situation, Isaac was confronted.

    He protested he would never sexually assault Emma, since he has a girlfriend back in Eritrea. But after further questioning, he finally admitted to groping Emma’s breasts. When the police questioned him, Isaac changed his testimony and denied he had ever touched her.

    • Russia: WW2 victory a ‘stern warning to those who want to test our strength’ – Putin
      Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his gratitude towards the veterans on the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, during a reception in Kremlin’s Georgevskiy Hall, Monday.

      “The defeat of Nazism… is a heritage of all generations – both present and future,” Putin stated, adding that “the victory is our pride and readiness to defend the country’s interests. The victory is a stern warning to those who want to test our strength.”

      SOT, Vladimir Putin, Russian President (Russian): “The defeat of Nazism will never be just a part of the history for us. It is a heritage of all generations – both present and future. The victory includes all its best, worthy and heroic in the character of our people. The victory is our pride and readiness to defend the country’s interests. The victory is a stern warning to those who want to test our strength.”

      SOT, Vladimir Putin, Russian President (Russian): “Our people accomplished an immortal deed while saving our Homeland. We will always remember that it was the Soviet people who crushed Nazism, who won a grandiose and triumphant victory. Dear veterans, you have honourably passed the roads of war, fought bravely on all bridgeheads and heights in the largest battles. Everyone contributed to the victory. Veterans and homefront workers, the elderly and children were soldiers of the Homeland. Everyone suffered severe trials and terrible loss, and everyone acted according to the laws of courage, firmness, friendship and unconditional love for the Homeland.”

      SOT, Vladimir Putin, Russian President (Russian): “Dear veterans, you have carried through your life these high moral qualities and personal responsibility for the country. The war tempered your character and the victory inspired for new achievements. You managed to restore the factories and to strengthen agriculture, to enter the most advanced frontiers in the development of culture, science and technology in the shortest possible time. Your deeds and actions, your ability to appreciate life, cherish friendship and family home will always be an example for us.”

      SOT, Vladimir Putin, Russian President (Russian): “All the greatness of national heroism affected your destiny, you speak about it [national heroism] firm and simple: ‘we knew what we were fighting and giving our lives for. We fought for the Homeland!’ Let me propose a toast: for the heroic generation of winners! For Russia! For the Great Victory.”

      • If the US and Britain hadn’t been fighting in the West the full German strength would have been free to move into Russia, and the US wouldn’t have been giving massive amounts of war materials to Russia.

  14. Belgium prison strike: Army mobilised to help (BBC, May 9, 2016)

    “Belgium is calling up the army to help with staff shortages in prisons affected by a strike for the last two weeks.

    The military are to assist the police and the Red Cross who have been working in jails since the strike began.

    Soldiers have already been deployed to three of the largest prisons affected, Lantin, Saint-Gilles and Forest.

    Prison employees in Brussels and French-speaking Wallonia are on strike over staffing levels….”

  15. Belgium puts Verviers terror cell suspects on trial (BBC, May 9, 2016)

    “Seven people have gone on trial in Belgium, accused of being part of a group linked to Islamist militants who attacked Paris and Brussels.

    Police broke up the cell when they raided a house in Verviers in eastern Belgium in January 2015.

    Although 16 suspects have been charged in connection with the cell, nine of them are on the run.

    Prosecutors believe the group was run by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a ringleader of the 13 November attacks in Paris.

    He was killed in a shootout in Paris days after the gun and bomb attacks in which 130 people were murdered.

    Among those appearing in court on Monday was Marouane El Bali, 26, arrested in the police raid in Verviers on 15 January last year in which two other suspects were killed. Mr El Bali’s lawyer said on Monday his client was innocent and had been “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

    Security check at entrance to tribunal during start of trial of suspected terrorist cell of Verviers, at correctional court in Brussels, 9 May 2016…”

  16. Australia sends back Sri Lankan asylum seekers (BBC, May 9, 2016)

    “Australia’s immigration minister says a group of asylum seekers who reached the country’s Cocos Islands territory last week has been sent back to Sri Lanka.

    The vessel, carrying 12 people, came within 500m of Home Island.

    Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the asylum seekers, all Sri Lankans, were returned on 6 May.

    He also announced that Australia had intercepted three asylum boats so far this year, but did not provide details on the other two boats.

    The Cocos Islands are a remote chain of islands and atolls located between Sri Lanka and the west coast of the Australian mainland.

    The announcement was made on Monday, the first official day of Australia’s federal election campaign…”

  17. Baad in Afghanistan: Virgin ‘Slaves’ Given Away to End Disputes (nbcnews, May 9, 2016)

    “A teacher has received death threats from his own relatives as he battles to stop the ancient tradition of families giving away virgin daughters to settle disputes.

    Khan Wali Adil has been camped out for more than three weeks in front of Afghanistan’s parliamentary compound to protest the practice of “baad.”…”

  18. Immigration swells UK population by size of Newcastle every YEAR, says Boris Johnson (dailymail, May 9, 2016)

    “BORIS Johnson has issued a rallying call for Brexit saying an open door policy on immigration swells the UK population by the size of Newcastle every year.

    The outgoing Mayor of London also said European Union policy stopped the UK from selecting clever students capable of working within the NHS but did nothing to halt those wanting to make use of it….”

  19. Threats over ‘Erdogan burger’ force restaurant to close (thelocal, May 9, 2016)

    “A burger restaurant in Cologne has been forced to close its doors after receiving threats for serving an ‘Erdogan burger’.

    The owners said they had been forced to close the business “until further notice” in a statement on their Facebook page.

    Due to “concrete threats”, they explained that they felt unable to guarantee the safety of the restaurant’s employees – but vowed to continue to “denounce blatant injustices”.

    The burger named after the Turkish leader first appeared on the menu of Urban Burgery at the end of April.

    Erdogan burgers were advertised as “delicious and juicy”, and served “with goat’s cheese – naturally” in reference to a poem by German satirist Jan Böhmermann’s poem which referred to Erdogan as a “goat fucker”….”

  20. SYRIA – In Video: Russia sets up new military base in Palmyra

    Russia has recently turned part of the Syrian desert city of Palmyra into a military base to use as an ‘operation room’ to target terror group in the war-torn country.

    AFP’s Andrey Borodulin released a video showing the recently-established, fully-fenced base where the sophisticated Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft system was deployed.

    Pantsir-S1 is a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system. It represents the latest air defence technology by using phased array radars for both target acquisition and tracking.

    The Russian forces supporting the Syrian President Bashar Assad’ government have been stationing in Hmeymim airbase, to the south of coastal city of Latakia.

    Analysts say the newly-built base deep in the Syrian desert well indicates Russian’s intention to expand its military operation eastward to the ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa and the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.

    Although no Russian fighter jets have been spotted in the city’s military airport so far, it is widely expected that Palmyra skies will be jammed with the roaring SUs and MIs.

    Russian airstrikes considerably helped the Syrian Army liberate Palmyra from ISIS in late March.

  21. Muslim Association Purchase Synagogue, Converts it to Mosque (moroccoworldnews, May 9, 2016)

    “Al Badr Muslim Association has reportedly purchased the premises of the synagogue Or Torah located near the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France.

    Purchased for approximately $400,000, the Muslim Association will reopen the religious site as a mosque this summer, hoping to cater to a growing number of worshipers.

    According to the French daily La Provence, Saint Dominique Street already has one mosque operated by the Al Badr Association. The association has been searching for another place to host the growing number of Muslim worshipers in the neighborhood, who pray on the sidewalk on Fridays.

    Local Jewish leader Zvi Ammar later confirmed the news to Agence France-Presse (AFP), adding that the sale should be viewed “positively.”

    “We all have the same God,” Ammar said. “The main thing is for this to proceed in harmony.”

    Elie Berrebi, Director of Marseille’s Central Jewish Consistoire, a body governing Jewish congregations, said many of the Jewish residents in Marseille are leaving the city, mainly for Israel and the UK, because of rising anti-Semitism in the area….”

  22. EU sends counter-terror agents to migrant hotspots (ansa, May 9, 2016)

    “The European Union has started sending anti-terror agents to migrant ‘hotspots’ in Italy and Greece in order to identify and, if necessary, neutralise, possible jihadist fighters exploiting the influx of refugees to enter Europe.

    The initiative is being coordinated by the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) established by the EU at the start of the year and it is expected to become fully operational after the summer. The announcement comes from ECTC director Colonel Manuel Navarrete in an interview with Spanish daily El Pais.

    The so-called Europol ‘guest officers’ have the task of helping the local authorities to identify possible terrorists hiding among refugees arriving in Europe….”

  23. EU ‘should understand Turkey’s conditions on terrorism’ (hurriyetdailynews, May 9, 2016)

    “… What about European concerns over Turkey’s apparent slide into authoritarian rule. Does granting visa-free travel not mean supporting an anti–democratic government?

    No. Visa-free travel should not be tied to democratic standards. It should not be right to make it conditional on democratic standards. If we want to be constructive, if we want to act as a friend, we need to get closer and put forward constructive criticism. Ever since the 1980s Turkey has been living with terrorism, which has revived recently. That is a major reason why we are facing difficulties in the transition to implementing universal standards, and why we are having setbacks in this transition….”

  24. Taliban commanders among 36 killed in Afghan army led operations, MoD says (khaama, May 9, 2016)

    “At least 36 militants were killed in the latest counter terrorism operations conducted the Afghan National Security Forces, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Monday.

    “In the last 24 hours, as a result of the joint clearance operations of the Afghan security and defense forces aimed to topple down the insurgents and protect the lives and property of people , 36 armed insurgents, including two of their commanders and were killed , tens were wounded,” according to a statement by MoD.

    The statement further added that the operations were conducted in a number of the districts of Nangarhar, Paktia, Maidan Wardak, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Ghazni, Sar-e Pul, Herat, Jowzjan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar and Helmand provinces….”

  25. Infighting among Taliban leaves 18 dead in Helmand province (khaama, May 9, 2016)

    “At least 18 Taliban militants were killed in the latest infighting among the Taliban factions in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, local officials said Monday.

    A local security official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the clashes between the supporters of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor and Mullah Mohammad Rasool broke out in Marjah district on Sunday.

    The official further added that the gun battle still continue between the two sides as nearly 18 militants have lost their lives.

    The clashes reportedly broke out among the Taliban factions after the supporters of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor started fight against the supporters of Mullah Rasool…:”

  26. DAILY MAIL – New footage of Cologne New Year sex attacks shows woman screaming ‘you mustn’t touch me, you mustn’t touch me’ and overwhelmed police struggling to control crowds of migrant men

    New footage of mob sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve
    Shows police struggling to contain the crowds at main train station
    Over 1,100 criminal complaints filed after New Years in Cologne

    • […] The video was released on the same day that NRW interior minister Ralf Jäger faced the inquiry committee in Düsseldorf.

      There he denied accusations that the state government had put pressure on police to remove the word “rape” from the first reports about New Year’s Eve.

      “The accusation of a cover-up is made up out of thin air,” he said. “No-one had any idea of what happened there until January 3rd.”

      Jäger claimed that even the Cologne police did not have a clear picture of the extent of the sexual violence before January 4th.

      “This was a completely new phenomenon that has come to light for the first time ever in Germany,” he went on. “It wasn’t predictable in advance.”

      Jäger is the first politician to take the stand before the committee after long series of police officers and Cologne city officials.

      And he didn’t hesitate to lay the blame for the mistakes on New Year’s Eve at the feet of police.

      Commanders had underestimated the forces needed at the train station and later failed to provide reinforcements, he argued.[…]

  27. Michael Nunez, reporting for Gizmodo:
    Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users. In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing — but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”
    The revelation comes amid a report on the same publication which claimed that a small group of journalists controlled and decided what should trend on Facebook. Also recently, a leaked screenshot revealed Facebook employees asking whether they should do something to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the president.

  28. Airstrikes by Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen Kill 10 (abcnews, May 9, 2016)

    “Security officials and eyewitnesses said Monday that at least 10 Yemeni rebels were killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition.

    They said air raids hit a military camp in Amran province, also wounding more than 15 others. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, while the witnesses did so for fear of their safety….”

  29. Islamic State leader in Iraq’s Anbar killed, Pentagon says (BBC, May 9, 2016)

    “A key leader of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Iraq’s Anbar province has been killed in a coalition air strike, the Pentagon says.

    Abu Waheeb, formerly a member of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a raid on Friday, according to the Pentagon.

    “It is dangerous to be an Isil leader in Iraq and Syria nowadays,” spokesman Peter Cook said, using an alternative name for the group.

    Waheeb has falsely been declared dead on several previous occasions…”

  30. Putin’s Palmyra concert shows he is winning the propaganda war

    The city of Palmyra, recently liberated from Isis, has seen a return to civilisation and culture with a performance by a Russian orchestra. The concert, conducted by a ‘close associate’ of Vladimir Putin, was of course a propaganda exercise – but what a propaganda exercise!

    It fills me with genuine sadness that no western power would ever think to pull such a stunt, and this reflects a deeper problem with our foreign policy; that is, what are we promoting?

    Western policy in the region since the start of the Arab spring has been crippled by an absence of clear, set goals, and a lack of confidence in our own ideals; in Syria we flirted with removing President Assad, despite having no idea what would follow, and a suspicion that the strongest opposition were Islamists – this policy having worked so well in Iraq.

    Worst of all, though, western foreign policy is hampered by an ability to impose our values on the wider Middle East, because we don’t know what they are. This is why the west doesn’t understand symbolism in foreign policy – and when it does it’s only aimed at a very particular set of very novel western values.

    As someone pointed out on Twitter, the only symbolism western leaders would associate with our foreign policy is a girl in a hijab going to school. Western foreign policy = gender equality.

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