Reader’s links for February 18 – 2017

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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

95 Replies to “Reader’s links for February 18 – 2017”

  1. Women refugees ‘GANG RAPED and suffer MISCARRIAGES’ in Somalian region due to DROUGHT (express, Feb 18, 2017)

    “WOMEN refugees are being raped by gangs of men as a result of an extreme drought in a region of the Islamic nation of Somalia, according to reports.

    Tens of thousands of Somali rural pastoralist communities in Somaliland have been displaced thanks to an unprecedented drought, worsened by one of the strongest El Niño events on record.

    But of those taking shelter in a makeshift camp in the state’s capital, Hargeisa, the women are believed to be forced to bear the brunt of the suffering.

    A lack of police presence, an increase in female-only households as well as grossly inadequate sanitary facilities and lighting have reportedly led to rife sexual and gender-based violence among the camps.

    Hodan Ahmedan, 23, who has lived in the camp for the internally displaced since leaving eastern Somaliland, told the Independent the dire conditions have created a dangerous environment for women.

    She said: “Two days ago four men came, grabbed me and started raping me. Most women and girls in the camp have been assaulted or raped by gangs…”

    • Most women and girls in the camp have been assaulted or raped by gangs…

      Would anyone care to speculate on the downstream consequences of living in a society where so many women have been sexually traumatized? I would predict reduced birth rates due to lessened sexual interest. Increased avoidable fatalities from reproductive tract diseases because of an unwillingness to report them (either out of shame or reluctance to undergo gynecological examination). All of which might drive rape statistics even higher due to sexual frustration in men who have no respect for women or compunction about indulging ing criminal behavior.

      This misogynistic cycle of abuse is a direct result of empowering Muslims. Something that Europe is insisting upon learning the hard way.

  2. Algeria kills 14 in crackdown on suspected militants (alaraby, Feb 18, 2017)

    “Algeria said Friday that its security forces have killed 14 suspected militants in an ongoing operation in one of the country’s last strongholds of militant Islamists.

    According to a defence ministry statement, nine were killed on Friday and five others on Wednesday around Bouira, 100km east of the capital, Algiers.

    Accompanying raids seized three semi-automatic rifles, five pistols and munitions from the fighters.

    The ministry described this week’s operations as part of an effort to “bring to an end these criminal groups and the plague of terrorism in our country”.

    Algeria is currently cracking down on extremist militants that are believed to be associated wiht the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda’s North African branch.

    Similar raids were carried out by Tunisia on Friday near its border with Algeria, where Islamist militants have established bases in the mountanous Sammama mountain region.”

  3. Malaysia: Hundreds of thousands expected to join mass rally calling for greater Syariah laws (asiancorrespondent, Feb 18, 2017)

    “HUNDREDS of thousands of protesters are expected to throng the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this afternoon in what could be the country’s largest call to strengthen the Syariah justice system, as the Muslim-majority nation reaches a major cross roads over its secular laws.

    Amid a backdrop of rising Islamic sentiments and fractured race-relations, the country’s pious northeastern state of Kelantan is closer to realising its decades-long pursuit of enforcing strict Islamic Syariah laws for criminal offences, threatening to worsen religious ties in a polarized multiracial nation.

    Next month, lawmakers will debate a controversial bill, known as “Hadi’s Bill”, to amend Act 355 of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, proposing harsher punishments to replace current sentences that have long been implemented under the civil system.

    Traditionally, Malaysia’s Syariah courts focused on family and marital affairs, and handed out minor fines amounting to several thousands of ringgit and relatively light prison sentences for moral offences, which are hardly enforced.

    The religious courts are restricted to imposing punishments of up to three years’ jail; RM5,000 fine or whipping of no more than six strokes — also referred to in the country as the “3-5-6” penalties — for offences against Islam.

    However, if passed, the bill is tipped to grant punitive powers to the Syariah courts and allow its judges to impose up to a hundred lashes, hundred thousand ringgit fines (US$21,000) and 30-year jail sentences on Muslims convicted of the same moral offences and other victimless crimes. Save for the death penalty, the amendments will be enshrined under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

    Among others, examples of punishable crimes under the proposed amendments include pre-marital sex, alcohol consumption, failure to attend Friday prayers or fast during Ramadhan. If implemented, the new laws threatened to throw modern Malaysia back into a medieval plot-setting where punishments were carried out in public, in full view of an onlooking crowd, similar to what is done in the self-autonomous region of Aceh, Indonesia.

    Spearheading the Islamic law reforms is the hard-line Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and its president Abdul Hadi Awang, an influential Islamist political movement headed by ulamas and religious clerics that fell out with the country’s opposition bloc over the disputed “Hudud” aspect of Islamic jurisprudence, which lies at the core of the issue.

    The United Malays National Organisation or Umno, the ruling party led by Prime Minister Najib Razak who is faced with a massive corruption scandal and declining favour among voters, is seen to be banking in on the reforms.

    In its bid to shore up political support, Umno, which has ruled the country for more than half a century via the rural Malay voter bank, has shown keenness in backing the demands of the hardline Islamists as Najib mulls calling for snap polls as early as the second half of the year…”

  4. Woman accused of kidnapping over shame to Muslims
    Aaron Martinez , El Paso Times Published 3:35 p.m. MT Feb. 17, 2017 | Updated 10 hours ago

    A woman was arrested after she was accused of kidnapping a woman because her “lifestyle brought shame to the Muslim community and she should return to Libya,” according to court documents.

    Normal Juarez Taha, who is described as a “Mexican-Muslim” in court documents, was arrested at about 9:25 p.m. Tuesday by 12 FBI El Paso Division agents without incident at her home in the 200 block of Thunderbird Drive in West El Paso. She is accused of kidnapping the woman, referred to only as AFA in court documents, from the woman’s home earlier in the week.

    Taha, 35, is facing one count of kidnapping, which holds a maximum sentence of life in prison. She made her initial appearance in federal court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel A. Torres.

    No bond was granted for Taha at the hearing due to a government motion claiming that bond should be denied because Taha has “strong ties to Mexico” and “presents a high risk of fleeing to avoid prosecution on this charge.”

  5. China to suspend all imports of coal from North Korea

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea starting Feb. 19, the country’s commerce ministry said in a notice posted on its website on Saturday, as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the country.

    The Ministry of Commerce said in a short statement that the ban would be effective until Dec. 31.

    The ministry did not say why all shipments would be suspended, but South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported last week that a shipment of North Korean coal worth around $1 million was rejected at Wenzhou port on China’s eastern coast.

    The rejection came a day after Pyongyang’s test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile, its first direct challenge to the international community since U.S. President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20.

    China announced in April last year that it would ban North Korean coal imports in order to comply with sanctions imposed by the United Nations and aimed at starving the country of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

    But it made exceptions for deliveries intended for “the people’s wellbeing” and not connected to the nuclear or missile programs.

    Despite the restrictions, North Korea remained China’s fourth biggest supplier of coal last year, with non-lignite imports reaching 22.48 million tonnes, up 14.5 percent compared to 2015.

  6. The Obama-Bezos-CIA-WaPo link coincidentally lurking behind those intel community leaks
    By J.E. Dyer February 18, 2017

    It would be easy to think the Washington Post just has the right combination of generic traits, and that’s why they’ve been the ones pumping out all the (laughable) themage from anonymous intelligence officials about Mike Flynn, phone calls, Russia, Trump, investigations, suspicion, chaos, fear, loathing, and yada yada yada.

    Traits like reporter relationships with intelligence community personalities, right? You could buy that. Everyone’s there in the D.C. area, sitting on the same lunch stools. Running on the same tree-lined paths. Doing all that thriller-movie stuff on the leafy banks of the Potomac.

    Of course, the other news organizations all have D.C. bureaus too. They know people.

    But, hey, it’s the Washington Post. Woodward and Bernstein. Ben Bradlee. Katharine Graham. So, OK, that was more than 40 years ago. And if you paid attention during the Obama years, it seemed like the New York Times and NBC Universal’s properties were getting an awful lot of the leaked “scoop,” maybe even at the expense of WaPo.

    But you could still kind of buy that it’s coincidental factors making WaPo the path of least journalistic resistance, for the torrent of themed propaganda coming out, we are told, from intel community officials. These are obviously unhappy officials, taking arms against the Trump administration from inside the U.S. government. Not only that, but at least nine of them were clearly in the Obama administration – something WaPo (perhaps unintentionally) clarified in its 9 February story explaining that all of those sources had primary information from the time Mike Flynn had the supposedly controversial phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Which was when Obama was still president.

    • Well worth the time spent reading the article, the ties spelled out in the article gives a new dimension to the attacks on President Trump and his people, they also add a new target for investigation and possible prosecution.

      This is also a good example of why investigations need to be held when a big corporation decides to buy a news paper and then hunts contracts with the government. This is part of the Intel, political, industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about. He was worried about continual small wars because it was good business for the weapons suppliers. Now we have to worry about leftist agenda driven IT and financial industry millionaires working to undermine a President they don’t like. The left has for years screamed about big business running the US and how events are proving that it is left wing businessmen who are trying to do what the left claims to hate.

  7. Italian senators mull making ‘fake news’ a crime punishable by fines & jail (RT, Feb 18, 2017)

    “A cross-party bill in the Italian Senate proposes heavy fines and even jail time for individuals or media outlets who “undermine” democracy and publish “false, exaggerated or biased” news online and refuse to amend copy within 24 hours.

    “There have always been ‘fake news’ or hoaxes, but they have never been spread at the rate we see today. Because of this, it is no longer possible to put off the debate,” said a statement prefacing the legislation, submitted by Adele Gambaro, a member of the small centrist Liberal Popular Alliance, whose initiative has the support of the bigger parties.

    Ordinary ‘fake news’ reporting would merit a fine of €5,000 ($5,300), while “hate campaigns against individuals” or stories “aimed at undermining the democratic process” could result in €10,000 ($10,614) penalties. News items that would “cause alarm to the public” or “damage the public interest” will be punishable by up to one year in jail.

    Traditional media outlets – newspapers and TV – would be exempt from the legislation….”

    • “… The internet has certainly expanded the boundaries of our freedom by giving us the opportunity to express ourselves on a global scale,” wrote Gambaro. “But freedom of expression cannot turn into a synonym for lack of control where control, in the information era, means correct news, for the protection of users.”

      Additionally, operators of any online news outlets – including bloggers, and forum administrators – would have to apply for a license from the state to operate their website, as well as submitting their name, address, and tax data.

      The proposal also calls for students to undergo special “media literacy” courses that would help them distinguish between reliable and deceptive sources of information…”

  8. al jazeera – Merkel: ‘Islam is not the source of terrorism’

    Both Merkel and US Vice President Mike Pence attend key security conference in Munich with Russia high on the agenda.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Islam is not the source of “terrorism” and that cooperating with predominantly Muslim states in the fight against it is vital.

    Merkel, who has been critical of US President Donald Trump’s attempt to impose a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, was speaking on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, with US Vice President Mike Pence in the audience.

    Merkel said Europe’s ties with Russia remained challenging, but it was important to work with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) and similar groups.

    She stressed the need to preserve and strengthen multilateral structures such as the EU, NATO and the UN during an address that came as concern grew about the Trump administration’s approach to international affairs and fears that it may have little interest in working in multilateral forums.

    Trump’s criticism of NATO as “obsolete”, his praise for Britain’s decision to leave the EU as well as his softer approach towards Russia have unnerved allies.

    “Acting together strengthens everyone,” said Merkel. “We must see that the multilateral structures are in many places not efficient enough.

    “I am firmly convinced that it is worth fighting for our common international multilateral structures, but we must improve them in many places.”

    Pence reassures watchful allies

    Pence, though, in his first overseas trip since being named vice president, said Trump would stand by NATO and no one should doubt his commitment after the sacrifices made to defend it.

    “The president asked me to be here today to convey a message, a reassurance – the US strongly supports NATO and we will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance,” Pence said. “Let no one doubt our commitment.”

    Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane, reporting from the conference, said many people had wanted to hear Pence speak as speculation grew about Trump’s approach to foreign policy.

    “Delegates here will be discussing the future of NATO as well as the future of the West,” Kane said. “With all these leaders speaking, it shows how important the conference has become in recent time.

    “The fact that Merkel spoke about ISIL and Boko Haram and the need to consign these people to history shows leaders here are in earnest about how they deal with the problem.

    “The question is though what policy will emerge from this. Is it likely this conference will arrive at a meaningful policy which will deal with these groups? That’s a much more difficult question to answer.”

    Pence is also scheduled to sit down with the leaders of the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko – all countries dealing with the threat of Russian incursion – along with Turkey’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim.

    reuters -Merkel: Islam is not the source of terrorism

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Islam itself was not the source of terrorism, on Saturday during a speech at the Munich Security Conference, where US Vice President Mike Pence was in the audience.

    “The joint fight against Islamic terrorism is one area where we have the same interests and we can work together,” Merkel said.

    Merkel, who has been critical of a US ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, underscored that Islam itself was not the source of terrorism. She said it was critical to include Muslim countries in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

    Germany, under increasing pressure by U.S. leaders to increase its military spending, would do “everything possible” meet a NATO target for spending 2 percent of economic output on defence by 2024, Merkel told the conference adding that Europe’s ties with Russia remained challenging, but it was important to work with Russia in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

  9. France: ‘I will not ask for instructions from Mrs Merkel’ – Le Pen

    French presidential candidate for the Front National, Marine Le Pen said she would not ask for “instructions” from “Mrs Merkel” at her electoral rally in Clairvaux-Les-Lacs on Friday evening.

    • NYT – Keeping the Kremlin’s Hands Off France’s Elections

      With the United States engulfed in questions about Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, France is determined to head off any such meddling in its coming presidential election.

      On Monday Richard Ferrand, the director of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign, claimed that the Russians had unleashed “hundreds and even thousands” of hacking attempts against Mr. Macron, and that RT and Sputnik, government-controlled news outlets, are spreading fake news, as they were said to have done during the American election cycle. The stories about Mr. Macron range from allegations that he is engaged in a secret extramarital gay affair to accusations that he used state funds to pay for foreign travel.

      Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Front candidate, who has received Russian financing, is expected to win the most votes in a crowded field in the first round of voting, on April 23. But Mr. Macron, who is campaigning for a strong European Union that can stand up to Russia, could defeat her in the decisive May 7 runoff vote. The Kremlin’s interest in the outcome is evident — all the more so given upcoming elections this year in the Netherlands and Germany, where right-wing populist parties are also on the rise.

      On Wednesday, France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, came out swinging. In an address to Parliament, he said that France would take “retaliatory measures” if Russia or “any other state” tried to interfere in elections. Mr. Ayrault did not specify what those measures might be, but President François Hollande has called a meeting next week of France’s national defense chiefs to discuss “specific monitoring and protection measures” to guard against foreign interference in the presidential race.

      Facebook and Google, widely criticized for their role in the spread of fake news during the American presidential campaign, are also taking steps to guard against a repeat in France’s election. Facebook is working with multiple French news outlets to fact-check stories. On Feb. 6, Google announced CrossCheck, a collaborative project with major French media outlets aimed at identifying and fact-checking questionable content with “the French presidential election as its primary focus.”

      France is wise to take steps now, though it is too early to know whether they will have much effect. Mr. Ayrault was absolutely right, however, when he stated on Wednesday what should be obvious to all democratic governments: “After what happened in the United States, it is our responsibility to take all measures to ensure that the integrity of our democratic process is respected.” At stake, he said, is “our democracy, our sovereignty and our national independence.”

      • WIKILEAKS: Press Release (English) – 16 February, 2017
        CIA espionage orders for the 2012 French presidential election

        All major French political parties were targeted for infiltration by the CIA’s human (“HUMINT”) and electronic (“SIGINT”) spies in the seven months leading up to France’s 2012 presidential election. The revelations are contained within three CIA tasking orders published today by WikiLeaks as context for its forth coming CIA Vault 7 series. Named specifically as targets are the French Socialist Party (PS), the National Front (FN) and Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) together with current President Francois Hollande, then President Nicolas Sarkozy, current round one presidential front runner Marine Le Pen, and former presidential candidates Martine Aubry and Dominique Strauss-Khan.

        The CIA assessed that President Sarkozy’s party was not assured re-election. Specific tasking concerning his party included obtaining the “Strategic Election Plans” of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP); schisms or alliances developing in the UMP elite; private UMP reactions to Sarkozy’s campaign stratagies; discussions within the UMP on any “perceived vulnerabilities to maintaining power” after the election; efforts to change the party’s ideological mission; and discussions about Sarkozy’s support for the UMP and “the value he places on the continuation of the party’s dominance”. Specific instructions tasked CIA officers to discover Sarkozy’s private deliberations “on the other candidates” as well as how he interacted with his advisors. Sarkozy’s earlier self-identification as “Sarkozy the American” did not protect him from US espionage in the 2012 election or during his presidency.

        The espionage order for “Non Ruling Political Parties and Candidates Strategic Election Plans” which targeted Francois Holland, Marine Le Pen and other opposition figures requires obtaining opposition parties’ strategies for the election; information on internal party dynamics and rising leaders; efforts to influence and implement political decisions; support from local government officials, government elites or business elites; views of the United States; efforts to reach out to other countries, including Germany, U.K., Libya, Israel, Palestine, Syria & Cote d’Ivoire; as well as information about party and candidate funding.

        Significantly, two CIA opposition espionage tasks, “What policies do they promote to help boost France’s economic growth prospects?” and “What are their opinions on the German model of export-led growth?” resonate with a U.S. economic espionage order from the same year. That order requires obtaining details of every prospective French export contract or deal valued at $200m or more.

        • OT: You ask if I had been talking to atheists, if you have noticed a difference in my comments lately it is because a little before the 1st I had the flu for two days and this caused my back to start hurting a lot more then usual. Normally 2 or 3 Tramadol a day will keeps the pain to a tolerable level but it was 5 Tramadol and 5 Tylenol a day and has now worked down to 3 Tramadol and 3 Tylenol. Hopefully it won’t be long before I am back to what passes for normal. for a while I was worried I was going to have to have surgery.

          • Poor thing!
            Flu – sick in bed – back gets out of alignment, miserable. Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll => anything but back surgery!

            Yes, there was a modestly flattened affect that made me wonder if you caught atheist cooties. I’m glad it’s only toxic waste with a half-life of 20 billion years.

  10. Bloomberg – Yanis Varoufakis Hopes for a Le Pen Loss in France

    Feb.17 — Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis weighs in on the French elections, the lingering effects of the financial crisis in the weakest parts of Europe, and the power of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”

  11. Virginia man gets 8 years for trying to help ISIS (abcnews, Feb 18, 2017)

    “A Virginia man who talked about his desire to carry out beheadings for the Islamic State was sentenced Friday to more than eight years in prison after getting caught in an FBI sting last year trying to help the group.

    Haris Qamar, 26, is one of more than half a dozen men from the northern Virginia area charged in the last few years with helping the Islamic State or attempting to do so. Like so many of those cases, Qamar left the judge flummoxed as to why he was drawn to the violent ideology of the Islamic State, which has conducted beheadings and burned its captives alive.

    Asked to explain himself at a sentencing hearing, Qamar said he felt compelled to respond to videos and news accounts he saw online showing innocent Muslims, including women and children, being slaughtered in Syria and the Middle East…”

  12. Germany: Asylum seekers and Munich residents protest deportations to Afghanistan

    Dozens of activists gathered at Lenbachplatz, Munich on Saturday to protest against the deportation of Afghan refugees, while Munich Security Conference was also taking place in the city.

    Protesters arrived at the square with placards and banners, demanding the suspension of the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers; they were maintaining that Afghanistan could not be considered as a ‘safe country’.

  13. Malaysia: Protesters rally in support of stronger Shariah courts

    Activists held a rally in Kuala Lumpur, Saturday, to show their support for proposed amendments to the criminal jurisdiction act tabled by Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party president Abdul Hadi Awang. The amendments would reportedly increase the severity of punishments Shariah criminal courts could administer.

    Up to 100,000 people are said to have taken part in the rally.

    A counter-protest of several hundred people reportedly took place at a nearby location.

  14. Geert Wilders attacks ‘Moroccan scum’ as he launches Dutch election campaign (express, Feb 18, 2017)

    “GEERT Wilders officially launched his election campaign in typically controversial fashion today, promising to rid the Netherlands of what he called ‘Moroccan scum’.

    Amid tight security, Wilders made a rare public appearence in his Freedom Party’s stronghod of Spijkenisse, where he shook hands with supporters and posed for photographs.

    Opponents of the far-right candidate – who has promised to shut down mosques and ban the Koran – stood holding placards bearing pro-immigrant slogans.

    Wilders told the crowd: “There is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe.

    “If you want to regain your country, make the Netherlands for the people of the Netherlands again, then you can only vote for one party.”

    It is not the first time Wilders has targetted Moroccans – he was convicted in December of inciting racial discrimination for comments made in a 2014 post-election speech.

    The populist has been dubbed the “Dutch Trump” – a right-wing firebrand whose inflammatory anti-Islamic rhetoric echoes that of the new US President.

    This week he promised to ‘de-Islamisize’ the Netherlands, and said he would change the country’s constitution if necessary…”

  15. Sweden ‘covering up’ migrant rape and violent crime for the sake of ‘humanitarianism’ (express, Feb 18, 2017)

    “OFFICIALS in the Swedish government have been accussed of “covering up” migrant rape and refugee violence for the sake of “appearing politically correct”

    Journalist Ami Horowitz has told Fox News people high up in the Swedish government are purposely covering up the prepretrators of rape crimes to protect “vulnerable” migrants.

    During an explosive interview, Mr Horowitz claimed the refugee violence crisis was out-of-control but that “European virtues” had put a stop to any discussion on the statistics.

    Sweden accepted 160,000 asylum-seekers last year, with Fox News claiming only 500 have managed to gain employment – a mere 0.3 per cent of those who arrived to claim refugee status.

    The filmmaker told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: “Sweden consider themselves a humanitarian superpower, perhaps the only superpower they could possibly qualify for.

    “So they want to open up their borders up to everyone and anyone.

    “From the onset of the refugee crisis, there was a surge in gun violence and rape – the statistics were clear.

    “But locals were just said ‘it was men, not refugees’ so the majority in Sweden still want to have an open door policy. It’s confounding, really.”

    He added: “The Swedish government try to cover up refugee rapes…”

    • Sweden’s two year U-Turn: Liberals’ failed refugee policy turns public AGAINST migrants (express, Feb 18, 2017)

      “SWEDEN’S politicians’ open-door refugee policies have turned the Swedish public against migrants in just two years, a study has found.

      Fears of Swedes losing their culture and identity has fuelled a rise in anti-migrant sentiment, after 163,000 people arrived in the country in last year.

      Sweden has been the poster child for openness and toleration for decades but that has changed in just two years, the study by independent British think-tank Demos found.

      In September 2015, thousands of people took to the streets with banners saying “Refugees Welcome” while Prime Minister Stefan Löfven spoke about not building walls and offering help “when need is great”.

      A year later, in October 2016, his government decided to implement border controls, which had always been available but not used, to stem the rapid flow of asylum seekers.

      And a surge in nationalistic language has shown Swedes now consider migrants a threat to the nation, the report said.

      The 458-page study into populism in Europe found an increasing use of “exclusionary nationalist rhetoric” in 2015 and 2016 by Swedish politicians across the spectrum.

      Since the beginning of 2015, the study found an increasing use of the term “Swedish values” by not just the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats which have gained popularity since then, but by all main parties.

      Swedish media mentioned the term more than 1,600 times in 2016, an increase from 286 times in 2012, the study found.

      The authors said: “Discussions of national identity became much more prominent from 2015 onwards in relation to the refugee crisis.”

      Politicians continually spoke about Swedish national culture and heritage which, while not overtly anti-migrant, led to an exclusion of those who were not native.

      The leaders of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party and conservative Christian Democrats were more subtle than Sweden Democrats about linking values and culture with the suggestion immigrants “are causing a demise of Swedish values”, however they did make the link, the study found.

      Sweden has traditionally bucked the growing trend of support for populist anti-immigration parties across Europe, with the country welcoming an influx of labour migrants in the Sixties and Seventies.

      Since 2000, the number of asylum seekers to the country increased rapidly from an average 16,000 annually to 50,000 in 2015 in a country with a population of just 9.6million – the same size as Chicago.

      Politicians from all parties have been recorded making comments questioning the future of national identity or ‘Swedishness’.

      Anna Kinberg-Batra, leader of the Moderates, said arranged marriages could not be defended as freedom of religion.

      She said: “To take the future away from your daughter – that is not freedom.”

      She added that honour killings were “dishonest and it goes against Swedish values”.

      Ebba Busch Thor, leader of the Christian Democrats, suggested the migration crisis was not over and said if immigrants could not speak the language and understand Swedish culture and values “exclusion will grow”.

      There was uproar when a Muslim politician refused to shake a female journalist’s hand in April last year, and widespread anger after several swimming pools offered female-only hours following requests from Muslim women.

      Swedish National Day, originally a “non-celebration”, has now become a popular public festival after being made a public holiday in 2015.

      The study stated: “Our analysis has shown ethnic conceptions of Swedishness go hand in hand with anti-immigrant sentiment.””

      • Sweden needs to RAISE TAXES to fund migrants, MP reveals as ‘integration DOESN’T work’ (express, Feb 18, 2017)

        “SWEDISH taxpayers will see hikes in their contributions to cope with the cost of the European migrant crisis.

        And those who require state welfare could be forced see cuts if reforms cannot be implemented, it has been claimed.

        Politicians were reacting to a report that reveals it takes an average of nine years for half of the migrants to find work in the country.

        Now Riksdag parliamentarians say the current system does not work and that the national legislature has to step in to change the status quo.

        Moderate Party politician Niklas Wykman, 35, who represents Stockholm county and was voted into parliament in 2014, says female migrants are worst hit by the jobs gap.

        In an editorial published alongside councillor Alexander Abenius, the politicians say that integration is not working in the country.

        And they say more has to be done to tackle crime because Sweden is at serious risk of decline.

        In the opinion piece published in the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten both men say radical change has to materialise and soon.

        They say: “To manage and utilise immigration, it is crucial that integration works.

        “It does not in Sweden.

        “According to new figures from Statistics Sweden it takes nine years before half of the new arrivals have a job.

        “For women, the outcome is even worse.

        “If this is allowed this to continue, Sweden will have to choose between higher taxes and cuts in welfare or parallel societies emerging”….”

  16. Davi to Hollywood Elite: Invite Illegal Aliens and Refugees to the Oscars… or You’re Racists!

    An open letter to the Hollywood Elite and the rest of America:

    My Dear friends and colleagues,

    I have recently been pondering President Trump’s executive action with regard to our nation having extreme vetting and our immigration policy finally being enforced. It has pained me deeply to see such a violent reaction to something that, to my mind, makes absolute common sense.

    Let me begin by saying that I am from a family of immigrants that came to this country for a better life. They came to the US “legally,” assimilated, integrated, and learned English to the best of their ability, and demanded we speak it. As we all know, we live in a time in which there are forces who wish to destroy our way of life.

    There are thousands of illegal immigrant criminals in the United States whose country of origin will not take them back. These criminals are free on the streets of America.

    We have recently heard from a plethora of Hollywood stars on this issue — Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, Ashley Judd, Madonna, major agencies, musicians, singers and even the indomitable Shia LaBeouf. After much prayer on this issue, I must now stand in solidarity with all of my Hollywood elite brethren. They are right! The rest of you are wrong!

    It is now in this spirit that I make an appeal to all in Hollywood and the media for us to use the Oscars to take a stand for the entire world to see and hear. It is time for Hollywood to lead the way.

  17. Turkey’s PM holds massive pro-Erdogan rally in Germany

    Germany is home to about three million people of Turkish origin, the legacy of a massive “guest worker” programme in the 1960s and 70s and the biggest population of Turks in the world outside of Turkey

    Oberhausen, Feb 18 Turkey’s prime minister drew criticism today for holding a rally in Germany urging Turks there to support a referendum that would expand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

    Binali Yildirim also told the several thousands of people at a stadium in Oberhausen, in western Germany, that Turkey would track down the participants in last July’s failed military coup “in all the holes where they are hiding”.

    Germany is home to about three million people of Turkish origin, the legacy of a massive “guest worker” programme in the 1960s and 70s and the biggest population of Turks in the world outside of Turkey.

    They will be able to vote in the April 16 referendum, which would discard the post of prime minister for the first time in Turkey’s history.

    Critics say the new presidential system will cement one-man rule in the country.

    Some 750 opponents of Erdogan rallied peacefully near the Oberhausen stadium, according to police.

    Sevim Dagdelen, a lawmaker in Germany’s far-left Die Linke party, called the rally “a publicity campaign for a dictator”.

    Another lawmaker, Cem Ozdemir of the Greens, wrote in the Kolner Stadt Anzeiger paper: “I find it shocking that a Turkish prime minister has no qualms about taking advantage of our democracy while he and his henchmen make their opponents disappear behind bars,” he said.

    But Yildirim told the supporters of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) that “the era when some could give lessons to Turkey is over. Turkey is not a country that will be intimidated”.

    The German daily Die Welt said yesterday that Turkish police were holding its correspondent in the country.

    Deniz Yucel, 43, has been detained in connection with reports on a hacker attack on the email account of Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, a son-in-law of Erdogan, the paper said.

    Yildirim met Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier today during the Munich Security Conference, where she raised the correspondent’s case.

    “The chancellor noted that it was fundamental for Yucel to receive consular or embassy assistance… That he be treated fairly and in accordance with the law,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

    Yildirim was to meet US Vice President Mike Pence at the conference later today.

    • Germany: Tensions high as protesters decry Turkish PM Yildrim’s visit to Oberhausen

      About 500 demonstrators protested against a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Oberhausen on Saturday.

      Yildrim was set to attend a Justice and Development Party (AKP) event to address German-Turks in the area and campaign for a referendum on the latest set of amendments to the Turkish constitution.

      Protesters held banners and signs condemning Yildrim and calling Erdogan a dictator.

      Last January, the Turkish parliament approved a new draft constitution that would allow for a presidential system of government, significantly increasing the power of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    • These Erdogan rallies in Germany remind me of the propaganda movies of the Nazi rallies, are in the long run are probably as dangerous.

      • The Turk’s flag has always given me the Swastika Shudder.

        Does anyone there appreciate the overwhelming threat to Europe – in raw numbers, especially Germany – of going Turk?!
        – – – Hello, CIA – – – Are you paying attention?
        They will be TURKed. Second, third generation German-citizens will be brought to heel, RE-Turked.

        • I can see why.

          The raw numbers of all Moslems are very worrying to all who haven’t sold out to Islam. They are also one of the reasons I say this war will last a long time. Given the raw numbers it is probable that we and the European nations that remain free will have to liberate the conquered nations before 2050 at the latest.

    • RT- Germany: Let the whole world hear you! Yilidrim drums up referendum support

      Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addressed a crowd of around 10,000 Turks and Turkish Germans in Oberhausen on Saturday in a bid to whip up support for Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ahead of the upcoming referendum on constitutional reform.

  18. This is a must read article for all who want to understand what is happening in DC

    Who Rules the United States?
    Column: How bureaucrats are fighting the voters for control of our country

    Donald Trump was elected president last November by winning 306 electoral votes. He pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., to overturn the system of politics that had left the nation’s capital and major financial and tech centers flourishing but large swaths of the country mired in stagnation and decay. “What truly matters,” he said in his Inaugural Address, “is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”

    Is it? By any historical and constitutional standard, “the people” elected Donald Trump and endorsed his program of nation-state populist reform. Yet over the last few weeks America has been in the throes of an unprecedented revolt. Not of the people against the government—that happened last year—but of the government against the people. What this says about the state of American democracy, and what it portends for the future, is incredibly disturbing.

    There is, of course, the case of Michael Flynn. He made a lot of enemies inside the government during his career, suffice it to say. And when he exposed himself as vulnerable those enemies pounced. But consider the means: anonymous and possibly illegal leaks of private conversations. Yes, the conversation in question was with a foreign national. And no one doubts we spy on ambassadors. But we aren’t supposed to spy on Americans without probable cause. And we most certainly are not supposed to disclose the results of our spying in the pages of the Washington Post because it suits a partisan or personal agenda.

    Here was a case of current and former national security officials using their position, their sources, and their methods to crush a political enemy. And no one but supporters of the president seems to be disturbed. Why? Because we are meant to believe that the mysterious, elusive, nefarious, and to date unproven connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin is more important than the norms of intelligence and the decisions of the voters.

    Donald Trump did not cause the divergence between government of, by, and for the people and government, of, by, and for the residents of Cleveland Park and Arlington and Montgomery and Fairfax counties. But he did exacerbate it. He forced the winners of the global economy and the members of the D.C. establishment to reckon with the fact that they are resented, envied, opposed, and despised by about half the country. But this recognition did not humble the entrenched incumbents of the administrative state. It radicalized them to the point where they are readily accepting, even cheering on, the existence of a “deep state” beyond the control of the people and elected officials.

    Who rules the United States? The simple and terrible answer is we do not know. But we are about to find out.

    • Tyrants don’t give up power easily and the unelected Bureaucrats and activist Judges are tyrants. To them the idea that the people in fly over country that their actions show they despise are insisting on having a say in how the government is run and the direction it is going to go is a nightmare. They will do all they can to prevent anyone from removing the slightest bit power from their hands and will resort to what are clearly illegal and probably unconstitutional means to hang onto that power.

      The EU is a prime example of what happens when you let the bureaucrats get control of the government, because when they do the first thing they do is remove all power from the elected officials and start changing the laws so the people have no rights if they disagree with the bureaucrats.

  19. Armed Services chair: Obama appointees preventing Mattis from rebuilding military
    By LU Staff February 17, 2017

    This must be part of the Obama “shadow government” that is committed to do everything it can to disrupt the Trump administration.

    According to the chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services, holdovers from the Obama administration in the Pentagon are hampering efforts to fix the military’s major readiness problem, leaving Secretary of Defense James Mattis alone in his efforts to properly equip U.S. forces.

    Chairman Mac Thornberry ?
    said during a Capitol Hill press gaggle Thursday:

    I am concerned that … to fix these problems [it] is going to take a lot more money, and yet a lot of the folks who are coming up with the budget to fix them are the same people who have been fighting every step of the way against our efforts to fix these problems.

    Thornberry noted that Mattis is “alone” in his attempts to alleviate the readiness problem at the Pentagon. He added that there are some people, including “political appointees and others from the Obama administration,” who have been “trying to deny there was a problem.”

    Richard: Please click through and read the rest of the article.

    The figures of less then have of the Air Force planes being capable is true but optimistic, sources tell me that 1/3 of the Air Force and a like number of the Navy and Marine air craft are flight worthy. They also tell me that less them half of the Navy’s ships are capable of leaving the dock and that they are kept running by cannibalizing the others for spare parts. This effort to keep the US defenseless is going to cost us dearly near future.

    Another person who has much better sources of info says he is convinced that we are being set up for an invasion by a foreign military force.

    • that they are kept running by cannibalizing the others for spare parts. should read

      The rest are kept running by cannibalizing the others.

  20. Social JJustice Warriors strike again.

    Wisconsin Students Demand Free Tuition for Blacks

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Black students should be offered free tuition and housing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison because blacks were legally barred from education during slavery and university remains out of reach for black students today, the student government said Wednesday.

    The Associated Students of Madison said in a resolution that students from suburban high schools are overrepresented. The group said consideration of ACT and SAT scores in applications restricts opportunities for the poor and thus upholds “white supremacy.”

    Race relations have been a contentious issue at the Wisconsin’s flagship campus for months. The university has proposed some measures aimed at improving diversity.

    “The university’s rhetoric suggests that it is committed to diversity and inclusion, so this legislation compels the university to move towards action – which is imperative,” the resolution’s author, ASM Student Council Rep. Tyriek Mack, said in a statement. “If no one challenges the university’s empty promises, then the racial composition will remain stagnant.”

    The resolution demands free access to the university for all black people, including former inmates. That means free tuition, free housing and no fees, Mack said. That would save a black resident undergraduate student about $20,000 a year.

    The resolution goes on to call for the university to use 10 percent of donations to bolster financial aid and study the feasibility of test-optional and geographically weighted admissions.

  21. Nearly 2 million non-citizen Hispanics illegally registered to vote

    Survey bolsters analysis by professors

    A large number of non-citizen Hispanics, as many as 2 million, were illegally registered to vote in the U.S., according to a nationwide poll.

    The National Hispanic Survey provides additional evidence for use by anti-voter fraud conservatives and bolsters an analysis by professors at Old Dominion University who say non-citizens registered and voted in potentially large numbers.

    President Trump has announced he will appoint a task force on voter fraud headed by Vice President Mike Pence. He says he wants the investigation to focus on inaccurate voter registration rolls, which are maintained by the states and the District of Columbia.

    “It is a fact and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of non-citizens in this country who are registered to vote,” White House adviser Stephen Miller told ABC News. “That is a scandal. We should stop the presses.”

    The little-noticed Hispanic survey was conducted in June 2013 by McLaughlin and Associates to gauge the opinions of U.S. resident Latinos on a wide range of issues.

    Inside the poll is a page devoted to voter profiles. Of the randomly selected sample of 800 Hispanics, 56 percent, or 448, said they were non-citizens, and of those, 13 percent said they were registered to vote. The 448 would

  22. Sources: ‘The Blind Sheikh,’ Tied To ’93 World Trade Center Attack, Dead At 78

    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Omar Abdel-Rahman also known as the “blind Sheikh,” has died at a prison hospital in North Carolina at age 78, law enforcement sources told CBS2.

    Abdel-Rahman inspired the 1993 World Trade Center attack, a plot to blow up local landmarks and issued the Islamic ruling that Osama bin Laden used to justify 9/11.

    Rahman was convicted in 1995 for involvement in the bomb plot, which targeted the United Nations, the Holland Tunnel and the Lincoln Tunnel.

    Prosecutors said at the time the terror plots were intended to force the United States to end its support of Israel and Egypt.

    Kenneth McKoy of the Federal Correction Complex in Butner, North Carolina, said Rahman died at 5:40 a.m. after a long battle with diabetes and coronary artery disease.

    Abdel-Rahman was serving a life sentence in prison at the time of his death.

    Omar Ahmad Rahman, “blind sheikh” in World Trade Center bombing, dead at 78

    Omar Ahmad Rahman, who helped orchestrate the bombing of World Trade Center in 1993, died in prison Saturday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said. He was 78.

    Known as the “blind sheikh,” he died at Federal Medical Center Butner in Butner, North Carolina, where he’s been confined since February 2007, the bureau said in a statement.

    Rahman died from natural causes, the bureau said. He had battled diabetes and coronary artery disease.

  23. France: Tear gas and clashes take Paris as anti-police brutality demos continue

    Scuffles broke out between protesters and police forces during a protest against police brutality in the Paris, Saturday.

    The protest is part of a series of anti-police brutality rallies being held across France, which were sparked by the police officers allegedly assaulting and sexually abusing a 22-year old black man with a police baton.

    The abuse caused the victim, dubbed Theo, serious injuries for which he was rushed to a hospital, later requiring surgery. One of the police officers has been charged with rape, while three others were charged with assault.

  24. Welcome to Sweden, Eldorado for Migrants!

    by Nima Gholam Ali Pour
    February 18, 2017 at 5:00 am

    In 2016, Sweden received 28,939 asylum seekers. Sweden is a predominantly Christian country in northern Europe, and yet most asylum seekers to Sweden came from three Muslim countries in the Middle East: Syria (5,459), Afghanistan (2,969) and Iraq (2,758). Why is it that people from these three Muslim countries choose to cross Europe to come to Sweden? What is it that Sweden offers that attracts people from the other side of the world?

    It is not the major metropolises in Sweden that attract these people. 56% of Sweden’s land area is covered by forest. Besides the Swedish capital Stockholm, there is no Swedish city with more than 1 million inhabitants. Sweden’s average annual temperature is around 3°C (37.4°F), so it is not the weather that attracts tens of thousands of people from Muslim countries to Sweden.

    What Sweden provides is economic and social benefits for all who come. Sweden is a country where the state pays newly-arrived migrants to encourage them to enter the community and seek jobs. If you receive a residence permit as a refugee, quota refugee or person with “subsidiary protection,” you get up to $35 (308 SEK) a day, five days a week, if you participate in a so-called “establishment plan.” So, the newly arrived migrant does not even have to work to get this money; the only thing he or she needs to do is to accept the help that the Public Employment Service provides. The newly-arrived migrant receives an “establishment allowance” (etableringsersättning) during his first two years in Sweden. After two years, the migrant is still entitled to all the benefits of the Swedish welfare state.

  25. SPAIN – Thousands in Barcelona Urge Spain to Take in More Migrants

    BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Thousands of protesters marched Saturday in Barcelona to demand that Spain’s conservative-led government increase its efforts to take in refugees from war-torn countries like Syria.

    Spain has taken in just 1,100 refugees of the over 17,000 it has pledged to accept.

    Marchers held a large banner and signs with the slogan “Enough Excuses! Take Them In Now!” as they made their way through the city center to the Mediterranean coast.

    In Sept. 2015, Spain’s government pledged to bring 17,337 refugees in within two years: 15,888 from camps in Italy and Greece and 1,449 from Turkey and Libya.

    A group of 66 refugees- 65 Syrians and one Iraqi- who arrived in Madrid on Thursday raised the total number of refugees Spain has taken in to just 1,100.

    Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau joined the march. Colau, a former anti-eviction activist, has pushed Spain’s government to let her city accept more refugees. She also criticized the federal government’s stance toward refugees in December at a Vatican conference on Europe’s refugee crisis.

    In contrast with Spain, fellow European Union member Germany took in 890,000 asylum-seekers in 2015 and another 280,000 in 2016. Germany decided last year on more than 695,000 asylum applications. Nearly 60 percent of the applicants were granted either full refugee status or a lesser form of protection.

    160,000 join pro-refugee protest in Barcelona

    Tens of thousands of people marched through Barcelona on Saturday urging the Spanish government to immediately meet its pledge to take in thousands of refugees.

    Ada Colau, the mayor of Spain’s second city, had called on Barcelona residents to “fill the streets” and march under the slogan volem acollir (“We want to welcome them” in Catalan).

    Local police said some 160,000 people had heeded her call.

    Many of those flooding the major Via Laietana thoroughfare carried signs reading “Enough excuses, welcome them now”.

    The protest comes after Spain pledged to take in some 16,000 asylum seekers from other European Union countries under a quota system agreed in 2015 as the continent struggled with its biggest migration crisis since World War II.

    Like other EU members, Spain has fallen far short of this target, with only 1,100 resettled in the country so far.

    Jacint Comelles, a 62-year-old potter who joined the protest with friends and family, said not enough was being done to help people who have fled conflict hoping to start a new life in Europe.

    “We demand this minimum amount of dignity — that at least this number of refugees (16,000) can come,” he said. “In Catalonia, everything is ready to welcome them.”

    The protest, organised by a group calling itself Castra Nostra Casa Vostra (Our home is your home), finished at the Mediterranean coast — a symbolic location given the more than 5,000 migrants who lost their lives trying to cross the sea last year.

    Senior Barcelona lawmaker Merce Conesa on Wednesday said it was “shameful” that Spain had not taken in more refugees, and urged the European Commission to begin “severely sanctioning” countries that did not meet their pledges on the issue.

    Barcelona, capital of the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, put forward a plan in August 2015 for resettling refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. – AFP

  26. French candidate Macron sparks protests over Algeria remarks

    A few dozen protesters have urged French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron to apologize after he called France’s colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”

    Macron’s comments in an interview to the Algerian channel Echourouk News earlier this week have prompted controversy, as the topic is still a source of tension in France.

    Protesters who gathered Friday during Macron’s visit in Carpentras, in southern France, were mostly tied to Christian and Jewish families who moved to French colonies in North Africa before being expelled when those countries became independent.

    Macron, a centrist candidate in France’s two-round April-May presidential election, explained in a video that his comments aimed to acknowledge the responsibility of the French state in the colonization, not to target any people.

    Algeria lived under French colonial rule from 1830 to 1962.

    Toulon – Feb 18 2017 – anti Macron protest

    • Emmanuel Macron loses lead in French election polls after remarks on colonial Algeria and gay marriage spark outrage

      Emmanuel Macron, the centrist French presidential contender, struggled to get his campaign back on track on Saturday after losing his poll lead over controversial remarks on France’s colonial record and gay marriage.

      Mr Macron had overtaken François Fillon, the conservative candidate and former favourite embroiled in a corruption scandal, but the latest polls indicate that the two candidates are now neck-and-neck.

      Mr Macron provoked outrage on the Right by describing colonial rule as a “crime against humanity” during a visit to Algeria, once the jewel in France’s imperial crown.

      The 39-year-old independent, a relative political newcomer, then infuriated Left-wing supporters by trying to reach out to Right-wingers who opposed gay marriage, saying they had been stigmatised and “humiliated” under President Hollande’s Socialist government.

      Protesters heckled Mr Macron in the south of France, home to a large number of ‘pieds noirs’ — former settlers who left Algeria after independence, and their descendants. Many support Marine Le Pen, who along with Mr Fillon rounded on Mr Macron, accusing him of trying to ingratiate himself with voters of immigrant origin.

      Mr Macron sought to defend himself by saying said he had not meant “to say that those who were living in Algeria and who served in the French army [during the war that led to independence in 1962] were guilty of crimes against humanity, as the French state was solely responsible.”

      According to an OpinionWay poll, Mr Macron and Mr Fillon ended the week level-pegging on 20 per cent, with both men trailing Ms Le Pen, on 26 per cent.

      An IFOP survey indicated a wider gap, with Mr Macron and Mr Fillon both on 18.5 per cent. Ms Le Pen is expected to win the first-round vote in April but polls suggest she will be defeated by whichever candidate goes through to the decisive second round runoff the following month.

      Mr Fillon has vowed to stay in the race despite an ongoing investigation into allegations that he claimed €900,000 of taxpayers’ money for fictitious jobs for his British wife, Penelope, and two of their children as parliamentary aides.

      Ms Le Pen, an MEP, is also accused of giving two associates fictitious posts as parliamentary aides. She said she was suing the EU’s anti-fraud agency over the accusations and has refused to repay more than €300,000.

      Hundreds f protesters disrupted her rally in the eastern town of Clairvaux-les-Lacs on Friday by banging pots, while Mr Fillon faced a similar cacophony in Tourcoing, northern France.

  27. CBC – Liberal MP on anti-Islamophobia bill reaction

    Iqra Khalid has received extremely negative messages in response to her motion to have the federal government eliminate ‘Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination’

  28. Iraqi Christians flee Islamic terror. Get rejected by German-Muslim immigration employee
    Posted on February 18, 2017 10:00
    By Vincent van den Born

    German broadcaster Welt24 reports that a few days ago, German politician Wolfgang Bosbach met a Christian Iraqi family in Nordrhein-Westphalia, his constituency, who had recently applied for asylum in Germany.

    Bosbach heard them tell how they had fled their country for fear of Jihadist violence. Eventually, they reached the part of their story, in which they filled in they asylum application, in one of the foreign offices of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). There, they faced a BAMF employee with a headscarf, who was going to decide whether or not they, Christians, would get protected status.

    Last year, 97.000 Iraqis submitted an application for asylum in Germany. In January, 64.6% of Iraqi asylum applications were successful. The family Bosbach met, however, was rejected and told him they felt they were at a disadvantage because of the official who handled their case. Bosbach understood their reasoning:

  29. Publishers are hiring ‘sensitivity readers’ to flag potentially offensive content
    —from the Chicago Tribune—

    By Everdeen Mason—The Washington Post

    Before a book is published and released to the public, it’s passed through the hands (and eyes) of many people: an author’s friends and family, an agent and, of course, an editor.

    These days, though, a book may get an additional check from an unusual source: a sensitivity reader, a person who, for a nominal fee, will scan the book for racist, sexist or otherwise offensive content. These readers give feedback based on self-ascribed areas of expertise such as “dealing with terminal illness,” “racial dynamics in Muslim communities within families” or “transgender issues.”

    Sensitivity readers have emerged in a climate – fueled in part by social media – in which writers are under increased scrutiny for their portrayals of people from marginalized groups, especially when the author is not a part of that group.

    Last year, for instance, J.K. Rowling was strongly criticized by Native American readers and scholars for her portrayal of Navajo traditions in the 2016 story “History of Magic in North America.” Young-adult author Keira Drake was forced to revise her fantasy novel “The Continent” after an online uproar over its portrayal of people of color and Native backgrounds. More recently, author Veronica Roth – of “Divergent” fame – came under fire for her new novel, “Carve the Mark.” In addition to being called racist, the book was criticized for its portrayal of chronic pain in its main character.

    This potential for offense has some writers scared. Young-adult author Susan Dennard recently hired a fan to review her portrayal of a transgender character in her “Truthwitch” series.

    “I was nervous to write a character like this to begin with, because what if I get it wrong? I could do some major damage,” Dennard said. But, she added, she felt the voice of the character was an important one that wasn’t often portrayed, so she hired a fan, who is a transgender man, just to be sure she did it right.

    For authors looking for sensitivity readers beyond their fan base there is the Writing in the Margins database, a resource of about 125 readers created by Justina Ireland, author of the YA books “Vengeance Bound” and “Promise of Shadows.” Ireland started the directory last year after hearing other authors at a writing retreat discuss the difficulties in finding people of different backgrounds to read a manuscript and give feedback about such, well, sensitive matters.

    One reader for hire in Ireland’s database is Dhonielle Clayton, a librarian and writer based in New York. Clayton reviews two manuscripts per month, going line by line to look at diction, dialogue and plot. Clayton says she analyzes the authenticity of the characters and scenes, then points writers to where they can do more research to improve their work.

    Clayton, who is black, sees her role as a vital one. “Books for me are supposed to be vehicles for pleasure, they’re supposed to be escapist and fun,” she says. They’re not supposed to be a place where readers “encounter harmful versions” and stereotypes of people like them.

    Ireland underscores the value of sensitivity readers – both for authors and for readers. (She was a strong voice behind the push to get Keira Drake to make changes to the advance readers’ edition of “The Continent.”)

    “Even if authors mean well, even if the intention is good, it doesn’t change the impact,” Ireland said. “It’s nice to be that line of defense before it gets to readers, especially since the bulk of people who come to me write for children.” Fees for a sensitivity readers generally start at $250 per manuscript.

    Children’s book author Kate Messner has used sensitivity readers for many of her books, some of which deal with poverty, abuse and race.

    “I wouldn’t dream of sending those books out into the world without getting help to make sure I’m representing those issues in a way that’s realistic and sensitive,” she said. Messner, whose works include “The Seventh Wish” and “All the Answers,” asks a reader for feedback on whether the experience she’s written reads realistically or whether anything stands out as problematic.

    Her upcoming book, tentatively called “Breakout,” focuses on three girls coping with a prison escape in their small town. Messner has enlisted multiple sensitivity readers to help her work out the class and race issues affecting the town and her characters. A reader has called out when her language doesn’t ring true, and has questioned when her character does something that seems inauthentic and provides her perspective on why that is. Messner said it’s been encouraging to hear when she’s gotten something correct, but also she’s had to make adjustments.

    Lee & Low Books has a companywide policy to use sensitivity readers. Stacy Whitman, publisher and editorial director of Lee & Low’s middle-grade imprint Tu Books, said she will even request a sensitivity reader before she chooses to acquire a book to publish.

    “It’s important for authors to consider expert reader feedback and figure out how to solve the problems they point out,” Whitman said. “Everyone’s goal is a better book, and better representation contributes to that.”

    Still, some sensitivity readers feel they are in part contributing to the problem. Clayton said she’s unsettled by the idea that she’s being paid for her expertise, but also is helping white authors write black characters for books from which they reap profit and praise.

    “It feels like I’m supplying the seeds and the gems and the jewels from our culture, and it creates cultural thievery,” Clayton said. “Why am I going to give you all of those little things that make my culture so interesting so you can go and use it and you don’t understand it?”

    Concerns about cultural appropriation have been around for years – think of William Styron writing as the slave Nat Turner in 1967. (“That’s what we’re paid to do, isn’t it?” Lionel Shriver said in a controversial speech last year. “Step into other people’s shoes, and try on their hats.”)

    But sensitivity readers introduce a new twist in the debate. On the one hand they help a writer create the experience of a marginalized group more authentically. On the other, they legitimize the mimicking of marginalized voices by non-marginalized writers.

    Why not just publish more books by black people, Latinos, Native Americans and others? some ask.

    Despite the efforts of groups like We Need Diverse Books, “it’s more likely that a publishing house will publish a book about an African-American girl by a white woman versus one written by a black woman like me,” Clayton says.

    “So until publishing is equitable and people are still writing cross-culturally,” Clayton points out, “sensitivity reading is going to be another layer of what’s necessary in order to make sure that representation is good.”

    • Shades of 1984, this is very scary the publishers are censoring the books to avoid any controversy although I am willing to bet that any conservative character is portrayed as an evil racist, sexist homophobe.

      • it’s more likely that a publishing house will publish a book about an African-American girl by a white woman versus one written by a black woman like me

        Why do you suppose that is, dear? Nobody knows the color of the person submitting a manuscript.
        Didn’t read much as a kid? Tuition-free, diversity-admission to university? Lots of student-protests.


        Maybe if you took fewer courses in Gender Studies and more in Great Books, you’d know how to write something somebody else might want to read.
        I call BS. Fake story.

        Except for a very few ‘name-brands’, nobody sells enough young-adult fiction to pay anybody anything. These days publishing companies can’t afford proof-readers, let alone frills for dainty snowflakes.

        Nobody knows this better than the new owner of the public mouthpiece of the CIA, the Washington Post. Bezos’ first job was bookstore-related. He really knows market-size and commercial viability in this industry.

        If you checked, no doubt you’d find the databases mentioned here, together with ads for writers’ retreats that do exist and actually attract paying customers.

        There must be a tiny calf somewhere in this mess of PC fantasy.
        Because it stinks.
        Of bs.

        • I hope you are right but I remember how the big publishing houses killed the Westerns and now that some are coming back they are PC to a larger degree then I am comfortable reading. The same with Hark Science Science Fiction but two new publishing houses (Baen and Tor) were started to take up the slack.

  30. Lindsay Lohan Urges Support for Donald Trump (moroccoworldnews, Feb 18, 2017)

    “Lindsay Lohan is doing what many in Hollywood might consider the unthinkable. She encouraging her fellow Americans to get behind their president, according to The Daily Mail.

    Lohan is now encouraging Americans to get behind US President Donald Trump, bucking a somewhat less than charitable view of most her peers in Hollywood. “Look, I think always in the public eye you’re going to be scrutinised, and he is the President, so you have to – you have to join him. If you can’t beat him, join him,” she said during a Facebook live interview with The Daily Mail.

    This view might appear a generous concession on her part to anyone who remembers Trump’s tasteless comments about Ms. Lohan back in 2004…”

    • He said:
      “She’s probably deeply troubled and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women, you know, deeply, deeply troubled, they’re always the best: in bed?”

  31. Four Daesh cells busted (saudigazette, Feb 17, 2017)

    “THE Kingdom has dismantled four Daesh (the so-called IS) cells with the arrest of 18 suspected members of the terrorist organization. Fifteen of the arrested were Saudi citizens while the remaining three included two Yemenis and one Sudanese national, according to Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, security spokesman of the Ministry of Interior…”

  32. Trainer of suicide bombers killed in artillery shelling by Pakistan army (tribune, Feb 19, 2017)

    “Nearly a dozen training camps and hideouts of terrorist groups have been destroyed and over a dozen terrorists – including a top trainer of suicide bombers – have been killed in two days of artillery shelling by Pakistan’s military, Afghan sources confirmed on Saturday…”

    • Kabul summons Pakistan’s envoy over ‘cross-border shelling’ (tribune, Feb 18, 2017)

      “Afghanistan on Saturday summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to lodge a protest over what it termed “cross-border shelling by Pakistani forces”. Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai summoned envoy Abrar Hussain to “formally register protest over the firing of rockets by Pakistani troops”, according to a statement issued by Afghanistan’s foreign ministry.

      The move came a day after Pakistani military decimated camps and training compounds of the Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA) terrorist group, including the one run by the group’s deputy chief Adil Bacha, in areas ‘opposite Mohmand and Khyber tribal agencies’, sources said. The group, which is behind the recent upsurge in terrorist violence, has set up sanctuaries in Afghanistan…”

  33. ISIS suffer heavy casualties in latest operations of Afghan forces (khaama, Feb 18, 2017)

    “The loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group suffered heavy casualties in latest operations conducted as part of the Shaheen-25 offensive.

    The operations were conducted in eastern Nangarhar province where the offensive was launched nearly three weeks ago.

    The provincial police commandment said at least 34 militants were killed, 16 were wounded and around 7 others were arrested during the operations.

    The operations were conducted with the support of the Air Force in Haska Mina district…”

    • Thank you Martin, this is a must read article by anyone who is interested in how much of the US police and intel agencies Obama managed to corrupt. At a rough guess most of the lower ranking personal are still clean and honest but the some of the mid level and top level personal are corrupted beyond redemption. This part of the swamp has to be drained and hopefully the corrupt police officials will be tried for corruption. The intel people will probably escape prosecution since prosecuting them would reveal more secrets then we want to tell the world about.

  34. Vendée. Un concert annulé pour menace terroriste
    Le concert Lignerock qui devait se tenir ce samedi soir à Saint-Christophe-du-Ligneron (Vendée) a été annulé pour menace terroriste.

    La préfecture a pris la décision d’annuler ce samedi soir le concert Lignerock suite à trois appels téléphoniques passés en fin de journée, dans les environs de 17?h, auprès de la mairie, de la gendarmerie et sur le téléphone portable du président du festival.

    «?C’était un appel masqué bien ciblé. Sur les trois, le message était le même?: il va y avoir un bain de sang à Saint-Christophe-du-Ligneron ce soir?», explique David Bordet, l’un des organisateurs.

    Un important dispositif a été mis en place, la salle a été mise sous scellée. «?Ils nous ont fait sortir immédiatement. On a tout laissé en plan, tout le matériel, et on a dû annuler le concert et dire à tout le public de rentrer. Ils ont installé un périmètre de sécurité?: il fallait qu’il n’y ait plus personne sur le kilomètre aux alentours de la salle.?»

    La préfecture indique qu’une enquête est en cours pour analyser les conditions qui ont conduit à l’arrêt du concert.
    (concert in Vendee was cancelled because of possibility of terrorist attack)

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