Reader’s Links, December 29, 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

130 Replies to “Reader’s Links, December 29, 2017”

    • State Department releases Huma Abedin’s emails

      Judicial Watch President Chris Farrell on the State Department releasing Huma Abedin’s emails from Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

    • State Dept. releases Huma Abedin emails from Weiner’s laptop

      Some of the documents released Friday are redacted and marked ‘classified’; reaction and analysis from Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, and Joel Payne, Democratic strategist and former Hillary for America staffer.

  1. China Shuts Down 13,000 Websites for Breaking Internet Laws
    The government says its rules are to protect security and stability, but some say they are repressive.
    The Chinese government has shut down more than 13,000 websites for breaking Internet laws, reports Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency. These rules and regulations have governed the country’s networks since 2015.

    https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/china-shuts-down-13000-websites-for-breaking-internet-laws/d/d-id/1330723?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=sunnyhoi

  2. Exclusive: Russian tankers fueled North Korea via transfers at sea
    Guy Faulconbridge, Jonathan Saul, Polina Nikolskaya
    6 MIN READ

    LONDON/MOSCOW – Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-russia-oil-exclus/exclusive-russian-tankers-fueled-north-korea-via-transfers-at-sea-idUSKBN1EN1OJ?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social

  3. A University of California, Berkeley professor and Palestinian activist, Hatem Bazian, has been embroiled in controversy since retweeting posts equating Israel to North Korea and Nazis. While Bazian has apologized for the tweets as a careless mistake, Jewish students and some 15 professors have petitioned for his dismissal.

    This incident is one of many blatant anti-Semitic incidents in Bazian’s history. Though a relative unknown, even in academic circles, under the radar Bazian has been crucial to the dissemination of anti-Zionist thought for over two decades, first as a graduate student and now as a professor.

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/28/a-blatantly-hateful-anti-semite-is-a-professor-at-one-of-americas-most-revered-public-universities/

  4. FBI Still Considers Dossier Credible
    Devin Nunes demands answers from Andrew McCabe.
    December 29, 2017
    Matthew Vadum

    he FBI admits the Left’s electoral collusion conspiracy theory is unsubstantiated but still refuses to distance itself from the discredited Russia propaganda dossier Democrats paid Fusion GPS to create to undermine President Trump’s candidacy.

    Testifying behind closed doors in Congress the week before Christmas, embattled FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reportedly “declined to criticize the dossier’s 35 pages of salacious and criminal charges against Donald Trump and his aides, but he said it remains largely unverified, according to a source familiar with ongoing congressional inquiries.”

    According to the Washington Times, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is broadening the scope of its investigation into the collusion theory. The panel is looking at who funded the dossier and whether it was used by the FBI. It is also examining recent misconduct inside the Justice Department and the FBI, as well as the Obama administration’s unmasking of Americans caught up in foreigner-surveillance.

    As for McCabe, his entanglement in Democrat politics has had President Trump crying foul. McCabe has said he will retire from the FBI in the spring. He served as acting director of the FBI from May 9 when President Trump fired then-director James Comey until Aug. 2 when new director Christopher Wray took over. While serving as acting FBI director, McCabe was involved in the email investigation.

  5. Glad to be Living in the USA
    Landmark 2017 passings mark three visions of America.
    December 29, 2017
    Lloyd Billingsley

    “Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today,” sang Chuck Berry way back in 1959. Why was this man feeling so good that day? Simple, because “We touched ground on an international runway, jet propelled back home, from over the seas to the USA.”

    Berry, who died in March at 90, had been abroad and witnessed conditions in other parts of the world. That left him singing “New York, Los Angeles, oh, how I yearned for you” along with “Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge” and his “home back in ol’ St. Lou.”

    Chuck Berry missed the skyscrapers and the long freeways. And in the USA “hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day.” And in those cafés the juke box is “jumping with records like in the USA.” And as Chuck Berry sang “I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the USA,” because “anything you want they got right here in the USA.”

    So unlike baleful white leftists such as Pete Seeger, the strumming Stalinist, the African American Chuck Berry celebrated his country and had a good time doing it. He wasn’t one to divide or limit his audience.

    In 1955, he thought of calling Johnny B. Goode a “colored boy,” but then changed it to “country boy” and the record became a smash hit, a rock classic for all time. Berry avoided protest and politics in his music, and it paid off for him. There were, of course, country and city boys of all shades who could play guitar just like a ringin’ a bell and duly saw their name in lights: B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Benson, Barney Kessel, Jimi Hendrix, and many others.

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268866/glad-be-living-usa-lloyd-billingsley

  6. Israel Gets Blamed for Suicide Bomber’s Lost Hand
    December 29, 2017
    Daniel Greenfield

    Maybe I’m old fashioned. But I think people should take responsibility for their own actions.

    If you leave your windows open and there’s snow all over your seat, you should take responsibility. If you toss your keys in a dumpster, it’s your fault. And if you try a car bombing and it costs you a hand, it’s not the fault of your victims.

    But Muslim terrorists don’t seem very responsible. Here’s the story from Aussie Dave at Isreallycool.

    A palestinian woman tries to detonate a car bomb at a checkpoint. Ends up only causing a fire in her car, resulting in her sustaining serious burns on her face, hands, back and chest, and resulting in her hand being amputated.

    And in typical palestinian style, they have found a way to blame her hand amputation on Israel.

    Here’s the PIC spin.

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/268871/israel-gets-blamed-suicide-bombers-lost-hand-daniel-greenfield

  7. Global Warming Freezes Sharks, Cracks Windows in Big Freeze
    December 29, 2017
    Daniel Greenfield

    A few days ago, I walked out into a Chicago winter with a wind chill cold enough to freeze Rahm Emanuel’s heart. Right now the snow keeps piling up outside. The RealFeel temperature is allegedly 11 below.

    So it’s time to argue Global Warming.

    Of course the Warmunists had long ago shifted over to Climate Change. That’s convenient because the climate is always changing. And so it makes a perfect first cause and circular argument. Whatever the weather is, hot, cold or mild, Climate Change caused it. If you use plastic bags, you’re destroying the planet. If you have the heat on, you’re dooming Al Gore’s mansion.

    Climate Change is typical pseudoscience because it can never be disproven. There’s no amount of research or evidence that could convince its believers that it’s wrong. The same leftists who yell, “Why do you hate science”, have an emotional ideological attachment to the idea.

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/268872/global-warming-freezes-sharks-cracks-windows-big-daniel-greenfield

  8. Huma Abedin’s Cousin Locked Up as “Flight Risk”
    December 29, 2017

    Does the family that steals together stays together? In the case of this clan, they may have been stealing separately, but there is an interesting Clinton connection to one of Bill’s most infamous scandals.

    A cousin of Huma Abedin who did a half-billion dollar deal with a man known as the “Russian Donald Trump” was convicted of fraud Tuesday, and the judge ordered him jailed immediately, saying he had demonstrated a “disdain for the courts and legal process” and was a flight risk.

    Court documents also depict him trying to destroy potential evidence, saying he emailed his brother to “delete all of my emails from the yahoo site,” expressing “concern about them subp[o]ening yahoo at some point,” while concocting other fake documents to show the jury.

    Now deleting emails is definitely a family tradition.

    Jurors were barred from hearing a recording of a phone call in which Omar Amanat dropped the name of Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s right-hand woman, to a government witness, with defense lawyers saying the remark was “irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial,” according to the Associated Press.

    Did we get to the point where mentioning Hillary Clinton is prejudicial to a criminal? I know her ratings are bad. I didn’t realize they were this bad.

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/268869/huma-abedins-cousin-locked-flight-risk-daniel-greenfield

  9. Ricahard: Even for the left this one is screwy, we are fat because we have too many food choices so the government has to take some of those choices away from us.

    Lefty Mag: Poor People Fat Because of Too Much Food
    December 29, 2017
    Daniel Greenfield

    The creepy lefty lexicon of Orwellian political phrases now has a new one. Food swamp. That’s what happens when people have too many food choices and too much food.

    Here’s The Atlantic warning us about “food swamps

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/268873/lefty-mag-poor-people-fat-because-too-much-food-daniel-greenfield

  10. When and Why the West Began to ‘Demonize’ Muhammad
    Did Christendom really trigger the conflict?
    December 29, 2017
    Raymond Ibrahim

    To understand any phenomenon, its roots must first be understood. Unfortunately, not only do all discussions on the conflict between Islam and the West tend to be limited to the modern era, but when the past, the origins, are alluded to, the antithesis of reality is proffered: we hear that the West—itself an anachronism for Europe, or better yet, Christendom—began the conflict by intentionally demonizing otherwise peaceful and tolerant Muslims and their prophet in order to justify their “colonial” aspirations in the East, which supposedly began with the Crusades.

    Bestselling author on Islam and Christianity Karen Armstrong summarizes the standard view:

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268850/when-and-why-west-began-demonize-muhammad-raymond-ibrahim

  11. Migrant Quota Question Could Cause Schism Between EU and Poland, Hungary (sputniknews, Dec 30, 2017)
    https://sputniknews.com/europe/201712301060422109-poland-hungary-eu-relations-degrade/

    “The European Union’s deteriorating relationship with Hungary and Poland, two member states that have increasingly expressed independent streaks as their national politics move to the right, has sent tensions spiraling upwards between Brussels, Warsaw and Budapest.

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is currently deliberating on an EU allegation that Hungary and Poland violated the legality of a migrant quota. “We are confident that the ECJ will confirm validation, then they [Poland and Hungary] must abide by the decision,” an EU source told Reuters.

    “If they don’t, then they will face consequences, both financial and political. No more opt-outs, there is no more ‘one foot in and one foot out.’ We are going to be very tough on this.”

    The EU has frequently criticized both nations for their weak responses to the ongoing refugee crisis that has seen around 2 million refugees — mostly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan — enter Europe since 2014. The two nations, along with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, are members the “Visegrad 4,” all of whom refused to support a quota system of refugee resettlement in 2015.

    Hungary and Poland were two of the largest countries to join the EU in their significant 2004 expansion by 10 countries, most of them former Eastern Bloc states. The expansion was seen as a sign of the rising stock of the EU as well as a major victory for West-leaning groups in Poland, who had been pushing for membership in the EU and NATO since 1989.

    But much has changed since 2004. Since 2010, Hungarian national politics have been dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his conservative, populist and nationalist Fidesz party. While Orban has received significant criticism abroad for his alleged anti-democratic reforms, he is quite popular in his own country, with Fidesz holding 114 of the 199 seats in the Hungarian National Assembly.

    The European Commission has previously accused Orban of conducting an “assault on political freedoms” before the ECJ.

    Poland has also come to be dominated by a right-wing party, the nationalist, populist and Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party. Like Fidesz, the Law and Justice Party controls both houses of the Polish legislature as well as the presidency through Andrzej Duda, who won his office in 2015.

    Law and Justice has clashed multiple times with Poland’s national judiciary, the Constitutional Tribune. On December 22, Duda signed a bill reducing the retirement age for judges, which will create openings in as many as 40 percent of judicial seats — allowing Law and Justice to fill those seats with sympathetic conservative judges.

    In response, the EU triggered Article 7 for the first time ever. The article is the process by which the EU identifies whether or not its member states are playing by the rules they agreed to when they joined the EU. First, an investigation of the alleged breach will be conducted, then the nation’s government must answer to the European Council to defend their actions, then finally the EC votes on whether or not to suspend the rights of the offending country.

    While it seems unlikely that Poland will lose any rights since that requires a unanimous vote of condemnation from all member states, the issue may further drive a wedge between veteran EU states in Western and Northern Europe and their newer Eastern European counterparts.

    Poland and Hungary are two of the largest net recipients of EU funds, with Poland receiving over $13.5 billion more in EU funds than they paid in 2014. Net contributor states like Germany (who paid $9 billion more than they received that same year) have increasingly pushed for a change in EU policy to match contributed funds to reciprocated funds.”

  12. Debunking Lies About Immigration and “Family Reunification”
    Time to put the interests of American families first.
    December 29, 2017
    Michael Cutler

    It has taken decades of concerted efforts by the immigration anarchists to get America to the dangerous point where it is today.

    Currently America has a population of unknown millions of illegal aliens who entered the United States covertly and without vetting by running our borders. Their presence in the United States and their very identities are unknown and unknowable.

    We also have millions of illegal aliens who violated the terms of their lawful admissions into the United States and have gone “missing in America.”

    Incredibly so-called “Sanctuary Cities” and “Sanctuary States” harbor and shield these illegal aliens from detection by the Department of Homeland Security and its component immigration law enforcement agencies, even as mayors of those cities demand to be given federal funds to combat crime and protect their residents against international terrorists they may be harboring.

    Securing our nation’s borders and enforcing our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States has nothing to do with racism, bigotry or xenophobia, the lie most often spewed by immigration anarchists, but has everything to do with national security, public safety and public health.

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268867/debunking-lies-about-immigration-and-family-michael-cutler

  13. Threats of 2017 – Mideast, Terror, Weapons – Will Linger in the New Year

    by John R. Bolton
    December 29, 2017 at 4:00 am

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/11626/mideast-terror-weapons-threats
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    Domestically and internationally, President Trump finished 2017 in dramatic fashion. Obtaining the most sweeping tax cuts in 30-plus years (and repealing ObamaCare’s most philosophically oppressive aspect, the individual mandate) was a landmark achievement. And, by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, then suggesting major changes in U.S. funding of the United Nations, he disrupted foreign-policy conventional wisdom on both the Middle East and “global governance.”

    The administration’s national security strategy, published this month, centered its foreign policy in the conservative mainstream, but there is little time for complacency. On Inauguration Day, the president inherited acute dangers and longer-range strategic challenges, ignored or mishandled for years. While Trump has emphasized his intention to reverse course, the national security agencies have a mixed record in actually following his lead. Events in 2018 could well determine whether America resumes control of its international fate, or whether it continues to be buffeted by threats it could overcome but chooses not to.

    In this article today, we review the administration’s 2017 record and 2018 prospects in three critical near-term areas: Middle East turmoil, international terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Tomorrow, we consider the longer-term risks posed by China and Russia, and the overarching issue of U.S. sovereignty.

  14. AP Slams Hungary, Poland; Defends George Soros and His ‘Open Societies’ (breitbart, Dec 29, 2017)
    http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/12/29/ap-slams-hungary-poland-defends-george-soros-open-societies/

    “The globalist Associated Press (AP) has attacked populist governments in Hungary and Poland, likening them to Erdo?an’s Turkey and accusing them of shutting down free speech.

    “These are trying and dangerous times for the media in countries that until recently had begun embracing democratic norms of free expression,” AP ominously reports, in reference to central European nations that have begun reasserting their sovereignty and standing up to the European Union (EU). “News organizations are under attack in dramatic ways, as elected governments turn public outlets into their mouthpieces and try to silence critical voices.”

    The AP further accuses the Hungarian and Polish governments of “undermining free expression,” following the example of U.S. President Donald Trump, who “condemns unfavorable coverage as ‘fake news’ and brands journalists ‘enemies of the people.’”

    The threat in the U.S. “is not that First Amendment press protections will be directly overturned, but that the administration’s continued attacks could sow so much distrust that attempts to undermine the media will become accepted,” the AP writes, citing Lata Nott, executive director of the First Amendment Center at the Newseum Institute in Washington.

    With its opinionated, partisan reporting, however, the AP fuels the very distrust of mainstream media that they complain of.

    In a bizarre and tendentious juxtaposition, AP compares Poland and Hungary to the Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, despite the fact that they differ in nearly every respect—historically, culturally, religiously and politically. Even the Economist Intelligence Unit, in its Democracy Index, places Poland and Hungary alongside the United States as “flawed democracies,” while ranking Turkey a dismal 5 on its 10-point scale as a “hybrid regime” somewhere between democracy and a fully authoritarian regime.

    What seems to bother AP most about Hungary is its forceful opposition to the creeping bureaucratic overreach of the European Union, which has tried to impose its will on Hungary through limitless immigration quotas opposed by the Hungarian people. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has repeatedly asserted Hungarian sovereignty, insisting that the will of the people must prevail over unelected EU officials in Brussels.

    In its unabashed push for a globalist agenda, the AP seems to think that the will of the unwashed must be made to conform to that of the enlightened elite establishment.

    The AP further alleges that Hungary’s leftist newspaper, Népszabadság, closed last year “under political pressure” from the Orbán government, even though in point of fact the paper’s circulation had fallen precipitously from 460,000 in 1989 to a mere 37,000 in 2016 and had suffered severe financial losses in recent years. Heinrich Pecina, the owner of Népszabadság’s parent company, Mediaworks Hungary Zrt, said that he had attempted to sell the newspaper to the Hungarian Socialist Party, which refused the offer.

    There have been “apparent attempts” to intimidate reporters working for international outlets who have reported on a state-sponsored campaign against George Soros, the AP suggests, without citing any evidence to this effect.

    The AP describes Soros benevolently as a “Hungarian-American investor,” a “philanthropist” and a “Holocaust survivor,” while failing to mention the billionaire’s history of destabilizing governments for personal financial gain, funding left-wing campaigns and being convicted of insider trading.

    Soros, the AP alleges, “has long promoted what he calls an ‘open society’ and supports controlled migration. He funds a university in Budapest and civic organizations, including some seen as critical of Orban.”

    The AP criticizes the Orbán government’s opposition to Soros along with their investigation into his attempts to bring his tremendous financial influence to bear on Hungary’s political situation.

    As for Poland, AP claims that its “right-wing populist government,” which has been in power for two years, “has been repeatedly condemned by the European Union and others for eroding judicial independence.” The Poles, like Hungary, have also resisted EU attempts to impose arbitrary immigration quotas.

    For many in central Europe, of course, being “condemned” by the European Union is seen as a badge of honor.

    Moreover, among Poles, the government is enjoying enormous popularity, according to pollster Kantar Public, with the job approval rating of both Prime Minister Beata Szyd?o and that of her government the best since Poland’s conservatives were elected in November 2015. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, meanwhile, enjoys an enviable job approval rating of 54 percent.

    People of good will should defend the right of the Associated Press to express its views, but no one should be naïve enough to think it is not pursuing a very clear political and social agenda. For all the squawking about “impartiality” and “freedom from bias,” the veil has now been ripped off.”

  15. New study shows AfD Facebook posts spur anti-refugee attacks (DW, Dec 29, 2017)
    http://www.dw.com/en/new-study-shows-afd-facebook-posts-spur-anti-refugee-attacks/a-41972992

    “A new study has found a direct link between social media hate and subsequent violent attacks on immigrant groups in both Germany and the US. Donald Trump’s tweets also triggered an uptick in anti-immigrant crime.

    A new academic study has found a direct correlation between social media posts by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and hate crime in Germany — to the extent that localized internet outages actually resulted in a reduction in hate crimes in some areas.

    Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz of the University of Warwick in the UK collected data from the AfD’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to “show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment … predicts violent crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage.”

    Not only that, the study, entitled “Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime,” found that “the effect is strongly reduced for municipalities experiencing internet outages in a given week.” The academics also found evidence that Donald Trump’s tweets predicted hate crimes against specific minorities he mentioned — an effect that has been heightened since Trump became US president.

    The power of Facebook

    Graphs in the paper show almost exact correlations between the peaks and troughs in the number of anti-refugee posts on social media and the number of attacks against refugees between late 2015 and early 2017 — the period of Germany’s latest major refugee influx. Police statistics show an overall fall in crimes against refugees in 2017, though 264 refugee shelters were attacked this year.

    The same holds true for Trump’s tweets — the report measured social media sentiment by the number of the president’s tweets per week, and matched it with FBI hate crime data. “We find that Trump tweets are a strong time-series predictor of such crimes,” the researchers wrote. “Crucially, the effect exclusively works through incidents aimed at the groups targeted by Trump’s tweets; anti-Hispanic tweets, for example, have no effect on hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, African Americans, or Whites.”

    Müller said that the researchers were currently working on finding examples of posts that could be related to specific attacks on refugees or refugee shelters. As a source, the study used data collected by the refugee organization Pro Asyl, which classified different types of crimes against refugees and asylum seekers. “What we saw was that the effect that was most pronounced was violent attacks,” said Müller. “When it was other types of attacks — say a group of people standing outside a refugee home saying provocative things — with those things, we did not find the effect of social media.”

    The AfD has the largest Facebook reach of any of Germany’s political parties, with close to 400,000 likes on its page. By comparison, Germany’s two largest political parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), have around 170,000 and 180,000 Facebook likes respectively.

    But in contrast to those parties, the study shows the AfD pursues a more open Facebook strategy — chiefly by allowing users to post directly onto its page. Not only that, the AfD is the only German political party that does not set rules of conduct, for instance, by threatening to delete racist material. As a result, the AfD’s Facebook page garners much more interaction than that of other parties.

    That was one of the reasons why the study concentrates on the AfD Facebook page, said Müller. “If you look at their page, you just see a massive amount of reaction to anything they post,” he said.

    Regulating hatred

    As the researchers noted, social media, unlike news outlets, remains largely unregulated. This summer, however, the German parliament passed new legislation aimed at clamping down on online hate speech — by threatening social media companies with fines of up to €50 million ($60 million) if they don’t remove posts that violate German hate speech laws. Facebook has also promised to do more against hate speech on its platform.

    Nevertheless, Müller was ambivalent about whether such laws could ultimately be effective. “I think there’s a strong trade-off — if you follow our study, then you’d say such laws could have an effect, but the question is: at what cost?” he said. “Obviously going down this censorship path is a difficult one, because it’s not clear exactly what qualifies as hate speech and what doesn’t — it’s not like they’re all directly saying: we have to kill all the refugees.””

  16. Becoming Swiss will be harder from January (thelocal, Dec 29, 2017)
    https://www.thelocal.ch/20171229/becoming-swiss-will-be-harder-from-january

    “Those wishing to take out citizenship in Switzerland will face tougher requirements from January 2018.

    The new federal law on nationality is among a number of legal revisions to come into effect with the new year.

    In future only those immigrants who have a C residence permit will be eligible to apply.

    Stricter language requirements will also come into effect: candidates will have to demonstrate their ability in a Swiss national language in a written test.

    Until now there has been no consistency in language testing, with many cantons in the French-language region making a judgment based on the candidate’s oral skills.

    “Candidates’ linguistic abilities were evaluated at an interview with the commune or cantonal naturalization committee,” said Christophe Maillard, head of the canton of Fribourg naturalization service in comments quoted by Le Matin.

    The new law formalizes the language requirement, with candidates having to demonstrate A2 level writing ability and B1 spoken skills under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

    The cantons can raise the barrier even higher if they wish. The Thurgau cantonal government decided in November that its applicants for citizenship must have B2 level speaking ability.

    The language tests will take place in accredited language schools, Le Matin said, and cost the applicant a maximum of 250 francs.

    Candidates whose mother tongue is a Swiss national language or who have studied for at least five years in one of these languages will not be required to undergo the test.

    Another change affects social welfare. Until now applicants in receipt of welfare benefits were excluded from applying for citizenship.

    From January this will be extended to include those in receipt of social welfare in the three years prior to their application.

    An exception is made if the benefits are paid back in full.

    In one important respect the application process is being eased, with candidates only having to have been resident in Switzerland for 10 years instead of the current 12.”

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