Reader’s Links for December 8, 2018

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Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

86 Replies to “Reader’s Links for December 8, 2018”

  1. When will we wake up to the possibility that ALL Red Chinese technology is contaminated, bugged, booby-trapped, time-triggered, stolen or designed to at least fail when round eye needs it direly. Even if we have proof, we don’t need it.

    Does Israel need proof to imagine an enemy may be drilling tunnels through solid rock on their northern border? No. Because if you can imagine it, it is enough to act on.

    Our enemy’s failing should always be that they underestimated us.

    • When will we wake up to the possibility that ALL Red Chinese technology is contaminated, bugged, booby-trapped, time-triggered, stolen or designed to at least fail when round eye needs it direly.

      One can only hope that this question will be asked more frequently asked as tensions continue to grow between Communist China and the USA.

      They say a buckling pipe was the root cause, but I continue to believe that BP, of Deepwater Horizon infamy, still sorely regrets having any of the Macondo rig’s equipment—much less something so critical as its blowout preventer that operates at a depth of ~5,000 ft (1,500 m)—serviced or rebuilt by the Chicoms.

      Whatever puny sum they saved by using coolie labor is dwarfed by the +$20 billion payout in penalties and fines that devolved from prosecution for the unlawful deaths and massive environmental damage.

      As you tersely observed, Johnnyu, “Even if we have proof, we don’t need it.”. Given how Beijing’s consistent (mis)behavioral pattern of active anti-Westernism is so well-established, it is difficult not to imagine at least one of the following scenarios:

      1) Chicom maintenance personnel were unable to properly interpret written instructions contained in a, more than likely, untranslated service manual.

      2) The actual mechanical repair or rebuild procedure was performed in a typically slipshod and penny-pinching manner.

      3) Flaws were intentionally built in to knowingly promote a downstream failure that might easily cost the Gweilo a few gazillion dollars and cause a short term disruption of US oil production or exploration.

      “All of the above”, is an acceptable answer.

  2. I saw an old friend on the street
    And tried to cross so we could meet
    So many years so long ago
    We knew eachother fairly well
    But now the traffic streaming by
    A solid ribbon of divide
    Zooming zooming zooming through
    The friendship we two old friends knew.
    I shouted, “John!” above the noise
    He stopped and turned to hear the call
    Above this fray this great divide
    That splits us now on every side
    Cars of chaos stranding all
    Red cars, green cars speeding by
    “John, it’s me your old friend Mo!”
    He turned head on and looked at me
    Shocked was I by eyes so sunk
    Like deep dark wells that knew no joy
    And shocked was I by cheeks so sunk
    That fed on nothing but the junk
    Of liars pablum fed by spoon
    “John!” I called out one more time
    And noticed then the ugly line
    Across his scalp across the front
    A scalpel cut I had no doubt.
    And then he turned and walked away
    And redgreen cars unbroken passed
    As i recalled so many folks
    Stranded close but far away
    I see them now most every day
    The eyes the cheeks the family friends
    The forehead line so sadly too
    While redgreen cars just pass on through.

    • I recall seeing some poobah on the BBC warn of dire consequences for food and beverage if the vote to Brexit was passed.
      Same story, different chapter.
      Keep in mind, there are business people, farmers, fishermen on the other side of the equation that very much want to continue to sell their goods. It will be both sides pushing against the bureaucrats, not just the UK with not enough to eat.
      What do you think the German car manufacturers are going to do? “Tough luck for us… I guess we can’t sell our cars in London anymore!”
      I doubt it.

  3. ‘Your time is up’ South Africa sets date for white farmer land grabs – March 2019

    A SOUTH Africa has set a date for when its much-criticised land expropriations can begin after a politician declared: “Your time is up, white people”.

    The country’s National Assembly approved a proposal to change the constitution to make the so-called reforms legal in a vote of 183 to 77.

    This paves the way for land to be taken from farmers without giving any kind of compensation.

    And now lawmakers have agreed to set up a committee that will write and introduce a new bill for land expropriations.

  4. Revealed: the hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson

    Guardian investigation shows how cash, legal support and millions of tweets underpin anti-Islam activist – but Facebook removes his ‘donate’ button

    Josh Halliday, Lois Beckett in San Francisco and Caelainn Barr

    Fri 7 Dec 2018 11.00 EST
    Last modified on Sat 8 Dec 2018 08.20 EST

    Tommy Robinson
    Tommy Robinson says he has raised several hundred thousand pounds via online donations. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

    The British far-right activist Tommy Robinson is receiving financial, political and moral support from a broad array of non-British groups and individuals, including US thinktanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls, a Guardian investigation has discovered.

    Robinson, an anti-Islam campaigner who is leading a “Brexit betrayal” march in London on Sunday, has received funding from a US tech billionaire and a thinktank based in Philadelphia.

    Two other US thinktanks, part-funded by some of the biggest names in rightwing funding, have published a succession of articles in support of Robinson, who has become a cause célèbre among the American far right since he was jailed in May for two months.

  5. Met police fear violent clashes over march by far-right ‘Brexit Betrayal’ militants

    Hundreds of police officers will line the streets of central London on Sunday to keep far right activists and anti-racist protestors apart, after Scotland Yard imposed strict conditions on their right to march through the city.

    Metropolitan Police commanders fear violent clashes if supporters of Tommy Robinson and Ukip, who are gathering for a ‘Brexit Betrayal’ march, come into conflict with counter-protestors.

    Anti-fascist groups, religious leaders and trade unions have urged thousands to gather to oppose the Brexit Betrayal march, which they say will be used as a cover for racist and Islamophobic thugs to intimidate ethnic minority Londoners.

    Scotland Yard announced on Saturday it would keep the two rival sides apart by issuing two separate routes for them to follow though the West End.

    The conditions have been imposed under Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986.

    The Brexit Betrayal demonstration has been scheduled ahead of the parliamentary vote on Tuesday, in which the House of Commons will decide whether or not to accept Theresa May’s deal on leaving the EU.

    Robinson’s supporters will be kept to a route running from Park Lane to Victoria Street, before assembling in Parliament Street.

  6. Richard: Once again David Hogg shows his ignorance and the shortcomings of the modern educational system.

    Media darling David Hogg will soon be a year older than he was when a long gunman went on a shooting rampage at the high school he attended. Sadly, he’s not a lick wiser than he was back then.

    This is lamentable not only for the 18-year-old Hogg — who continues to make an ass of himself publicly — but for the Left in general, which despite his vapidity has accepted him as a de factor spokesman for all things liberals, and especially gun control.

    His latest brainstorm has been to call for a federal tax on firearms and ammunition.

  7. Hezbollah tunnel-terrorist in Lebanon, viral video star, reportedly trained with cartels in Mexico
    By J.E. Dyer December 7, 2018

    A video went viral this week of a Hezbollah operative entering a tunnel at the border of Lebanon with Israel during Israel’s Operation Northern Shield. Northern Shield is an effort to destroy the tunnel network being created by Hezbollah and Iran to infiltrate and attack Israel from Lebanon.

    In the video, the Hezbollah terrorist clambers confidently toward a camera placed in the tunnel until he sees something, peers at it closely, and realizes what it is. He whirls around and takes off as fast as he can go.

    The little drama in the 37-second video has come in for some mirth on the Web.

    • Hezbollah tunnel-terrorist in Lebanon, viral video star, reportedly trained with cartels in Mexico

      Mossad has a cure for that, and their operative speaks flawless Mexican Spanish.

    • From the link:

      But we’ve actually known for some years that Hezbollah is not only in Mexico, and not only working with the cartels, but is training in tunneling with the cartels.

      Does anyone else sense a North Vietnamese finger in this troglodyte pie?

      The (thankfully) late North Vietnamese General, Vo Nguyen Giap, was the one who mentored Arafat in victimology (~ early 1970s). Given Cu Chi and its rabbit warren of Viet Cong burrows, there’s almost no way to believe that, during his visit there, Yasser did not receive some sort of exposure to the subject.

      From a comment at the link:

      repeal or amend Exec. Order 12036

      It’s long overdue for America to resume targeted assassinations. Most US politicians are probably horrified at such a prospect. After all, they suddenly would have bullseyes on their own backs. These scum barely hesitate to send the flower of this nation’s youth overseas to lose their lives or have limbs blown off but perish the thought that they should be obliged to take any risks themselves.

  8. Palestinian-American Dem Representative ‘Truly Believes’ Trump is Racist (sputniknews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Rashida Tlaib will be the first Palestinian-American and “proud Muslim” to join the US Congress. She publicly supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, aimed at protecting Palestinian rights by pressuring Israel.

    “Look, I truly believe he is racist — and that’s probably controversial — he is,” the newly-elected Democratic representative for Michigan’s 14th congressional district told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons during a “Rising” interview. “It’s in his policies, it’s in his words, and the fact of the matter is that he’s still our president… but it doesn’t matter, I’m going to hold him accountable,” she added….”

    • “Look, I truly believe he is racist — and that’s probably controversial — he is,” the newly-elected Democratic representative for Michigan’s 14th congressional district told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons during a “Rising” interview.

      As if Muslims aren’t right up there with the Chinese and Hindus for lack of intermarriage, a solid racism indicator.

      Rashida Tlaib need to shut her whinging kebab-hole and piss off.

  9. Budapest Blames Brussels for Censorship After Detention of Anti-Migration Van (sputniknews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “The developments come after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban made it clear in mid-September that Budapest would not change its policy regarding illegal migration and would stand up to the European Union if needed.

    Zoltan Kovacs, Hungary’s Secretary of State for International Communications and Relations, has accused Belgian authorities of censorship with respect to opinions regarding migration-related issues.

    In a video posted on his Facebook page, Kovacs explained that the Hungarian government had earlier arranged for a van to be driven through Brussels with a billboard promoting the idea that migration is connected with terrorist attacks.

    According to Kovacs, the truck was stopped by police on December 5 and the driver was arrested.

    He underscored Budapest’s right to express its opinion, arguing that the action was legal, which is why he said Brussels’ meddling was unacceptable.

    The billboard featured pictures of two deadly 2016 terrorist attacks in Europe: at Brussels’ Zaventem airport and in the French city of Nice.

    Additionally, the billboard featured a picture of Belgian Member of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt, who has repeatedly criticized the migration-related policy of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

    “Hundreds have died in terrorist attacks since 2015 but Guy Verhfstadt says: ‘We don’t have a migration crisis’. This is insane!” the message on the billboard read.

    The developments came after Verhofstadt last month hired an advertising billboard van to drive around Brussels, in a move aimed at slamming Orban’s policy. The billboard read: “First he [Orban] took our money, now he wants to destroy Europe.”

    Hungary has long been critical of the EU’s open-door policy, which is commonly alleged to have kicked off the continent’s migration crisis. Budapest also opposes the EU’s mandatory migrant relocation quotas.

    Budapest’s stance prompted the European Commission to launch its first infringement procedure against Hungary over its asylum legislation in December 2015. Hungary had set up fences and enhanced border control along its border with neighbouring Serbia.”

  10. World War 3 FEARS: Iran threatens Trump with ‘BOMBS AND TERRORISM’ over sanctions (express, Dec 8, 2018)

    “IRAN’s firebrand president has warned the West will be flooded with “a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism” due to Donald Trump’s sanctions against Tehran.

    Hassan Rouhani slammed the US for what he called “unjust and illegal” sanctions which he said were an example of “economic terrorism”, in a fiery speech carried live on state television. It comes a month after President Trump reimposed an embargo on Iran’s vital oil industry as well as shipping and banks after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear agreement in May, calling it the “worst deal ever”. Rouhani said: “I warn those who impose sanctions that if Iran’s ability to fight drugs and terrorism are affected … you will not be safe from a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism.”

    Drug trafficking is a serious challenge for Iran as it borders Afghanistan – the world’s largest opium producer – and Pakistan, a major transit country for drugs.

    In 2012, Iran accounted for two thirds of the world’s opium seizures and one fourth of the world’s heroin and morphine seizures, a UN report published in 2014 showed.

    Rouhani told a meeting of heads of parliaments of China, Russia, and four other countries today: “Economic terrorism means creating horror in a country and create fear in other countries that intend to invest (there).

    “America’s withdrawal from the (nuclear accord) is undoubtedly a clear example of economic terrorism.”

    During his presidential run, Mr Trump vowed to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)and delivered on his promise 16 months into his term.

    European leaders expressed their disappointment over the withdrawal from the multilateral deal which stops Iran from getting a nuclear weapon for a least a decade.

    In 2015 after the accord was reached by the US, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany and the European Union, it was hailed as a “win-win solution”.

    The countries agreed to lift sanctions on Tehran in return for its cooperation which includes allowing international inspectors in to visit key nuclear facilities…”

  11. The New Science: Left-Wing Academics Hound Cambridge Scholar for ‘Wrongthink’ (breitbart, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Three hundred left-wing academics from around the world are conspiring to destroy the career of a promising young Cambridge University researcher, Noah Carl.
    Dr Carl’s crimes? Being an out conservative; standing up for the right of academic researchers to speak fearlessly and frankly on politically fraught intellectual issues.

    “We are deeply concerned that racist pseudoscience is being legitimised through association with the University of Cambridge,” claim the academics in an open letter, calculatingly phrased to misrepresent Carl as some kind of dangerous right-wing extremist.

    The letter, clickbaitingly titled ‘No Place for Racist Pseudoscience at Cambridge’, claims that Carl’s work is “ethically suspect” and “methodologically flawed”. It demands an investigation into Carl’s research fellowship at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, presumably with a view to having it withdrawn.

    What the letter’s authors have signally failed to do is provide any evidence for these damaging claims.

    Toby Young, himself the victim of a similar orchestrated online hate mob campaign, notes in the Spectator.

    What’s odd about the letter is that it makes these career-ruining allegations without offering a scintilla of evidence to support them. No specific papers of Dr Carl’s are cited and there isn’t a single quote from anything he’s written. The words ‘race’, ‘criminality’ and ‘genetic intelligence’ are quoted, but these are scare quotes not actual quotes taken from Dr Carl’s work. I’ve looked at his published academic research and cannot find a single instance of him using the phrase ‘genetic intelligence’, which isn’t surprising since no serious scholar writing about group or individual difference in IQ would use such a phrase.

    According to Quillette, Carl, 28, is a respectable academic with an impressive track record for one so young.

    Drawing on disparate fields of research in psychology, psychometrics and sociology, Dr Carl’s papers have been peer reviewed and published in journals such as Intelligence, Personality & Individual Differences, The American Sociologist, Comparative Sociology, European Union Politics, and The British Journal of Sociology. His papers have been cited 235 times since 2013.

    Much of Dr Carl’s research focuses on how intelligence and other psychological characteristics affect beliefs and attitudes. Papers include: Leave and Remain voters’ knowledge of the EU after the referendum of 2016, Cognitive Ability and Political Beliefs in the United States, and his most cited paper, published in Intelligence in 2014, Verbal Intelligence is correlated with socially and economically liberal beliefs.

    None of this stuff is remotely controversial. For the real reason behind the left-wing witch hunt, you have to look elsewhere.

    Dr Carl’s crime is that he has defended intelligence researchers who’ve written about the taboo topics of race, genes and IQ and argued that stifling debate in these areas is likely to cause more harm than allowing them to be freely discussed by academics. It appears to be this, and the fact that he spoke at the London Conference of Intelligence in 2017 alongside some of these researchers (although he did not himself speak about race, genes or IQ at that conference), that is the basis for the accusation, made in the letter, that he is guilty of “pseudoscientific racism.”

    One of the signatories is Professor David Graeber, the anthropologist and left-wing political activist, who described Dr Carl on Twitter as a “very creepy ‘race scientist’.” When asked to justify this accusation of racism and clarify what aspects of Dr Carl’s research he found “methodologically flawed,” he replied: “that’s easy. The concepts “race” “genetic intelligence” and “criminality” are all concepts with at best questionable scientific validity, so any study that assumes all 3 as unproblematic is so wildly methodologically flawed that one can only assume a racist motive in the author.”

    Young offers some further examples:

    One of the signatories is Prof David Roediger, a professor of American Studies at the University of Kansas and the author of The Wages of Whiteness. It is described as follows by its left-wing academic publisher: ‘Combining classical Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the new labor history pioneered by E. P. Thompson and Herbert Gutman, David Roediger’s widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States.’

    Just to be absolutely clear here, Carl is being hunted by the outrage mob not for anything he has personally written about race, genes and IQ, but merely for defending the intellectual freedom of other academics to do so.

    The leftist outrage mob knows that this is a tactic that works. Charles Murray has been about as welcome as the Ancient Mariner at a wedding, even in many right wing circles, ever since he published his controversial 1994 investigation of race and IQ The Bell Curve.

    Even among the denizens of the supposedly fearless Intellectual Dark Web, the terror of being found guilty of wrongthink is so great that many of these mighty cerebral gladiators simply refuse to enter the arena. Bret Weinstein, for example, won’t debate Stefan Molyneux.

    Molyneux may, of course, be entirely wrong in his theories. But unless someone on his intellectual level is prepared to put them to the test in debate how are we ever going to know?

    Three decades ago, Allan Bloom warned of The Closing of the American Mind. His dread prognosis has unfortunately come true, not just in U.S. academe but across the Western world. No longer is the goal of higher education the free and frank exchange of ideas. Rather, it is increasingly about cabals of narrow-minded academics closing the field to anyone who doesn’t share their reductive, post-modernist, cultural Marxist views.

    Cambridge, for example, really used to be quite a good university. But seriously, credentialism apart, would any sensible parent want their child to study in such a limiting, intolerant, intellectually toxic environment?”

  12. Pro-EU Cambridge Professor: ‘Lower Voting Age to Six’ (breitbart, Dec 8, 2018)

    “The Head of Politics at the University of Cambridge has called for the voting age to be lowered to six in the wake of the EU referendum.

    Professor David Runciman proposed a dramatic expansion of the franchise on his Talking Politics podcast, claiming it would help to correct what he described as a “huge structural imbalance” in favour of older Britons in the voting system.

    “I would lower the voting age to six, not 16. And I’m serious about that,” he insisted, as most children are able to read by that age.

    “What’s the worst that could happen? At least it would be exciting, it would make elections more fun,” he added.

    “Old people” currently have “a huge inbuilt advantage in representative democratic politics,” according to Runciman.

    “Young people are massively outnumbered because the voting age is 18, whereas there isn’t a cutoff point at the other end. You don’t lose the vote when you get to be 75. You can carry on voting until the day you die and there is no test. You could be frankly demented and still get to vote,” he exclaimed.

    He dismissed more modest proposals to lower the voting age to 16, as was done for the referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom by the regional government’s ruling left-wing separatist party, as insufficiently radical.

    “If 16- or 17-year-olds voted in the 2017 general election, there is a chance that [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn would now be Prime Minister… If 16- or 17-year-olds voted in the Brexit referendum, it would have been closer, but it probably still wouldn’t have been enough to overturn the result,” he complained.

    “Talking about two years isn’t enough. There is such a huge structural imbalance that adding two years to a story that at the other end of the scale now extends to people in their 80s, 90s, 100s [isn’t enough].”

    Runicman’s comments on altering the Brexit vote may betray some of the reason for his interest in lowering the voting age.

    The professor told his university’s student newspaper he was a Remainer shortly before the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in 2016, declaring: “I am in favour of Remain, partly because I have spent most of my adult life attached to the ideal of a more united Europe and I’d be sorry to give up on that, and partly because I think the political risks of leaving outweigh those of staying.”

    He admitted, however, that these were “fairly fragile arguments – one quite wishful and one quite negative,” and that there were “serious arguments on the other side”.

    “People have good reason to be suspicious of the EU and some of the claims made on its behalf,” he conceded.”

  13. Malaysia Muslims rally to support upholding Malay privileges (abcnews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Tens of thousands of Malaysian Muslims rallied Saturday in Kuala Lumpur against any attempt to strip the ethnic Malay majority of its privileges, in the first massive street gathering since Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s alliance won a historic vote in May.

    The rally, backed by the country’s two largest opposition Malay parties, was initially aimed at protesting a government plan to ratify a U.N. treaty against racial discrimination. Critics allege that ratifying the treaty would end Malay privileges under a decades-old affirmative action policy. The plan to ratify was eventually abandoned, but organizers decided to proceed with what they called a “thanksgiving” rally.

    Mahathir said the government allowed the rally as part of democracy, but warned against any chaos. The rally was held under tight police security, but ended peacefully after rain started to fall.

    Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been charged with multiple counts of corruption, was among opposition lawmakers at the rally.

    Police said there were at least 55,000 people on the streets. Many wore white T-shirts and headbands with the words “Reject ICERD,” referring to the U.N. treaty — the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

    Rally-goers gathered at three locations before marching to a nearby historic square, chanting “Long live the Malays” and “Crush ICERD.”

    “Yes, we did not ratify ICERD, but we are still here to say that we are still against it,” said shopkeeper Rosli Ikhsan. “Even if the government has said they won’t endorse it, we are still protesting with all our might from all of Malaysia.”

    Mahathir’s new government won a stunning victory in a May 9 general election amid anger over a massive corruption scandal involving Najib and his government, but many Malays still support Najib’s party, the United Malays National Organization, and the Malaysian Islamic Party, which controls two of the country’s 13 states.

    Some analysts say Najib and his party were using the rally to shift attention away from corruption charges against Najib, his wife, his party’s president and former government officials.

    “For me, ICERD is bad,” university student Nurul Qamariah said at the rally. “It’s bad because it will erode the position of Malays. This is a country for Malays. We want Malays to be superiors, but why do these people want to make Malays the same level as Chinese and Indians?”

    Racial clashes have been rare in multiracial Malaysia since deadly race riots in 1969. A year later, Malaysia instituted a preferential program that gives Malays privileges in jobs, education, contracts and housing to help narrow a wealth gap with the minority Chinese. Ethnic Malays account for nearly two-thirds of the country’s 32 million people, with large Chinese and Indian minorities.

    Saturday’s rally came less than two weeks after more than 80 people were arrested in a riot at an Indian temple in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur. The government was quick to stress that the violence was due to a land dispute and was not a racial riot. Still, the government warned Saturday’s rally-goers not to make any provocative statements that could fan racial tensions.”

    • Malaysia: Thousands of Muslims protest against UN’s ICERD

      Thousands of Muslims held a rally in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, demanding protection of their rights against the backdrop of increasing racial tensions in the multi-ethnic country, reports suggest.

      What was reportedly meant to be a protest against the government’s intentions to ratify a UN convention against racial discrimination, turned out to be a peaceful rally organised by several Muslim groups calling for the protection of the position of Muslims in the country.

      The protesters marched in the Malaysian capital, wearing white outfit, praying, and chanting against UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

      The Muslim Malay majority of the country has been raising concerns about what they interpret as the new government being ‘more representative of minorities’, such as the sizeable ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

  14. Italy’s migrants fear new law deprives them of protections (abcnews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Thousands of migrants in Italy are anxiously waiting to see if they will lose their housing and benefits following approval of a government-backed law that aims to reduce the number of migrants granted humanitarian protections.

    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has denied speculation that he is “about to kick out pregnant women, children and elderly people on Christmas Eve” from state-run reception centers. Rather, he stressed last week, the new law eliminates the category of “humanitarian protection” for migrants in the future, not retroactively.

    But aid groups say eventually the law could affect as many as 20,000 people as their humanitarian permits expire. It was passed at the same time that Italy’s populist, anti-migrant government announced it wouldn’t attend the signing ceremony in Morocco next week of the U.N. Global Compact on migration.

    “This government felt that Italy is offering humanitarian protection to too many people, so it changed the rules on who will receive it,” Matteo Villa, an expert on migration with Italy’s Institute for the Study of International Politics, told The Associated Press this week.

    The law, dubbed the “Salvini Decree,” is the latest measure taken by Italy’s government to crack down on the more than 640,000 migrants who have arrived in Italy since 2014, most fleeing Libya aboard smugglers’ boats.

    Many have applied for refugee status. But others have obtained a lesser status granting them special humanitarian protections given the possible risks they might face if returned home. The two-year humanitarian permits enable migrants to live in state-run reception centers and access training and educational programs and find work.

    Ultimately, Salvini aims to repatriate those who don’t qualify. But sending migrants home is a costly and time-consuming process that requires negotiations with their home countries. According to Eurostat, Italy sent home only 7,045 “irregular” migrants in 2017.

    The new law, approved Nov. 28, does still allow for certain migrants to obtain “special” residency permits if they have serious health conditions, are victims of domestic violence, work exploitation or sex trafficking, and those who have escaped from a natural calamity in their home countries or those who have carried out heroic acts in Italy.

    But migrants are worried. Barry Tierno, a 19-year-old from Conakry, Guinea, is trying to convert his humanitarian visa into a different status before it expires next October. “I can’t stay here without papers,” he said.

    Emanuela Adeboga, a 21-year-old who arrived from Lagos, Nigeria, with her mother and two sisters in 2016, has similar fears. Her humanitarian permit expires at the end of the month. The family lives in a shared apartment with other humanitarian beneficiaries; the younger girls are in school and mother Elizabeth was given a sewing machine for her tailoring training course.

    “I have heard that those who don’t have a work contract for at least one year cannot have their visas renewed,” Emanuela Adeboga said. “Where should we go?”

    There have been sporadic cases of centers kicking people out already, fueling fears that as their residency permits expire, migrants will be out on the street.

    Filippo Miraglia, deputy president of ARCI, a prominent Italian non-profit working with migrants, said the law clearly has political aims: to increase the number of “illegal” migrants in Italy while reducing the number of integrated foreigners who can work legally and pay taxes.

    “Obviously the more illegal migrants we have on our territory, the more our minister of interior will be able to tell a distorted narrative about migration,” he said.

    Salvini says he merely wants only legitimate, deserving refugees and migrants to access public housing and benefits.

    In addition to removing humanitarian protection, the new law makes it more difficult to acquire Italian citizenship, increases the funds allocated for repatriation, and lengthens the list of crimes that will allow the revocation of protection status.”

  15. Police arrest 5 ‘terrorists’ planning attacks in Pakistan (abcnews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Pakistani counter-terrorism police say they have arrested five “terrorists” who were planning attacks on security agencies and seized explosive vests and weapons in the country’s east.

    Senior officer Rai Tahir says Saturday that a group of five men belonging to the banned militant organization Tehreek-e-Taliban had planned to attack intelligence agency offices in the city of Bahawalpur.

    Tahir said teams of counter-terrorism police raided the men’s hideout. He said suicide jackets, hand grenades, lethal weapons, ammunition and money to finance their operations were seized.

    Tahir said an initial investigation revealed that Tehreek-e-Taliban was coordinating with al-Qaeda for attacks on security agencies in Punjab province.

    Militants in Pakistan have carried out numerous attacks, mainly targeting security forces. Most in recent years have been linked to the Pakistani Taliban.”

  16. IS fights to hang on a year after defeat in Iraq (abcnews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “A year after it was routed from Iraq in a devastating war that left entire neighborhoods and towns in ruins, the Islamic State group is fighting to hang on to its last enclave in eastern Syria, engaging in deadly battles with U.S.-backed forces.

    Cornered in the desert near the Iraqi border with nowhere to run, the militants are putting up a fierce fight, inflicting hundreds of casualties among their opponents and releasing a stream of beheading videos reminiscent of the extremist group’s terrifying propaganda at the height of its power.

    The battle for Hajin has dragged on for three months, highlighting the difficulty of eradicating an extremist group determined to survive. In Iraq, there is rising concern that the group may stage a comeback. IS sleeper cells have recently launched deadly attacks against security forces and kidnapped and killed civilians, mostly in four northern and central provinces that were once part of the group’s self-declared caliphate.

    “There is still major danger for Iraq and Syria especially in areas close to the border when it comes to Daesh,” a senior Iraqi intelligence official said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the extremists. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media about security matters.

    He said IS lost most of the income it once made from oil and taxes imposed in areas it controlled. The group now relies on selling gold and other reserves that they had accumulated after declaring their caliphate in June 2014. He said the money is being used to buy weapons and finance attacks in Iraq and Syria.

    Another Iraqi intelligence official said IS has begun restructuring its command, relying more on non-Iraqi commanders after most of its leaders were killed in coalition strikes.

    The Islamic State group once held an area the size of Britain across vast territories straddling parts of Iraq and Syria, running a so-called caliphate and planning international attacks from its headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa. Tens of thousands were killed in both countries as an array of local forces, some backed by a U.S.-led coalition, eventually drove the extremists out of virtually all the lands they once held.

    Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over the group on Dec. 9, 2017. Two months earlier, the coalition, working with Kurdish-dominated fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, liberated Raqqa after a bombing campaign that decimated much of the city.

    The area that IS still holds in Syria represents less than 1 percent of the territory it controlled at its height. The pocket is home to some 15,000 people, including IS fighters and their families. The U.S. military estimates there are about 2,000 remaining IS fighters there.

    The SDF launched their offensive to retake Hajin on Sept. 10. It has been a grueling campaign, with sand storms and fog at times grounding coalition aircraft, allowing the militants to launch counteroffensives that have killed hundreds of SDF fighters. IS has also taken scores of prisoners and hundreds of civilians hostage.

    “It is very difficult because we are in the last stages, where almost every ISIS fighter is a suicide belt,” Brett McGurk, the White House envoy for the war against IS, said at a security conference held recently in the Gulf nation of Bahrain.

    The extremists, besieged near the border, have no place to go. They are surrounded from the east and north by SDF fighters while from the south and west, Syrian government forces and their allies have closed roads to the surrounding desert.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says since the fighting began nearly three months ago, 1,616 people have been killed, mostly fighters from both sides. It said the dead include 827 IS gunmen, 481 SDF fighters and 308 civilians.

    The fighting is now believed to be in its final stages, with SDF fighters said to have broken IS defenses and taken the fight inside the town.

    The fall of Hajin will end the group’s hold over any significant territory in Iraq or Syria, but sleeper cells in both countries will continue to stage attacks amid attempts to regroup. IS affiliates in Libya, Afghanistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula continue to stage regular attacks.

    The group’s savage legacy, meanwhile, will stay for years to come.

    Huge parts of Iraq and Syria are still in ruins, with little cash and — in Syria’s case — little international political will to rebuild.

    Emerging from the more than three years of war, Iraq estimates that $88.2 billion is needed to rebuild the country. An international donors’ summit held early this year in Kuwait gathered pledges of $30 billion that mainly came in the form of loans, but no progress has been made to fulfil the pledges.

    “The biggest problem we have is the lack of funds,” said Mustafa al-Hiti, the head of a government-run reconstruction fund.

    “What we spent till now is about 1.5 percent of what we need and that came as loans and donations,” al-Hiti added.

    Another challenge is the unexploded ordnance, mainly in the northern city of Mosul, where the climactic battle occurred. He estimated that 4 million unexploded bombs are still littered around Mosul, the largest city IS once held, with only 6 percent cleared so far.

    Nuri Mehmud, an SDF spokesman speaking by telephone from Syria, said all of IS’ experienced fighters are now in the besieged area of Hajin.

    “It is a difficult battle but in the end we will wipe out Daesh,” he said.”

  17. CBC – How stand-up helped a Muslim comedian find her voice<

    Shelina Merani grew up in a strict immigrant household and says she never really felt like she had a voice.

    She became a bit of a rebel because of it. Fast forward to 2013 and she decided to speak her truth on stage and make people laugh in the process.

    This CBC Short Doc follows Shelina as she learns the craft of stand-up comedy.

  18. Time for some comic relief. Hell, and here I was, feeling so smug about my completely full five gallon glass water bottle of pennies.

    (Incidentally, the first guy missed out on a 25% return during the 1980s mint buyback program.)

    NOTE: For those who hoard small change, nickles are the way to go. They are one of the only solid (as opposed to jacketed) metal coins left.

    • My mom was a penny collector. I have a few bags of them and I didn’t know what to do with them, until now. I’ll check with my bank. Thanks.

      • If time permits, be sure to sort them for any pre-1982 (solid copper) coins.

        Set them aside and see if a local numismatist might make you an offer.

  19. Does The Netherlands Have a Problem?

    by Judith Bergman
    December 8, 2018 at 5:00 am

    Right-wing extremists are growing more confident. They continue to focus on protesting against the perceived Islamisation of the Netherlands, the arrival of asylum seekers and the perceived loss of Dutch identity…” [emphasis added] wrote Dutch authorities in a September threat assessment.

    Islamization in the Netherlands, however, is not merely a “perception” of “right-wing extremists” but an increasingly established trend. The threat assessment by the country’s National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, for example, shows that Islamic terrorism has been growing for several years. “Despite stagnating growth, the size of the Dutch jihadist movement is cause for concern,” it wrote.

  20. Erdogan: French ‘Yellow Vests’ Protests Show Europe Has Failed on Democracy (sputniknews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated Saturday that Turkish police were frequently accused of using force, however, he pointed to the situation in France and note how the local police treated people there, the Anadolu news agency reported.

    According to the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited by the Anadolu news agency, the Yellow Vest protests pointed out to Europe’s failed democracy, human rights and freedom, adding that Europe’s security was threatened by the native population.

    “The walls of security and welfare that they so cherished started to be shaken not by migrants or Muslims, but by their own citizens,” Erdogan said.

    The president also stressed that Turkish police were often accused of using force, however, he assured that the law enforcement in Turkey acted in a humane way. At the same time, he urged to consider the situation in France and note how the local police treated protestors.

    The Turkish leader highlighted that Ankara was against the chaos disseminated by protestors; at the same time, it opposed the use of extreme violence to quell them.
    Erdogan’s comments come amid ongoing French yellow vests protests in Paris against rising fuel prices during which the police reportedly used tear gas and detained 950 people.”

  21. ‘Our Customs Officers Will Resemble Hostesses’: Le Pen Slams UN Migration Pact (sputniknews, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s right-wing National Rally political party, claimed on Saturday that the UN Global Compact for Migration threatened to turn EU consulates into travel agencies, declaring that the future agreement will limit the sovereignty of states in their ability to manage migrant flow.

    “The sovereignty of countries that would sign [the document] will be limited in terms of migration flows management. The agreement entails irreversible consequences… [The UN Global Compact for Migration] will turn our consulates into travel agencies, while our customs officers will resemble hostesses,” Le Pen argued at the meeting.

    On Saturday, the Flemish Parliament in Brussels hosted a meeting against the UN Global Compact for Migration, organized with support of the Europe of Nations and Freedom — a eurosceptic group of the European Parliament.

    The UN Global Compact for Migration, finalized on July 13, represents the international community’s attempt to establish a common global approach to all aspects of international migration. The pact comprises 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional, and global levels.

    The global compact is expected to be formally endorsed at an intergovernmental conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on December 10-11.”

  22. Civilians killed as Nigeria troops battle Boko Haram in Jakana (thedefensepost, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Nigerian soldiers intercepted a group of Boko Haram fighters on Friday, December 7, near a military base in northeast Nigeria, triggering a fierce gun battle that killed three civilians, security sources told AFP.

    A soldier was injured in the fight, which happened in Jakana village, around 30 km (20 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

    On Saturday, military sources said the latest incident saw troops fight a two-hour battle with fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province faction of Boko Haram from 6:00 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Friday.

    “It was an intense fight. Our troops saw them passing near the village and confronted them,” a senior military officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    “The terrorists were obviously heading toward the bush to congregate and launch an attack somewhere. One soldier was injured and three civilians caught up in the fight were killed.”

    A member of a civilian militia assisting the military said the jihadists fired at troops with anti-aircraft guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

    “The terrorists did not intend to attack, they fought soldiers to defend themselves and escape,” he added.

    On Wednesday, ChannelsTV reported that Nigerian troops reinforced the Jakana area around amid other reports of an impending attack.

    In July, Boko Haram raided the military base in Jakana and burned a police station.

    Friday’s fighting disrupted traffic along the main road between Maiduguri and Damaturu, the capital of neighbouring Yobe state.

    Boko Haram is active in the area and have on several occasions barricaded the road, killing motorists and burning vehicles. Jakana lies near a route linking an ISWAP base in the Buni Yadi district of Yobe and its camps in the Konduga forest area of Borno.

    Boko Haram attacks intensify
    The fighting underlined the persistent threat to troops in the remote region, which has seen more than 20 attacks on military bases since July, and a significant upsurge over the last fortnight. Most attacks on the military are blamed on ISWAP, or claimed as ISWAP attacks by ISIS.

    On Thursday and Friday, two military bases were attacked in the Rann and Bama areas of Borno.

    On December 4, fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province launched an assault on a military base in Gudumbali town in Borno state, sparking a fierce firefight in which two soldiers were injured.

    On December 3, ISWAP fighters attacked a military base in Mallam Fatori, a Borno state town near the borders with Niger and Chad. One soldier was killed and several others were injured in the attack.

    On December 1, an ISWAP attack in the Yobe state village of Buni Gari left eight soldiers dead, the Nigerian army said, while ISIS claimed ISWAP fighters killed 17 soldiers.

    The same day, ISIS claimed ISWAP killed eight Nigerian soldiers and wounded 17 others in an attack near Gamboru in the Lake Chad area, close to the border with Cameroon. The Nigerian Army said that it captured weapons and stores during “offensive patrols” in the area, but did not mention army casualties.

    On November 28 three soldiers were killed in attack on a military base in Cross-Kauwa near Lake Chad.

    The military November 30 lashed out at what it said was “deliberate and concerted efforts to mislead the public,” saying that some media outlets were “creating erroneous impression of the Nigerian Army through inaccurate and false publication of casualty figures.”

    The military has even threatened legal action against organisations for publishing unofficial casualty figures.

    Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016 over ideological differences. One is led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi and largely focuses on attacking military and government targets, while the other, led by Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians.

    ISIS central gave its formal backing to the Barnawi faction, which is known as Islamic State West Africa Province. It has lately intensified its armed campaign, launching a number of major assaults on military targets in Borno and neighbouring Yobe state amid signs of a takeover by more hardline leaders.

    Borno and Yobe states, along with nearby Adamawa state, have born the brunt of nine years of jihadist violence that has claimed 27,000 lives and forced 1.8 million people to flee their homes.

    Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari traveled to N’Djamena to meet leaders from Chad, Niger and Cameroon to discuss how to deal with the surge in violence.

    The leaders “expressed the crucial need to change their modus operandi in the fight against Boko Haram” and urged the international community “to support their efforts in the fight against terrorism in the region” in a joint statement after the talks.

    Buhari is under pressure to show his administration is winning the fight against Boko Haram ahead of a presidential election in February at which he will seek a second term in office.”

  23. Charities warned that sending aid to Syria’s Idlib could be a ‘terror offence’ (mee, Dec 8, 2018)

    “British charities sending aid into Idlib could be at risk of committing terrorism offences if they use the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey into the Syrian opposition-held enclave, the UK’s charity regulator has warned.

    In an alert to charities, the Charity Commission said that Bab al-Hawa, the main supply route into Idlib, was reportedly under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, which “could incur financial benefit” from any deliveries of aid through the crossing.

    Middle East Eye understands that, prior to issuing the alert, the commission wrote to a number of charities to raise concerns that they were using Bab al-Hawa.

    “Trustees of charities which are currently using the Bab al-Hawa crossing either directly or through partner organisations must consider the risks of committing an offence under UK Counter Terrorism Legislation … and take appropriate action in the best interests of their charity,” said the alert, which was published on Monday.

    “This may include suspending or stopping the movement of aid via the Bab Al-Hawa crossing at this time or exploring alternative routes.”

    The alert also said that charities that had used the crossing since September should consider reporting themselves to both counter-terrorism police and to the commission if they believed or suspected that a terrorist financing offence had been committed.

    ‘Designated areas’ ban
    But some charity officials told Middle East Eye they were concerned that the alert was part of an effort to discourage charities from continuing to operate in areas like Idlib ahead of the passing of a proposed new law that would allow the government to ban British citizens from travelling to “designated areas” for the purpose of “protecting members of the public from a risk of terrorism”…”

  24. Qatar: EU must do more to end humanitarian tragedy caused by blockade (memo, Dec 8, 2018)

    “The President of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has said the European Union (EU) must do more to end the humanitarian tragedy caused by the ongoing blockade of the country.

    Speaking in the Austrian capital Vienna, Ali Bin Smaikh Al-Marri called on EU countries to take stronger measures to put an end to the ongoing humanitarian tragedy caused by the embargo imposed on Qatar 18 months ago…”

    • How smarmy, condescending, and sanctimonious can one harping, nancy-boy tech titan be? Can’t you just picture Tim Cook carefully reviewing this speech from the confines of his walled and gated Palo Alto mansion?

  25. Egypt says police kill two gunmen behind November attack on Christians (reuters, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Egyptian police killed two gunmen who carried out last month’s attack on a bus carrying Christians in Minya governorate to the south of Cairo, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

    Police, helped by the military, found the gunmen in Assiut governorate, which lies to the south of Minya, it said in a statement. They were in possession of three automatic rifles, one shotgun and an unspecified amount of ammunition.

    Security forces also found one of the vehicles used in the Nov. 2 attack, which killed at least seven Christians who were returning from baptizing a child at a Coptic monastery in central Egypt.

    The mobile phone of one of the victims of the attack, Kamal Yousef Shehata, was also found, the ministry said…”

  26. Fifteen civilians killed in ethnic attack on Mali village (reuters, Dec 8, 2018)

    “Fifteen civilians from the Fulani community were killed last week when armed men from a rival ethnic group attacked their village in central Mali, a regional governor said on Saturday.

    Communal violence in the West African country has killed hundreds of civilians and displaced thousands this year, compounding a dire security situation in the north, where attacks by jihadist groups are common.

    Mali’s central Mopti region has suffered the worst of the ethnic clashes, according to the United Nations. Mopti Governor Sidi Alassane Toure said the latest attack was on Wednesday.

    Toure told state radio a disarmament program launched last month in northern regions would be expanded to curb violence. “It will be launched in the coming days, and we dare to hope that all the bearers of arms will lay down their arms,” he said.

    Islamist militants seized Mali’s desert north in 2012. French forces intervened the following year to wrest control, but fighters with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have since regrouped.

    They have tapped into the ethnic rivalries to recruit new members and their frequent attacks in Mali and nearby countries have alarmed Western powers.”

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