Reader’s links for December 18, 2018

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About Eeyore

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

134 Replies to “Reader’s links for December 18, 2018”

  1. Inflammatory: Russia moves troops, families to islands disputed with Japan
    Breck Dumas, The Blaze December 17, 2018

    [Ed. – Although the U.S. has never stated a position on ownership of the islands, we have always called for peaceful bilateral resolution of the dispute, without unilateral moves made by force on either side. Russia has been violating that principle since early in the Obama administration. Japan feels increasing insecurity from the trends in both Russia and China; the situation is likely to destabilize further in the near term.]

    Russian troops and families moving into barracks on archipelago claimed by Japan

    The Kremlin’s action to militarily occupy the disputed territory threatens to ignite tensions with Tokyo

    Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced Monday that it would be moving troops and their families into newly built barracks on two islands claimed by Japan. The decision threatens already tense relations with Tokyo over the disputed archipelago, ahead of Japanese President Shinzo Abe’s possible trip to Moscow in January.

    At the end of World War II, Soviet forces seized four islands out of a chain known as the Northern Territories in Japan, which are referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia. Since then, the two countries have tussled diplomatically about who holds sovereignty over the territories, and the nations’ leaders have met several times recently to work out an agreement.

    The latest announcement by Moscow threatens to throw a wrench into the ongoing talks; Reuters reported that Tokyo has voiced concern over Russia’s continued fortification of the islands. Japan did not immediately issue a response to the move.

    Read the rest:

  2. Yellow Vest Riots Spread: Week Five

    by Bruce Bawer
    December 18, 2018 at 5:00 am

    Paris has now seen its fifth weekend of street demonstrations by the so-called gilets jaunes, or “yellow vests,” although reports suggest that things may be finally winding down. Meanwhile, the protests — which in many instances rise to the level of riots, with innumerable examples of looting, vandalism, and arson – have spread. The last couple of weekends have seen disturbances in other major French cities, such as Toulouse, Bordeaux and Lyon, as well as in cities in the Low Countries, including Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Nijmegen and Maastricht. This weekend, in London, as the tension, confusion, and frustration surrounding Brexit have intensified and the possibility of a second referendum seemed to increase, yellow-vested protesters, most of them apparently supporters of Brexit, blocked major bridges and shut down streets in the city center.

    As these displays of lawlessness have spread, ideas about the participants’ motives have evolved. At first, it was reported that the protesters in France, far from being political extremists of the left or right, were ordinary citizens angered by new hikes in gas taxes. But even when President Emmanuel Macron yanked the tax increase, the turmoil continued. Why? Writing at Gatestone, David Brown noted that “[l]ower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen….. The French people feel screwed.” Amir Taheri suggested that “the French, like most other people in rich countries, are simply bored, with a lot of time on their hands and little exciting to do.” At PJ Media, Rick Moran opined that “the ordinary people who are paying for the grandiose schemes of the social planners in Brussels have had enough. And they are finally rising up to demand an end to it.” For my part, I wondered whether this dramatic sign of popular discontent marked “the start of the Western European public’s pushback against the elites’ disastrous multicultural and globalist project.”

    • Amir Taheri suggested that “the French, like most other people in rich countries, are simply bored, with a lot of time on their hands and little exciting to do.”

      Taheri should stick to Iran talk. Then again, he’s so wrong on Europe – and so arrogantly dismissive – I might think twice about his Persian bona fides.

    • Des “gilets jaunes” incendient le péage de Bandol

      La barrière de péage de Bandol (Var) située sur l’A50 a été incendiée dans la nuit du 17 au 18 décembre par des contestataires appartenant au mouvement des “gilets jaunes”.

      17 personnes ont été placées en garde à vue à la suite de ces dégradations, dont les images ont été filmées et diffusées en direct sur Facebook. Extraits.

  3. Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel ‘resigns’ as crisis-hit government faces no confidence motion

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has said he will resign after facing a no confidence motion in his government.

    Mr Michel made the announcement after the N-VA, the biggest party in his minority coalition, quit over his migration stance.

    The Prime Minister, who had only relaunched his government last week, said on Tuesday evening: “I am taking the decision to offer my resignation. I am now going to see the king.”

    As lawmakers applauded, he picked up his briefcase, shook the hands of government ministers and left.

    His leadership collapsed after the right-wing N-VA’s protests against his support of the United Nations’ global pact on migration to support refugees.

    The N-VA quit after Mr Michel sought parliamentary approval to support the UN pact against its wishes.

    It branded his minority government “the Marrakech coalition” after the city where the pact was signed last week.

    However, with parliamentary elections due in May next year, Mr Michel could be asked by King Philippe to stay on in a caretaker capacity – but with limited power.

    The king may also speak to other political leaders in a bid to resolve the issue.
    Charles Michel annonce à la Chambre la démission de son gouvernement

    • This was entirely predictable. There was no way N-VA would have agreed, they’de have lost all their credibility, not to mention their voter base.
      How Michel didn’t see this coming is a mystery to me. Unless he was ok with snap elections, maybe he thinks his party willcome out the winner – I highly doubt it.

  4. China’s Growing Aggression on the High Seas
    By Matthew Continetti

    December 15, 2018 5:30 AM

    China may have moved too quickly in the South and East China Seas, alerting the world to its ambitions.

    I’ve had to wait on the tarmac for planes ahead of mine to take off before, but never F-15s. Naha airport here shares a runway with Japan’s Air Self Defense Forces, leading to delays whenever Japanese fighters scramble to counter Chinese incursions into the airspace above the Senkaku island chain in the East China Sea. The pace of such incursions has accelerated over the last half decade. The Japanese scrambled a high of 1,168 times in 2016, mostly in response to Chinese activity. The sight of active afterburners on a U.S. commercial runway would be shocking. In Okinawa, it’s everyday life.

    More than 1 million Okinawans share the southernmost prefecture of Japan with some 25,000 U.S. air, ground, naval, and Marine forces. More than half of U.S. bases in Japan are located within these 463 square miles. The crowded space has long been a site of tension. A brutal crime committed against a local girl by American soldiers in 1996 precipitated negotiations between the United States and Japan over the consolidation and relocation of our forces.

    The process has been delayed by local and national Japanese politics. Opposition to the expansion of Camp Schwab in the less densely populated northern part of the island to replace Futenma airbase became a rallying cry for opposition lawmakers. The prefectural governor, Denny Tamaki, was elected on an anti-expansion platform last October. Tamaki defeated the candidate backed by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party by a surprisingly large margin. His father was a U.S. Marine.

    • There are mixed opinions about the possibility of war with China and Russia, while it is generally accepted in the west that we can still take either China or Russia and probably both at once in a conventional war. The problem is that both Russia and China are acting like they don’t believe this is possible.

      Last week there was an article in the Chinese Government run Global Times where a Chinese General said that China needs to start ramming US warships they find inside the 9 dash line. Combine this with the near misses that the Chinese Navy has with the US inside the 9 dash line, the aerial and sea borne incursions into Japanese territory and you get a disturbing picture. Now add in the Russian fortifying the Japanese Islands they seized after WWII (article posted above) and we see both China and Russia pushing hard in the Pacific to see if they can seize more territory and power.

      China is pushing hard trying to get more assets they can turn into hard currency to prop up their economy and there is always the possibility that they will attempt some “foreign adventure” to seize assets from another nation. The nations that they have sucked into the debt traps are vulnerable to this type of conquest but the longer they are a drain on China with no return the closer China comes to economic collapse. This is probably why China is starting to blink in the Trade War with the US. Then add in the very real possibility that if China gets into a shooting war (however brief) with the US that Russia will just set back and watch the fun hoping that both sides get hurt enough for Russia to make gains.

      Also both Russia and China may be waiting for Western Europe to explode and draw US attention and military personal away from the Far East.

      Keep your musket clean and your powder dry becasue things are getting scary and we don’t know which way a lot of people are going to jump.

      • My former Japanese roommate worries about Korea for exactly the same reasons Continetti mentions. Probably the same govt info sources.

        Prez Moon makes SoKo a weak link in our alliance system. He speaks for a considerable base, but fortunately ‘SoKo-Inc.’ is a firm brake in case democracy runs amok. Japan is fully engaged, you betcha.

        We can’t settle back contemplating the economic implosion of China as the answer to all our prayers. I read too much smug commentary along those lines in conservative, pro-Trump media.

        A regime of mass murderers is not nearly as vulnerable to its people as some might imagine. “Rising middle class pressures” is a projection of Round-Eye concepts of governance. And betrays shallow knowledge of history.

        Putin fools around with China, the West is poisoned against him, and the scrawny street-fighter exploits every opportunity. But the Russians distrust the Chinese as much as they hate Muslims. An alliance to confront the West would have no traction in a country rediscovering its Orthodox Christian roots.

        • China’s economy imploding won’t solve all of our problems, but it will cut them in about half. The big question is will China try a foreign adventure or another version of the “Cultural Revolution”? Each will create its own set of problems although the foreign adventure will create more and in my opinion scarier ones.

          It will (with luck) allow us to shift some assets to either the Middle East or Europe, but we can’t count on this happening.

          Yes Korea is the weak link in the alliance but both the US and Japan are planning around that, and until a formal peace treaty is signed between the North and South if war comes all of South Korea’s military comes under US command. This will strengthen the weak link for a while.

          • I’m glad to learn that we’ve got ultimate control over SoKo’s military. I understand that the Korean version of zaibatsu knows the score.

            Astonishing how fast the many in the SoKo younger generation turned into snowflakes! Western pop culture must be a fast-acting toxin.

  5. Multiple Baltimore Jewish Institutions Receive Suspicious Envelopes In the Mail; Several People Reported Ill

    Several Jewish people are reporting illness after a suspicious package was opened at Beth El Jewish School in Pikesville, Maryland. The Baltimore County Fire Department and HazMat crews responded to the scene shortly after it was reported. Targeting Jewish children as the enemedia cheers Jew-hatred.

  6. The Latest: Greece accused of violently forcing out migrants (abcnews, Dec 18, 2018)

    “An international rights watchdog has accused Greek authorities of violently forcing back migrants who tried to illegally enter Greece from neighboring Turkey.

    A Human Rights Watch statement has urged Greece to immediately investigate the allegations, which the group said it received in interviews with 26 migrants in Greece and Turkey.

    The group said most of the alleged incidents occurred between April and November 2018 at the land border in northeastern Greece. It said interviewees reported hostile or violent behavior “by Greek police and unidentified forces wearing uniforms and masks.”

    Greece has been repeatedly accused in recent years of so-called pushbacks — repulsing and returning to Turkey migrants entering illegally from that country. Successive governments have denied that.

    Migrant entries by the land border have spiked this year.”

  7. Trump willing to look at extraditing Turkish cleric, but noncommittal (reuters, Dec 18, 2018)

    “U.S. President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that Washington “would take a look at” the possibility of extraditing a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who Ankara suspects of being behind a 2016 coup attempt, but he made no commitment, the White House said on Tuesday…”

  8. Italian counter-terrorism police have arrested a Somali migrant with ties to the Islamic State, who discussed bombing Christian churches throughout Italy this Christmas, specifically mentioning Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
    In an operation involving multiple Italian and international law enforcement agencies, police arrested 20-year-old Mohsin Ibrahim Omar, also known as Anas Khalil, in the southern Italian port city of Bari last Thursday, Italian media reported on Monday.

    According to reports, Omar was in direct contact with an operational jihadist cell and had active plans to target Christian churches during the upcoming Christmas holidays, starting with the “biggest one”, Saint Peter’s Basilica.

    In his communication, Omar spoke of striking the Vatican on Christmas day or shortly afterwards, when there would be “the pope and so many people” and the church would be “full, full, full”. Police discovered pictures of the Vatican on the man’s phone, which he had downloaded from the internet.

  9. Iran: European Financial Initiative Will Come into Force by End of 2018 (aawsat, Dec 18, 2018)

    “The European Union’s financial initiative intended to protect trade with Iran against newly reimposed US sanctions will come into force by end of 2018, announced head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharazi.

    Promises to activate the special purpose vehicle (SPV) before the end of the year were made during negotiations between Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and European parties, Kharazi told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Tehran entitled “Peace and Stability in West Asia; One Region, One Fate”.

    Zarif and senior aides have repeatedly criticized the delay of European steps to confront the US sanctions…”

  10. Iraq: 3 Female ISIS Members Arrested in Salah al-Din Province (aawsat, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Iraqi security forces’ information center announced Monday the arrest of three female ISIS members in Salah al-Sin province (179 km north Baghdad), according to the DPA.

    “A force from the National Security Service in Salah al-Din province was able to arrest three female convicts in Huwaija district, against which legal warrants have been issued for their belonging to ISIS terrorist gangs,” the center said.

    It explained that the arrest operation was conducted due to intelligence information, pointing out that they were handed over to competent authorities to take the necessary legal procedures.”

  11. Saudis launch boycott Turkey drive on social media (saudigazette, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Angered by the Turkish campaign against the Kingdom, many Saudis have taken to social media to punish Ankara financially.

    They have launched social media hashtags #Saudis_rejecting_the_Turkish_Products and #No_to_Turkey_Travel_and_products aimed at boycotting all Turkish products and all Turkish tourist destinations.

    Turkish retail sales dropped the most since records began in 2006, reflecting a deepening economic slump in the emerging market country.

    Sales dived 7.5 percent in October from the same month a year earlier, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Tuesday. The reading followed a revised 2.9 percent contraction in September.

    A Saudi consumer tweeted that while Turkey was preoccupied with the Kingdom’s internal affairs, Saudis were busy building their future.

    Many users published through the hashtag an image showing a list of several Turkish products sold in the Saudi market, asking others not to purchase them.

    Another one tweeted: “Since our country is being fiercely attacked by Erdogan’s official media and Erdogan’s provocative statements; our national duty urges us to boycott any Turkish product as a response to these repeated offenses.”

    “What if more than 20 million Saudis boycotted the Turkish products and tourism?” one user wondered, saying that it would be “a slap on the face for Erdogan and anyone who think to offend the Kingdom, its leadership or people, we would stand together”.”

  12. Denmark’s migration minister Inger Støjberg has told the country’s Somali migrants to return home and work on improving their own country after the Danish government ruled parts of Somalia safe.
    Since the Immigration Service began its review of refugee residency permits in early 2017, nearly 1,000 Somalis have had their Danish residency permit revoked, reports the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

    Of those, 516 had been directly granted asylum while another 412 were family members who joined them as through chain migration, also known as “family reunion” or “family reunification”.

    “If you no longer need our protection and your life and health are no longer at risk in your home country, and specifically in Somalia, you must of course return home and rebuild the country from which you came from,” Ms Støjberg said.

  13. A three-judge panel on the federal court of appeals in D.C. denied a non-profit’s attempt to force the IRS to release President Trump’s tax returns.

    In an unanimous riling, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said not all records can be accessed by the public through a Freedom of Information Act request and affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)’s lawsuit, which sought Trump’s income tax records.

    “No one can demand to inspect another’s tax records,” Karen LeCraft Henderson, a George H.W. Bush appointee, said in the court’s majority ruling.

    “And the IRC [Internal Revenue Code]’s confidentiality protections extend to the ordinary taxpayer and the President alike.”

  14. Sock and awe: 10 years ago this shoe-throwing Iraqi journalist made history (alaraby, Dec 14, 2018)

    “George W. Bush visited Iraq on 14 December 2008 for one last time before he left office, nearly six years after launching a cataclysmic war which devastated the country and galvanised a new generation of anti-war activists.

    In a meeting with reporters cobbled together by then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush claimed the devastating and protracted war, premised on the mendacity of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, was necessary for “world peace”.

    All of a sudden, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old Iraqi journalist, stood up.

    “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog,” he shouted in Arabic as he hurled a shoe at Bush.

    Read also: Insultingly newsworthy: Flying shoes and their unsuspecting victims

    “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” he yelled, before letting the other one fly.

    Zaidi was wrestled to the ground, laced into and booted by the prime minister’s guards then thrown in jail.

    Hundreds protested across Iraq demanding his release. Nine months later he was finally free from jail, where he is alleged to have been tortured.

    The dramatic gesture reverberated across the Arab world, where he gained instant cult status as a symbol of resisting foreign imperialism.

    Many compared the incident to David and Goliath.

    Zaidi received numerous marriage offers and lavish gifts from across the Middle East, while a Saudi businessman offered to buy one of his shoes for $10 million.

    Some even called for the iconic loafers to be placed in a museum.

    US and Iraqi forces eventually destroyed the leather shoes, which reportedly were in high demand after the seminal affair.

    One cobbler in Turkey, who claimed to have made his shoes, said he received a thousand orders in a single week, according to The Washington Post.

    An online game called ‘Sock and Awe’ even became a hit, offering players the chance to throw shoes at Bush.

    In 2009, an Iraqi sculptor created an eight-foot long copy of one of the shoes and placed it outside an orphanage in Tikrit. It was eventually removed by the government.

    Zaidi, who has established his own charity which supports Iraqi children orphaned by the US invasion, ran for a seat in the Council of Representatives in Iraq’s parliament last May.”

  15. Following last week’s report on Patreon-funded violent extremism, another group of violent extremists has been discovered on the platform. Dubbed the “Red Guards of Austin,” the group calls for armed conflict inside the United States.
    The Red Guards of Austin’s Patreon account was discovered by Far Left Watch, an anti-extremist monitoring organization that has been tracking the group’s activities.

    Images collected by Far Left Watch also show members of the group posing with firearms, burning effigies of President Trump, and wearing hammer-and-sickle face masks.

  16. Pakistan faults UN for ‘misreading’ its vote on death penalty resolution (tribune, Dec 18, 2018)

    “KARACHI: Pakistan has denied it has voted in favour of abolition of the death penalty, saying that the United Nations has “mistaken” its vote as in favour of its resolution seeking an end to the capital punishment.

    At the UN General Assembly Plenary Session held in New York on Monday, 121 of 193 UN member states, including Pakistan, voted in favour of the seventh resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment among signatory countries, according to Amnesty International.

    Of the remaining countries, 35 voted against the resolution while 32 abstained. Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, however, claimed that Pakistan’s vote was ‘mistakenly’ read by the United Nations.

    “Pakistan voted against the resolution,” he told The Express Tribune. “The vote will be corrected as soon as office hours begin in New York,” he added.

    Faisal later took to Twitter to elaborate it further…”

  17. Saudi collected more than 50 bln riyals in 2018 from Ritz settlements – min (ahram, Dec 18, 2018)–bln-riyals-in–from-Rit.aspx

    “Saudi Arabian government collected more than 50 billion riyal ($13.33 billion) so far this year from settlements reached with detainees in a crackdown on corruption launched at the end of last year, said Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan on Tuesday.

    Scores of top officials and businessmen were detained in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel in a purge, which began in November 2017. Investigators said earlier this year they aimed to seize some $100 billion overall.”

  18. Moroccan Purchases of Spanish Homes Increase by 28% (moroccoworldnews, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Moroccans account for 7 percent of the real estate transactions in Spain. British and French buyers acquire 14 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

    The volume of transactions by Moroccans increased significantly in the first six months of 2018, up by 28 percent compared to the same period in 2017, making it the largest increase observed among foreigners, according to statistics from the General Council of the Spanish Notary.

    The average real estate price acquired by Moroccans in Spain amounts to €693 per square meter for residents, and to €1,606 per square meter for non-residents…”

  19. Spanish Police Arrest Algerian For Possible ISIS Ties (moroccoworldnews, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Spanish national police officers arrested an Algerian man on Monday for allegedly being a member of ISIS, in Vitoria (northern Spain), according to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.

    The arrested Algerian also sought to promote the return of terrorist fighters to Europe and to collaborate with terrorists in Syria’s conflict zones, the statement added.

    The Algerian national who is president of a cultural association was arrested in the city of Vitoria, northern Spain, during a police operation with the support of the Spanish intelligence services and Europol. He planned to set up a school for indoctrinating children into terrorism, according to the same source.

    The man was receiving unemployment benefits and resources from a business, says the statement, adding that the investigation revealed that he intended to use his income for people he indoctrinated. According to ABC, he had a history of violence, having assaulted two police officers, which he was arrested for initially.”

  20. Migrants Day: Turkey hosts largest number of refugees in the world (hurriyetdailynews, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Ankara says it has spent around $35 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011 while hosting some 3.5 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

    As of Dec. 18 International Migrants Day, Turkey has been hosting 3,611,834 registered Syrians, according to figures provided by the Interior Ministry on Dec. 6. Some 47.5 percent of them are between the ages of 0 and 18, according to the ministry.

    As of Dec. 6, the number of Syrians sheltering in camps was registered as 144,036, according to the figures of the Migration Administration.

    The annual cost of hosting a Syrian refugee in Turkey is 3,000 euros, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu said in a briefing note provided to lawmakers on Dec. 13 for budget discussions in parliament.

    While the average cost of hosting a single refugee is nearly 12,000 euros in European countries, this figure is only 3,000 euros in Turkey, the minister said when asked about the details of the $35 billion spent on refugees in Turkey.

    Turkey provides free education and health services to Syrians in Turkey, said the minister, noting that 650,000 out of 1 million Syrian children are able to get education in schools.

    The health cost of an individual Syrian is $1,000, he said.

    More than 34 million applications were filed at outpatient clinics by Syrians, 1.5 million Syrians received inpatient treatment, and more than one million surgeries were carried out, according to the minister.

    According to the United Nations’ secretary-general, the biggest human migration since the Second World War is taking place today.

    “This month, the world took a landmark step forward with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message.

    “Backed with overwhelming support by the membership of the United Nations, the Compact will help us to address the real challenges of migration while reaping its many benefits,” he said.”

  21. FBI targeting FETÖ in the US: Turkish FM (hurriyetdailynews, Dec 18, 2018)

    “The FBI has launched nationwide operations against FETÖ, the group that is widely believed to be behind the 2016 defeated coup, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Dec. 17.

    “There is a serious investigation into FETÖ launched by the FBI in 15 states,” said Çavu?o?lu while addressing lawmakers in parliament.

    “Moreover, arrests started in some states, including New Jersey,” he added, noting that the FBI “started to see the true nature of FETÖ.”

    Çavu?o?lu said that during the recent G20 summit in Argentina, U.S. President Donald Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an that they are working to extradite FETÖ leader Fethullah Gülen to Turkey from his longtime U.S. residence in the state of Pennsylvania.

    “While meeting with President Erdo?an at the G20, the president did not commit to extradite Fethullah Gülen,” said a White House official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity on Dec. 17.

    Turkey has long complained of U.S. inaction in failing to extradite Gülen.”

  22. Netherlands to continue training Peshmerga: Dutch FM (AA, Dec 18, 2018)

    “The Netherlands will continue training Peshmerga forces loyal to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said Tuesday.

    Blok made the assertion at a joint press conference held with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil, the KRG’s administrative capital.

    The Netherlands, Blok confirmed to reporters, would continue training Peshmerga officers at Erbil’s Training Coordination Center.

    “We will also provide military advisers as part of our joint reform plan for the region’s security sector,” he said.

    Barzani, for his part, said the KRG had also asked the Netherlands for assistance in the local food and agriculture sector.

    A delegation from the local private sector, he added, would soon visit the Netherlands to take part in a seminar.

    In September, the Dutch government announced plans to deploy 50 soldiers to northern Iraq to secure areas recently liberated from the Daesh terrorist group.

    The Dutch foreign minister arrived in Erbil from Baghdad earlier Monday as part of a tour of northern Iraq.

    According to Iraq’s federal system, all agreements between foreign states and the KRG must first be approved by Baghdad.”

  23. Kenya:Dozens arrested in hunt for Silvia (ansa, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Dozens of people have been arrested as part of the operation to find Silvia Costanza Romano, a young Italian volunteer aid worker who was kidnapped in Kenya last month, local media reported on Tuesday.

    The arrests were made at the weekend in two villages in the area of the Tana River, according to the reports.

    Kenya’s Standard Media said that “at least 100” arrests were made. “We are working 24 hours a day to save her,” local police chief Noah Mwivanda was quoted as saying by Standard Media.”

  24. Sweden’s ‘man-free’ festival was discriminatory, rules Swedish ombudsman (thelocal, Dec 18, 2018)

    “Describing an event as ‘man-free’ is discriminatory, according to a ruling from Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) relating to a music festival aimed at women earlier this year.

    The body carried out an investigation into Statement Festival, an event aimed at women which took place in Gothenburg this summer and was organized following multiple reports of assault at other Swedish festivals.

    The ruling, issued on Monday, confirmed that describing the festival as “man-free” amounted to “an infringement of discrimination law”.

    The DO said that no individuals had been discriminated against, and noted that the festival had not in practice enforced the ban on cisgender men (those who identify with the male gender assigned at birth).

    “No differentiation based on sex was made between visitors at entry,” the ruling said. However, it added that “public statements which clearly discourage” a certain group from attending an event amounts to discrimination, and therefore the festival was in breach of the law prohibiting gender-based discrimination.

    Statement Festival was launched by comedian Emma Knyckare in response to reported sexual offences at other music festivals, which led to one of the largest such events in Sweden being cancelled altogether.

    After questions were first raised about the festival’s definition as ‘man-free’, organizers confirmed they would also welcome trans men and non-binary people.

    “It felt important when so many people wanted it,” Knyckare told The Local during the early stages of planning. “All men are not rapists, but almost all rapes are carried out by men. We want to create a free space, a cool festival where women can be without feeling worried. A festival is not the solution, but a reaction to the problem. The goal with the festival is that there shouldn’t need to be separatist events.”

    In the DO’s ruling, the body noted that its decision should not be seen as “calling into question the serious problem of sexual assault””

  25. “The violence in Sweden has now become so extreme that Malmö can be likened to a gangster movie”, Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson stated in his Christmas speech on Tuesday.

    He talked, among other things, about the recent brutal shootings and bombings in Sweden. “It’s like a scene from a gangster movie, but it is everyday life in the country’s third largest city.”, he said.

    According to the party leader, his party wants to deal with crime for real. He argues that firm, concrete “liberal reforms”, are the best way to “quell populism”.

    “44 dead in shootings this year is not a challenge, it’s a big problem”, he said. However, there are a few exciting long-term challenges to take on:

  26. Three men have been found guilty of historic sexual offences against an Oxford school girl who was groomed and raped from the age of 14.
    Anjum Dogar, 36, and brothers Mohammed Karrar, 44, and Bassam Karrar, 39, were found guilty by unanimous verdict by a jury at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday of ten charges including indecent assault, conspiracy to rape, and rape, reports the Oxford Mail.

    All three men were already in prison after being convicted in 2013 of similar crimes — being described as part of a “violent” sex grooming gang by the BBC — having abused six vulnerable Oxford girls over an eight-year period.

    The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was abused by the three men between 2002 and 2005 when she was aged 14 to 16.

  27. LONDON BLOODBATH: Man shot dead in Enfield HORROR attack – three arrested by police (express, Dec 18, 2018)

    “A MAN has been shot dead in Enfield, north London, this evening with police making three arrests as the capital’s epidemic of violence continues.

    Police called the London Ambulance Service to St Joseph’s Road at 9.15pm.

    The victim was pronounced dead at 10.10pm.

    There are no reports of any other injuries.

    Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

    Cordons remain in place whilst police investigating the scene.

    More to follow…”

    • Im gonna try and watch this. I read one of Daniel C. Dennet’s books a while back. Consciousness explained. It will be interesting to see if he references Dennet, who is kinda the Einstein of this field, or was, or how his ideas compare at all.
      Thanks for this!

  28. Judge in Flynn case was confused during part of hearing: Sara Carter

    FBN contributor Sara Carter discusses how a federal judge postponed the sentencing of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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