Contributor’s Links post for January 24th, 2019

Daily Links Post graphic

Each day at just after midnight Eastern, a post like this one is created for contributors and readers of this site to upload news links and video links on the issues that concern this site. Most notably, Islam and its effects on Classical Civilization, and various forms of leftism from Soviet era communism, to postmodernism and all the flavours of galloping statism and totalitarianism such as Nazism and Fascism which are increasingly snuffing out the classical liberalism which created our near, miraculous civilization the West has been building since the time of Socrates.

This document was written around the time this site was created, for those who wish to understand what this site is about. And while our understanding of the world and events has grown since then, the basic ideas remain sound and true to the purpose.

So please post all links, thoughts and ideas that you feel will benefit the readers of this site to the comments under this post each day. And thank you all for your contributions.

This is the new Samizdat. We muse use it while we can.

About Eeyore

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

127 Replies to “Contributor’s Links post for January 24th, 2019”

  1. Texas Rancher Offers Land for Border Wall, Tells Pelosi: ‘Ma’am, I Don’t Know Where You Get Your Facts

    Ruperto Escobar, a 75 year-old, seventh-generation Texas farmer, is offering to donate property to the federal government where it can build a border wall, because he has suffered a lifetime of harm due to illegal immigration.

    “The problem there right now is primarily drug trafficking. The Illegal immigrants traveling through there are not so prominent, anymore, like they used to be,” Escobar told Fox News in an interview on Wednesday.

  2. Opposing China’s Dangerous Ambitions

    by Gordon G. Chang
    January 24, 2019 at 5:00 am

    The sharp downturn in ties between the world’s two most fearsome militaries was evident when America’s highest naval officer, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, went to Beijing this month.

    Chinese officers were ready for Richardson: they issued hostile words, especially about U.S. relations with Taiwan. In response, CNO Richardson stuck to Washington’s decades-old script of cooperation.

    It is time for American policymakers to change that script by, among other things, dropping themes of engagement, introducing notions of reciprocity, and showing resolve of their own.

    Richardson struck an upbeat note as he left China on his second official visit as America’s top admiral. “I very much appreciate the hospitality I received in China,” he tweeted on January 16. “I had some great discussions with my counterparts and I look forward to strengthening our relationship as we move forward.”

    • I hope that people in DC are paying attention, after 8 years of purges of officers who weren’t politically reliable to the left we have a military of high ranking individuals who believe the BS that all cultures are equal and that all cultures are the same. We use to have high ranking personal that knew that in China Face is everything and that you don’t show weakness because the Chinese will take that as a sign that we are afraid of them.

      This is happening at a time the US political system is divided with one side not loving the US and desiring only power to turn us into a communist nations. China sees this and knows that they have to move to confront us now because the left is going to lose and the US will end up stronger then before.

  3. Belgium: Over 30,000 students ditch class for climate protest in Brussels

    Over 30,000 students took the streets of Brussels for the third consecutive week on Thursday to demand action for climate change.

    Under slogans such as “Make Belgium great again,” “We want climate justice,” and “Cool kids against global warming,” the mass of students gathered into a massive protest, dwarfing the protest of the previous week, which was reportedly attended by around 12,000 people.

  4. Jake Talbot, a U.S. Army veteran, has found a new gym — one with a dress code a little less politically tinged, he says.

    Talbot says he was wearing his Trump 2016 T-shirt to his workout Sunday when the owner of CDY Fitness in Troy, Mo. told him it was making others in the gym “uncomfortable,” according to KMOV.

    “I was just puzzled there for a second,” Talbot told the station. “She said that it was racist and represents racism and that’s when I when I was like ‘oh, you’re done.’”

    Talbot posted a video to Facebook after his workout, taking exception specifically to the connection between his T-shirt and “racism.”

  5. SWEDEN BOMBING CRISIS: Four Explosions in 24 Hours
    By Pamela Geller – on January 23, 2019

    If you import bombers, you get bombings. It’s not rocket science.

    SWEDEN BOMBING CRISIS: Four Explosions in 24 Hours

    By Peter Sweden, Gateway, January 23 2019:

    The last day has seen an unprecedented number of bombings across the country of Sweden, with local businesses and family homes being targets.

    Shortly after 4 AM on Tuesday morning the Swedish police were alerted to an explosion at a family home in the city of Värnamo.

  6. Nigeria Tells Gay Citizens: ‘Leave the Country or Face Prosecution’   (breitbart, Jan 24, 2019)

    “A spokeswoman for the federal Nigeria Police Force (NPS) recently urged gay people in the country to flee or face prosecution under the Same-Sex Prohibition Act, warning that it will not condone any violation of that law “no matter how small,” several Nigerian news outlets reported on Wednesday…”

  7. Pope Francis: Fear of Migrants Is ‘Making Us Crazy’ (breitbart, Jan 24, 2019)

    “Pope Francis told journalists that fear of migrants is “making us crazy,” when asked what he thought about the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico.
    “These are walls of fear,” continued the pope, the ruler of the only completely walled-in country in the world and the smallest independent state by both area and population.

    In his short presser with journalists aboard the papal plane en route to Panama Wednesday, the pontiff went on to recommend a recent editorial in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which contrasts the idea of “brotherhood” with that of “fear.”

    “Why does Cain kill Abel? Out of fear,” writes Andrea Monda in the op-ed. “It is a fear that the other may take away our space in the heart of the Father, that the other is the enemy capable of destroying my happiness, which is found in feeling loved. At the root of this fear there is distrust, distrust in the greatness of the love of a God in whom people no longer believe.”

    Pope Francis has been an outspoken advocate of immigration, repeatedly suggesting that resistance to mass migration can only be motivated by xenophobia, racism, and populism and that nations should adopt a more welcoming stance toward them.

    Last week the Vatican published the collected teachings of Pope Francis on the issue of immigration, reiterating the pontiff’s appeal for a greater openness to migrants.

    The massive 488-page volume, titled Lights on the Ways of Hope: Pope Francis Teaching on Migrants, Refugees and Human Trafficking, brings together the pope’s addresses on immigration, underscoring how central this topic has been to his six-year pontificate.

    Immigration and the care of migrants has not only been vital to the pope’s agenda, he has also insisted that it should be of key importance to every Christian and not considered a second-tier issue.

    “This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad. In today’s world too, we are called to follow the path of spiritual wisdom proposed by the prophet Isaiah to show what is pleasing to God,” he said in reference to welcoming migrants.

    Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has sought to bring about a sea change in debates surrounding migration, appealing for a “change in mindset” and insisting that migrants are not a threat to society but, rather, a source of enrichment.

    Wishing to counter a negative narrative on mass migration, especially in countries that have been on the receiving end of migratory waves, the pontiff has called for a shift in priorities and mentality.

    “This demands a change in mindset,” he said. “We must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society.”

    “For this to happen, our basic approach must be to encounter the other, to welcome, to know and to acknowledge him or her,” he said.

    The Vatican is in the midst of a two-year campaign aimed at changing people’s minds about migrants, which it inaugurated in September 2017.

    “Brothers, we mustn’t be afraid to share the journey! We mustn’t be afraid to share the hope!” Francis said in his announcement of the project called “Share the Journey,” being carried forward by the global Catholic charities network Caritas Internationalis.

    In various addresses gathered in the new Vatican collection, Pope Francis connects mass migration to climate change, says that resistance to mass migration comes from an “innate fear of the foreigner,” claims that nations are built by migrants, and insists that the rights of migrants are more important than national security concerns.”

  8. Italy: Anti-terrorism unit probes threat against Salvini (abcnews, Jan 24, 2019)

    “An Italian anti-terrorism unit is investigating graffiti on a wall in Milan inciting violence against Italy’s firebrand interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

    The blue lettering that appeared Thursday urges: “Don’t shoot blanks. Shoot Salvini.” It bears a red A inside a circle, a typical anarchist symbol, and the figure of Salvini in a law enforcement uniform.

    Salvini responded to the threat saying, “nothing and no one scares me, or will stop me.”

    The call to violence was condemned by politicians across the spectrum, recalling the so-called “Years of Lead” from the late 1960s into the early 1980s, marked by left-wing and right-wing political violence.

    Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, a member of the opposition Democratic Party, said the threats against Salvini “are not tolerable.””

  9. US no longer announcing deaths, damage in Somalia airstrikes (abcnews, jan 24, 2019)

    “The U.S. military says it has carried out two new airstrikes in Somalia against the al-Shabab extremist group but will no longer give details on fighters killed or damage done.

    A U.S. Africa Command spokesman says those details are now up to Somalia’s government to share. The spokesman later said one extremist was killed.

    On Saturday the U.S. announced its deadliest airstrike in Somalia in months, killing 52 of the al-Qaida-linked extremists after a “large group” attacked Somali forces.

    The U.S. says the latest airstrikes occurred Wednesday near Jilib in Middle Juba region, where Saturday’s strike occurred.

    The United States has dramatically stepped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, carrying out at least 47 last year to diminish the Islamic extremist group’s “safe havens.””

    • Time’s up, Sweden:

      Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the THIRD and to the FOURTH [generation].
      – Exodus 34:7

  10. CBC – 2 arrested in RCMP raids in Kingston, Ont., related to national security probe

    No change to Canada’s threat level, officials say

    The RCMP have arrested two people following raids on two homes in Kingston, Ont., in what officials are calling a national security investigation involving multiple police forces.

    More arrests are possible as investigators continue their work, officials told CBC News.

    The RCMP will hold a news conference Friday in Kingston to outline details of the investigation.

    CBC News has learned the arrests included a minor and involved both Kingston police and the help of the FBI in the U.S.

    The homeowner of one of the locations spoke to CBC News by phone shortly after 7 p.m. ET as he stood outside his home in the northwest part of the city with police officers standing next to him.

    He said he arrived home from Ottawa late Thursday afternoon and was “surprised” to find RCMP at his house. As he spoke, he said the RCMP were inside questioning his wife and children, adding he had not been questioned by police himself.

    “I don’t know what is going on,” he told CBC News. “The police haven’t told me anything.”

    “I don’t know why they’re at my home.”

    Asked if it would surprise him to hear police were conducting a national security investigation, he said “yes.”

    He said that as far as he knew his wife and children were not under arrest, but he hadn’t been able to reach them as their cellphones were off.

    Asked about the other address raided by police Thursday, the homeowner said he did not know anyone at that address.

    Canadian officials speaking on background told CBC News there was no imminent threat to public safety, and that the situation is contained.

    The operation also involved a Pilatus PC-12 RCMP surveillance plane that had been circling over Kingston at low altitudes in recent weeks for hours on end, creating a great deal interest from residents due to the noise.

    Officials said the operation has not led to a change in the country’s threat level.

    Spokespeople for both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice referred all questions to the RCMP.

    RCMP arrest two following raids in Kingston

    he Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested two individuals after two raids on houses in Kingston on Thursday afternoon.

    Not much information has been released as to the purpose behind the raids. A spokesperson with the RCMP stated their operations in the city are ongoing and that more information will be provided on Friday.

    “The RCMP and Kingston Police, confirm that police operations are taking place in Kingston,” said Cpl. Louise Savard said in an email to the Whig-Standard. “All actions are being taken to ensure public safety.”

    The posted that the same statement on Twitter. Kingston Police adding that they can assure “everyone there is no public safety issues to be concerned about.”

    The houses in question were on Kingsdale Avenue and Macdonnell Street. Kingston Police assisted the RCMP, providing traffic control and their emergency response unit.

    The two residential streets were closed for about two hours during the searches. Afterwards forensics officers from the RCMP remained on scene.

    The house on MacDonnell Street was recently sold by a local rental company.

    CTV News – 2 arrests in Kingston, Ont. linked to national security investigation

    Two people have been arrested in Kingston, Ont., in connection with a national security investigation involving the FBI.

    The RCMP, Kingston police and the FBI were all involved in the operations Thursday in what the RCMP described as an ongoing and evolving situation.

    Sources tell CTV News that the operation was connected to a national security investigation. However, there is “no imminent threat.”

    One of the two individuals arrested is a minor, according to sources. However, police have not identified either of the individuals arrested or provided information about possible charges.

    A plane seen flying over the area in recent days belonged to the RCMP and was connected to the case, sources said.

    For weeks, Kingston residents have noticed unusual aircraft in the night sky. Some residents have complained of a buzzing sound starting in the evening and continuing late into the night.

    When asked by CTV Toronto about the mysterious plane activity earlier this week, RCMP said that the agency has “multiple aircraft that support our mandate in Ontario and elsewhere in the country.”

    “To maintain the integrity of our investigations and operations, the location of our aircraft is not disclosed,” the RCMP said in a statement.

    The aircraft were not taking off or landing at Kingston’s local airport, according to the vice-president of the Kingston Flying Club.

    Kingston police tweeted Thursday that there were no threat to the public and that “all actions are being taken to ensure public safety.”

  11. Saudi Ritz-Carlton purge ‘creative and efficient’, says Morgan Stanley boss (mee, Jan 24, 2019)

    “The detention of scores of Saudi royals and businessmen in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton, where some were reportedly tortured, may be one of the most creative and efficient ways of tackling corruption, Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman said on Thursday.

    Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gorman, CEO and chairman of the major investment bank, said businesses should not be dissuaded from engaging with Saudi Arabia despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    “The murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was utterly unacceptable,” Gorman said as he responded to questions on a panel.

    “But what do you do? What part do you play in the process of economic and social change?”

    When probed about the detentions in the Ritz-Carlton, where more than 200 of the kingdom’s elite were held until they agreed to hand over a proportion of their assets to the government, Gorman said he did not judge any country’s attempts to root out corruption.

    Many of the country’s most powerful and successful businessmen were held in the luxury hotel, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has long had investments in major projects across the globe.

    Some of those detained were members of a branch of the Saudi royal family deemed a rival to the one in power.

    Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the son of the late King Abdullah and once seen as a possible crown prince, was tortured and beaten alongside other royals and businessmen, sources told Middle East Eye at the time.

    One Saudi general was reportedly tortured to death.

    Though framed as an anti-corruption drive, much of the cash raised from the detainees has flowed into the direct control of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the New York Times.

    A year ago, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said that more than $106bn had been seized from 381 Saudi citizens, but a Middle East Eye investigation revealed that the actual figure is likely to be much smaller.

    “There are many countries that are tackling corruption issues in lots of creative ways. That is certainly one of the most creative. You could argue one of the most efficient,” Gorman said, to laughter from the audience.

    Morgan Stanley has been approached for comment.

    Gorman was speaking at an event titled “Next Steps for Saudi Arabia” at the world’s premier economic conference that annually draws major world and business leaders.

    Alongside him on the panel were two Saudi ministers, the head of the kingdom’s stock exchange, and Patrick Pouyanne, CEO and chairman of French oil giant Total.

    Like Gorman, Pouyanne threw his weight behind Riyadh’s economic and social direction, saying, “it is quite difficult and brave what the kingdom is doing”.

    Foreign investment
    Since Mohammed bin Salman rose to power in 2017, Saudi Arabia has embarked on an economic and social reform plan known as Vision 2030 which aims to overhaul the national economy to end its dependency on oil exports.

    Part of the plan includes attracting foreign investment. However, overseas businesses have been circumspect about increasing Saudi investments following a number of high-profile developments that have impacted negatively on the kingdom’s image.

    Most prominent is the murder of Khashoggi, who in October was killed and dismembered by a team of Saudi operatives in his country’s consulate in Istanbul.

    Though Mohammed bin Salman has denied any knowledge of the plot, the CIA has concluded he almost certainly signed off on the operation.

    A few days after Khashoggi’s death, Riyadh hosted a major investment conference dubbed ‘”avos in the Desert”.

    As it became increasingly clear Khashoggi’s killing was a state-sponsored act, major world and business leaders pulled out.

    Pouyanne was not one of them, and on Thursday defended his actions saying “an assertive dialogue” is the best way for western companies to bring their values to the kingdom.

    “What is the alternative?” he asked. “Boycott?”

    “Boycott and sanctions only hurt ordinary people,” he added.

    Saudi government ‘sad’
    To Pouyanne’s right, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said the Saudi government was “absolutely sad” about Khashoggi’s killing.

    “Knock on any door in Saudi Arabia and people will tell you how sad they are,” he said, adding that what had happened had been “alien to our DNA” and “totally against our beliefs, culture and religion”.

    Despite Riyadh maintaining for days that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed as Turkey demanded answers, Jadaan said Saudi Arabia was the first party to open an investigation into the killing.

    He said that the kingdom’s trial of Saudis suspected of Khashoggi’s murder, which opened earlier this month, was its first ever public hearing. Those suspects have not been named.

    One of the key men implicated in the plot, top royal aide Saud al-Qahtani, apparently walks free and is said to be advising the crown prince still.

    “We will make sure justice prevails at the Khashoggi trials,” Jadaan said.

    The World Economic Forum had faced criticism before Thursday’s discussion over a blurb for the event on the WEF website which said that “Saudi Arabia’s national transformation plan encountered geopolitical and economic headwinds in 2018”.

    Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, accused the WEF of helping to “normalise” recent Saudi crimes and abuses.

    “Since this isn’t ‘Davos in the Desert’, it’s pretty strange that this Davos Forum is brushing over the shocking developments in Saudi Arabia over the past year,” Whitson told MEE.

    “As if hundreds of the country’s business and media leaders weren’t just arbitrarily jailed – with some tortured, one killed – and forced to forfeit their assets in a massive shakedown of $100bn, outside of any apparent legal process.”

    “Rather than holding Saudi officials to some modicum of accountability for the country’s outrageous assaults on its citizens,” she added, “WEF seems to be helping them normalise a very abnormal, condemnation-worthy, state of state affairs.”

    Gorman’s participation in the event was uncertain before he appeared on the panel.

    When approached by MEE to comment on the WEF event, Morgan Stanley spokesman Hugh Fraser said Gorman had never agreed nor confirmed he would appear on the panel.

    MEE’s email caused “great consternation”, he said, and Morgan Stanley demanded the WEF remove his name from the list of speakers on the panel.

    His name was then removed, however later in the day it reappeared.”

  12. Saudi women activists’ torture report: British MP’s seeking Riyadh’s co-operation (memo, Jan 24, 2019)

    “Allegations of torture and abuse of female activists in Saudi prisons became the subject of a high level investigation in the UK. The Detention Review Panel (DPR) – a cross?party group of British parliamentarians and international lawyers – opened an investigation into the detention and treatment of women activist detainees in Saudi Arabia earlier this year and are seeking cooperation from Riyadh to verify reports of gross human rights abuse in the kingdom’s prison.

    So far Riyadh has been unwilling to cooperate with the inquiry. On 2 January DPR sent a letter to the Saudi embassy requesting to visit female detainees in prison as part of its review into their detention and health conditions. During a press conference today in London, members of the group confirmed Riyadh’s failure to meet the 9 January deadline.

    The DRP, which was establish in 2018 and published its first report reviewing the detention and treatment of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, said the findings of the second review will be concluded at the end of the month. It will assess details of the allegations of ill-treatment of eight Saudi women activists and three male supporters currently being detained in Saudi Arabia. The group stated its intention to continue to review evidence that have been submitted so far but nevertheless remained ready to welcome new evidence from the Saudi government over the allegations despite their failure to meet the deadline…”

  13. Germany approves export of weapons systems to Qatar (memo, Jan 24, 2019)

    “The German government has approved the export to Qatar of four RAM naval missile systems developed by Germany and the United States, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers in a letter seen by Reuters.

    The January 23 letter did not provide the value of the deal, citing a 2014 court ruling that exempts such disclosures if it could harm companies’ ability to compete.

    Approval of the sale comes amid a halt in all weapons sales to Qatar’s rival Saudi Arabia imposed by Berlin after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    RAM is a ship-based rolling airframe missile that protects naval vessels against missiles, aircraft, helicopters and other ships. The sale also includes 85 dual-mode radar and infrared seekers that guide the missile into its target.

    The RAM system is manufactured and marketed by RAM-System GmBH, a joint venture of Germany’s Diehl and European missile maker MBDA, and US arms maker Raytheon Co. MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus, Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo.

    The missile system will be exported to Qatar via Italy, while the seekers will be exported through the United States, Altmaier said in his letter.

    Klaus Ernst, a member of the radical Left opposition party, blasted the German government’s decision, given continued concerns about security and human rights in the Gulf region.

    It is irresponsible of the German government to continue to approve arms sales to crisis regions.

    Germany last year announced plans to expand ties with Qatar, which pledged to invest 10 billion euros in the German economy.

    The RND newspaper chain, which first reported the latest arms sale to Qatar, said the RAM system had previously been sold by Germany to Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates…”

  14. No turning back for Iran’s hijab protesters despite crackdown (memo, Jan 24, 2019)

    “Women’s rights defenders in Iran will continue their fight against the forced wearing of the hijab this year despite a “sinister crackdown” by authorities in 2018 in which dozens were arrested, activists said on Thursday, reports Reuters.

    Iranian women took to the streets holding their hijabs aloft in protests at the strict dress code that quickly spread on social media last year, leading to a “bitter backlash” by authorities, Amnesty International said in a statement.

    “What the last year has shown is that people in Iran, especially women, are no longer afraid to go out and protest, whether in large numbers or through lone acts of protest,” said Mansoureh Mills, Amnesty International’s Iran researcher.

    “As the authorities try to clamp down on these peaceful acts of resistance, we are likely to see more and more women and men being arrested, detained and prosecuted for demanding their rights.”

    Tara Sepehri Far, Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the crackdown was driven by women increasingly “pushing the limits”.

    Women who are choosing to protest are aware of the risks and are choosing to do so because they want to see a change. I don’t think there is any turning back on these women’s issues – it will only grow.

    The remarks came in the same week two men were jailed for six years in Iran for supporting the campaign against the strict dress code, according to reports from two human rights groups.

    One is married to prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was detained after representing some of the women protesters in court and faces multiple charges.

    Her husband Reza Khandan, who had campaigned for his wife’s release, and Farhad Meysami, an activist, were sentenced to six years in prison according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

    “Iran wants to silence these men by jailing them for standing by women who want the hijab to be a choice, not a requirement,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of CHRI, in a statement.

    Under Iran’s Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested.

    Amnesty said nearly 100 female women’s rights activists were arrested or remained in detention in Iran during 2018.”

  15. Bosnian Muslims anger Serbs with name change plan, EU calls for calm (reuters, Jan 24, 2019)

    “A Muslim party said it would launch a legal bid to change the name of Bosnia’s Serb region, enraging all Serbian parties in the volatile country and prompting calls for calm from the European Union.

    The largest Bosnian Muslim party, SDA, said on Wednesday the name Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) discriminated against Bosniaks and Croats there, and it would challenge it in the constitutional court.

    Under the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, the country is split into two highly autonomous regions, the Serb-dominated Serb Republic and the Federation dominated by Muslim Bosniaks and Croats, linked via a weak central government.

    SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic said the legal challenge was a response to “intensified attacks on Bosnia and its integrity” by Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik.

    Dodik, who heads the Serb SNSD party, said the initiative was anti-constitutional and that Serbs will halt their work in the central government.

    “If the appeal is accepted, we will call a special session of the Republika Srpska National Assembly at which we will decide about the future status of the RS (Serb Republic),” Dodik said after meeting other Serb politicians. He currently chairs Bosnia’s inter-ethnic three-man presidency as its Serb member.

    The EU delegation in Bosnia issued a statement saying: “We call on all political parties to refrain from political maneuvers aimed at distracting attention from the real issues facing Bosnia.

    “Polarizing statements and actions … will not facilitate the formation of new authorities at a crucial moment for the country’s EU path,” the delegation added.

    Bosnia is hoping to become an EU candidate later this year…”

  16. Sudan protests death toll rises to 29: investigatory committee (reuters, Jan 24, 2019)

    “A 24-year-old man died of his wounds during protests in Sudan on Thursday, a governmental investigatory committee spokesman said.

    The death toll since protests broke out in Sudan on Dec. 19 is 29, the spokesman, Amer Mohamed Ibrahim, said.”

  17. Algerian TV producer dies after setting himself on fire (gulfnews, Jan 24, 2019)

    “An Algerian television producer died from severe burns Thursday more than two weeks after setting himself on fire over unpaid wages, his son said.

    Yousuf Goucem, 61, doused himself in flammable liquid and lit it in the offices of private channel Dzair TV on January 7 after claiming he had not been paid for work on a soap opera in 2017.

    His desperate act stirred emotions in Algeria, with a hundred professionals working in television and cinema decrying the “anxiety” they face on the job.

    Dzeir TV said it regretted “a commercial dispute that had unfortunately turned into a drama” in a statement after Goucem set himself ablaze.

    The channel said Goucem had been reassured by the outlet’s new boss that his claim was being processed.”

  18. EU, AU to Increase Institutional Cooperation on ‘Shared Challenges’ (moroccoworldnews, Jan 24, 2019)

    “Officials from the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have reaffirmed their common desire to strengthen ties to face their shared challenges.

    Speaking on Tuesday, January 22, at the first AU-EU ministerial summit in Brussels, Frederica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, said that Europe needs to bolster cooperation with Africa.

    “Africa and Europe are closer than ever in today’s complex world,” Mogherini at a press conference after the Brussels meeting. She added, “We all want a stronger and more prosperous Africa with more quality jobs for the youth, more inclusive societies, and peace and security for all.”

    The sentiment echoed trendy rhetoric in policy circles in the European Union…”

  19. Turkish asylum applications to Germany increased by 25 percent: Report (hurriyetdailynews, Jan 24, 2019)

    “The number of asylum applications by Turkish nationals in Germany increased to 10,655 in 2018, marking an increase of about 25 percent compared to 2017, Deutsche Welle Turkish has reported.

    This figure was recorded as 8,483 in 2017, the report said, basing the figures on the German Interior Ministry data released on Jan. 23.

    German government figures show that a total of 185,853 asylum applications were lodged in 2018 — a 16 percent drop from the previous year. Of those claims, around 161,931 came from first-time applicants, while just under 24,000 were follow-up requests.

    Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who presented the asylum data along with the government’s 2016-2017 migration report in Berlin, said a “steady decline” over the past two years indicated policy measures to restrict migration were working.

    The fall in applications was due to stricter border controls but also international agreements such as a pact with Turkey to limit refugee flows into the European Union, he added.

    The applicants included 32,000 infants under the age of one who were born in Germany to asylum-seeking mothers, Seehofer said.

    Syrians remained by far the largest group of applicants with 46,000, followed by Iraqis and Afghans, who numbered 18,000 and 12,000 respectively.

    Turkish nationals came sixth on the list with 10,655 applicants after Iran and Nigeria respectively.

    Immigration remains a contentious topic in Germany, four years after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to welcome a record 890,000 asylum applicants.

    The latest figures show that Merkel’s government has met its target to limit the number of asylum seekers to between 180,000 and 220,000 a year.

    Germany has also been granting asylum to fewer applicants. Last year around 35 percent of applications were positive, down from 43 percent in 2017.”

  20. US issues fresh sanctions on Iranian-linked groups (aa, Jan 24, 2019)

    “The U.S. on Thursday issued sanctions against two foreign fighter militias tied to Iran and an Iranian civilian airline accused of carrying weapons to Syria.

    The Treasury Department designated the two militias as the Fatemiyoun Division, which is composed of Afghan nationals, and the Zaynabiyoun Brigade, consisting of Pakistani nationals.

    The U.S. says the militias are based in Syria and led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), mostly comprised of Afghan and Pakistani refugees and migrants residing in Iran.

    The groups are being sanctioned because they provided material support to the IRGC, according to the Treasury Department.

    “Treasury’s targeting of Iran-backed militias and other foreign proxies is part of our ongoing pressure campaign to shut down the illicit networks the regime uses to export terrorism and unrest across the globe,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

    The department also designated the Iranian airline Qeshm Fars Air for being owned or controlled by the already U.S.-sanctioned Iranian airline Mahan Air.

    The U.S. said Qeshm Fars Air is accused of supporting IRGC proxies by transporting weapons and personnel to Syria.

    The Armenian-based Flight Travel LLC was also placed under sanctions for working under Mahan Air to provide marketing and financial services to the airline.

    The new batch of sanctions come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo completed his Middle East tour, where he stressed Washington will continue to maintain pressure on Tehran even as they withdraw troops from Syria.”

  21. Rat colonies near Vatican Museums, Castel Sant’Angelo (ansa, Jan 24, 2019)

    “There are “colonies” of rats near the Vatican Museums and Castel Sant’Angelo, the municipal council for the centre of Rome said Thursday.

    Other central areas are also affected, said the opposition Democratic Party-led (PD) council.”

  22. Italy: Court rules far-right leader Salvini can be charged with kidnapping (DW, Jan 24, 2019)

    “Prosecutors in Sicily say Interior Minister Matteo Salvini held 177 migrants hostage by stranding them on a ship. The European Council has expressed concern about xenophobia in Italy.

    A court in Sicily ruled on Thursday that Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini can be charged with kidnapping after he prevented refugees from disembarking an Italian coast guard ship in August. “I confess,” Salvini said in a video posted to his Facebook page, “there is no need for a trial. It’s true, I did it and I’d do it again.”

    “I risk 3 to 15 years in prison for blocking illegal landings in Italy. I have no words,” wrote Salvini, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Lega (League) party, which now rules Italy in a coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

    Salvini also claimed on Facebook that #SaliviniNonMollare (“Salvini, don’t give up”) was the top trending hashtag on Italian Twitter, but many of the tweets were English-language posts declaring solidarity with Italian nationalists.

    EU: Italian politicians’ ‘incitement to hatred’

    The charges against the interior minister were launched by prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Catania, who say that Salvini effectively held 177 migrants hostage when he refused to allow them off the Italian vessel Ubaldo Diciotti, which had rescued them in the Mediterranean. After nearly a week trapped on the boat, Ireland, Albania, and the Catholic Church agreed to resettle the refugees, most of whom had fled conflict and poverty in Eritrea.

    Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, has pursued a series of hardline immigration policies that went into effect in December, known as “Salvini’s decree.” Part of the new laws include the shuttering of Italy’s refugee centers and mass deportations.

    According to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, on Wednesday, a report about Italy published by the European Council expressed “concern” about the increase in “incitement to hatred by politicians, particularly in the media and on the internet.” France has also voiced its worries that Italy is abandoning its Europe principles, prompting Salvini to demand President Emmanuel Marcon step down, a major breach of diplomatic codes between two EU members states.

    Due to his position, Italy’s parliament must now decide whether to allow Salvini to go to trial or to postpone the process. It remains to be seen whether coalition partners M5S will stand behind the interior minister, considering their roots as anti-corruption left-wing populists.”

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