Contributor’s Links post for February 15th, 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

149 Replies to “Contributor’s Links post for February 15th, 2019”

  1. Dozens of bodies found in north-west Nigeria (BBC, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Officials in north-west Nigeria have reported the discovery of the bodies of 66 people, 22 of them children and 12 women, killed by “criminal elements”.

    The victims were found in eight villages in the Kujuru area of Kaduna state, the state government said.

    Security forces have made arrests, state governor Nasir El-Rufai said.

    He called on communities to avoid reprisal attacks but did not identify suspects or give reasons for the killings.

    Four injured people were rescued by security forces and are receiving medical attention, the authorities said.

    The discovery was reported on Friday – just one day before the country goes to the polls for an election.

    President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, is seeking another term as leader in the ballot.

    The local government has urged residents to “uphold peace and harmony” and “shun violence” for Saturday’s vote.

    “The killings are being investigated and residents are assured that indicted persons will be prosecuted,” a state government statement said.”

  2. Al Gore’s Global Warming Deliberate Fraud to Increase Governmental Power

    There is a serious question that no one wants to address. How did Al Gore create the global warming scare and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in the process? Before Al Gore, science was worried deeply about what we are experiencing today — global cooling. On April 28, 1975, Newsweek magazine published an article in which they sounded the alarm bell and proposed solutions to deliberately melt the ice caps:

  3. General Joseph Votel breaks rank with Trump over Syria (BBC, Feb 15, 2019)

    “The top US general in the Middle East has said he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria.

    Gen Joseph Votel told CNN that IS militants were still active in Syria and US-backed forces were not yet capable of handling the threat alone.

    The commander told the Senate last week that Mr Trump did not consult him ahead of announcing his Syria pull-out plans.

    He is the latest US official to break with Mr Trump over his Syria policies.

    During his Friday address from the White House Rose Garden, the president said he would have an update on Syria within the next 24 hours…”

    • US general recommends arming, aiding Syrian fighters after pullout (memo, Feb 15, 2019)

      “The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned US withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Daesh, a senior US general told Reuters on Friday.

      The recommendation by Army General Joseph Votel, who oversees US forces in the Middle East as head of Central Command, is one of the strongest signs yet of US military hopes for an enduring partnership with the SDF despite the concerns of NATO ally Turkey, which says Kurdish SDF fighters are terrorists.

      “As long as they are fighting against ISIS and continue to keep pressure on them, I think it would seem to me to be in our interest to continue to provide the means for them to do that,” Votel said in an interview, using an acronym for Daesh…”

  4. Islamic State group plans to rebound with more attacks – MI6 (BBC, Feb 15, 2019)

    “The head of MI6 has warned that the Islamic State group is reorganising for more attacks despite its military defeat in Syria.

    Alex Younger, the UK’s intelligence chief, also told of his concern about jihadists returning to Europe with “dangerous” skills and connections.

    They should expect to be investigated and possibly prosecuted, he said.

    His comments come after Shamima Begum, a teenager who ran away to join IS, said she wants to return to the UK…”

  5. Richard: I wonder how much of that went into Erdogan’s bank account? He needs to start thinking about an overseas retirement and a large retirement fund.

    Mysterious Turkish firm helped Maduro move $900 million in gold out of Venezuela
    Bloomberg February 14, 2019

    [Ed. – The timing certainly doesn’t look…mysterious. Transactions like this can’t happen without the knowledge and approval of the Erdogan regime.]

    Mysterious Turkish Firm Helped Maduro Move $900 Million in Gold

    Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence.

    The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years. The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey.

  6. the gateway pundit – Andrew McCabe Panics – Walks Back “60 Minutes” Remarks on Talks to Oust Trump Via 25th Amendment

    […]Melissa Schwartz, Comms Director for the Bromwich Group and spokeswoman for Andrew McCabe released a statement Friday morning claiming her client, McCabe, was “taken out of context and misrepresented.”

    “Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,” the statement read.

    McCabe’s spox added, “To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions. He was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein regarding the 25th Amendment.”

    […]Rosenstein previously denied reports he planned to wear a wire and oust Trump from office as “inaccurate and factually incorrect” — on Thursday, the Justice Department released a statement reiterating Rod Rosenstein’s denial he plotted to remove President Trump.

    “The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment,” a DOJ spox said on Thursday.

    McCabe is walking back his remarks after prominent conservatives came out and called it what it is — AN ATTEMPTED COUP.

    Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said on Thursday he is seeking testimony from both Andrew McCabe and DAG Rod Rosenstein to “fully explain how and why a FISA warrant was issued against Carter Page and answer questions about what appears to be, now more than ever, bias against President Trump.”

  7. Religion vs. Free Speech

    by Denis MacEoin
    February 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Speaking and writing about Islam today requires discretion, sensitivity, and a good grasp of facts. Doing this is harder in most European countries than it is in the United States, where the First Amendment insists on powerful free speech rights. The need for sensitivity stems from the almost universal condemnation of “Islamophobia”, a mainly good-hearted response to democratic worries that innocent Muslims may be targeted with violence or hate speech, even as many (but far from all) seek to integrate themselves and their families into Western society.

    Raw Islamophobia, like raw prejudice by and against any group, is of course racist, unacceptable and most often expressed by hate groups on the far right of politics. At the same time, it is not surprising that many people will build their attitudes towards Muslims on a perception prompted by Islamist terror attacks, radical Muslim antagonism to Western societies, or uneasiness about Muslims who choose to dress in ways that do not conform to Western norms. The confusion caused also creates problems for many people who have reasonable concerns about Islam as a religion and a political ideology.

    • Gatestone bend over backwards not to offend and refuse totally to admit that “peaceful muslims” still aid, abet, shelter and subsidize all jihadis. The two exceptions they point out are so rare that they virtually prove that point. No sensible muslim will betray islam as they know just what it will cost them and their family and the fact that there are still apostates is an index to their courage. There is no doubt in my mind that there are decent muslims but like the good Germans in WW2 we can no longer afford the luxury of distinguishing between them. The war is with islam.

      • Gatestone bend over backwards not to offend and refuse totally to admit that “peaceful muslims” still aid, abet, shelter and subsidize all jihadis.

        So-called “Moderate Muslims” are the ocean in which all of the jihadi terrorist fish swim. Full stop.

        What NOBODY wants to admit is that the two groups are interdependent. Without all those who, “aid, abet, shelter and subsidize” them, jihadists barely would get beyond their borders.

        Far fewer people understand just how much legal-immunity, unique host nation concessions (e.g., footbaths in airport employee gowning areas, dedicated prayer areas at schools, etc.), and privileges or protections enjoyed by NO other faith devolve upon Muslims because the unspoken threat of Islamic terrorism cows those who might otherwise insist upon equal application of the law.

        It’s, heads Islam wins, tails we lose.

        Make no mistake, all Muslim exhibitions of outrage or indignation over jihadist slaughter are just that, pretentious and insincere displays meant only for public consumption and not privately held.

        There is no better example of this than the 2002 Bali Bombing. In late 2008, after the killers were executed for this atrocity, the bodies were returned to their home villages. There was wide spread fury over these executions.

        Absent in their rural fulminations was any grief or regret over the almost two hundred non-Muslim lives lost on October the twelfth in 2002. Any of the limited anger and condemnation directed at these heinous cretins is solely because their horrific mass-murder took Muslim lives.

        Long ago, the memory hole erased momentary global outrage over the general lack of embarrassment about such an outcry over fewer than twenty Muslim deaths (as compared to almost 200 non-Muslims).

        THIS is what to expect from Muslims and Islam. Nothing will change until terrorists magically begin wearing hemp neckties outside every mosque around the planet.

        Cleaning their own house (instead of laughing uncontrollably at the West’s inept bumbling) is all that will prevent unendurably provoked Infidels from incinerating all Muslim life on earth.

        If it isn’t America or Europe who does this, it WILL be Israel, India, Red China, Russia, or some other intolerably enraged country (like Japan or Korea) that goes nuclear explicitly to eradicate the Islamic threat for once and all time.

  8. Trump demands California return $3.5 billion in funds for state’s ‘disaster’ bullet train project

    President Donald Trump late Wednesday demanded California return the $3.5 billion it received from the federal government for a “disaster” high-speed rail project.

    “California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” Trump tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!”

    The $77 billion bullet train project, a planned system linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, has faced cost overruns and delays. California Gov. Gavin Newsom at his first state of the state address Tuesday announced a scale back of the high-speed rail project, saying the current plan “would cost too much and take too long.”

    • This is my reply from over at GoV:

      How are you going to have a Green New Deal centered around high speed rail that will eliminate the need for airplanes when liberals can’t even build high speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco?

      This is very unfair. Idiotic as California politics may be, it is the HSR (High Speed Rail) project analysts that need to experience extended sessions of regular and intensive parking lot therapy.

      The SF-LA corridor is one of the most congested in the entire world. As an example, passenger jet flights are required to have clearance-to-land before takeoff. Seemingly, that would make the route ideal for HSR.

      Not so. The two major northern HSR termini, San Francisco and state capitol Sacramento, are spread nearly 100 miles (160 km) apart with an intervening mountain range and major body of inland water (SF bay) with no economically (i.e., well-populated) advantageous place between the two for bifurcating the main line.

      NOTE: — According to the Amtrak locomotive engineer (train captain) that I talked with personally about this, HSR usually is aligned with preexisting right-of-ways. In the case of California, that would be the state’s (relaxed speed limit) north-south artery, Interstate 5.

      HSR economy-of-scale benefits from already built, limited-access infrastructure (interchanges, overpasses, physical barriers, ramps, etc.). However, relatively straight-line I5 arrows neither towards SF nor Sacramento. Instead, it neatly splits the middle using the least expensive land and avoiding most noise restrictions.

      This dilemma allowed Sackamenna’s pork barrel artistes to boondoggle the project by, essentially, creating a railroad to nowhere between Los Angeles and Sacramento (rarely traveled, except by politicians). —

      While the main line does finally bifurcate (in the hinterland between Madera and Merced), it spends most of its time paralleling state highway 99 some 50 miles due east of I5. State 99 is NOT limited-access and will require massive refits to eliminate all crossing grades (mandatory for HSR).
      Furthermore, if property developers follow the status quo, they will build “out” (sprawl) instead of “up” (higher density multi-unit dwellings). This will see HSR-proximate residential housing tracts spreadeagled over some of America’s finest agricultural land, BAR NONE.

      It is this not-really-a-comedy of errors and highly fatted pork that makes the entire gold-plated money pit into such a farce. Whichever consulting project managers forecast this fiasco’s budget deserve to face criminal charges for fraud. A fact reflected in the line’s insane cost increases.

      The in-progress Central Valley track block is up by 35 percent to $10.6 billion. That segment is currently under construction. Overall cost of the project has ballooned from the original $25 billion to nearly $67 billion (or more) making it the most expensive public-works project ever planned by a single U.S. state.

      The tunnels alone represent one of the lengthiest networks in the world and will traverse the North American and Pacific tectonic plates assuring that progress for the boring machines will be halved.

      Sadly, major cities without HSR will become like towns without an airport. And, sure enough, just as that Amtrak engineer predicted, the project is now mired down in property rights acquisition, infrastructure revamps and a host of other problems that the central contractor should have learned from decades of mismanaging Boston’s Big Dig.



    Für diese Liebe habe ich alles aufgegeben!

    Mona (45) und Hamza (24) sind schwer verliebt. Eine Liebe, die oft auf Unverständnis stößt

    Mannheim – Mona (45) ist verliebt. In den 21 Jahre jüngeren Flüchtling Hamza. In BILD erzählt das ungleiche Paar, wie teuer sie diese Liebe bezahlen.

    Gegen den Willen seiner Eltern ist Hamza Rezgui (24) vor einem Jahr aus Tunesien nach Deutschland gekommen. Umgerechnet 600 Euro hat er einem Schlepper bezahlt – für eine vier Tage lange Überfahrt in einem kleinen Boot nach Italien. Er versteckt sich in einem Zug Richtung München, beantragt Asyl in Karlsruhe, wird in den Mannheimer Spinelli-Barracks untergebracht. Dort arbeitet Mona Diemel (45), die Mutter zweier erwachsener Söhne (22/25) im Sicherheitsdienst.

    Mona erinnert sich: „Er war anders als die anderen, bescheiden, freundlich. Ich habe mich sofort in sein Lächeln und seine Augen verliebt!“

    Die beiden verabreden sich über Facebook, treffen sich in Monas kleiner Wohnung, kommunizieren anfangs nur über ein Text-Übersetzungsprogramm.

    Und nicht nur das: Nachbarn rufen die Polizei, wenn die beiden auf dem Balkon sitzen. Ihre beste Freundin kommt nicht mehr vorbei. Beide Söhne brechen den Kontakt zur Mutter ab. „Sie befürchten, Hamza will mich nur, um hier bleiben zu dürfen“, sagt Mona. Sie selbst habe dieses Gefühl natürlich auch gehabt – und ganz weg ginge das wohl nie.

    Dennoch wollen die beiden jetzt heiraten, obwohl gerade das für Hamza die Abschiebung bedeuten könnte. Das Standesamt Mannheim verlangt für die Eheschließung einen tunesischen Reisepass, den der 24-Jährige über die Botschaft beantragt hat. Tunesien gilt als „sicheres Herkunftsland“ – sobald den Behörden ein offizielles Dokument seiner Herkunft vorliegt, könnte er sofort zurückgeschickt werden.

    Für Hamza ein furchtbarer Gedanke: „Ich will bei Mona bleiben, sie ist meine große Liebe!“

  10. School Division looks into social media post insulting Justin Trudeau

    Prairie Rose School Division says it’s investigating an incident where a teacher posted a photo to Facebook insulting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    The photo was taken after an “I Love to Read Month” event at the kindergarten to grade 12 school in Miami, Man.

    Conservative MP Candice Bergen was at the event, and the school’s physical education teacher Brent Unrau tells CTV News he asked for the photo as she was on her way out while Unrau was in between classes. In it, the two hold signs that together read: “Trudeau is just the worst.”

    Speaking with CTV News by phone, Unrau said in hindsight he should not have posted the photo and that he removed it from social media after about three hours. He went on to say that he doesn’t consider himself political and that he was not trying to push a political agenda on any students.

    Bergen also posted the photo to her Instagram account with the caption:

    Constituent: “If I make a sign that says how I feel about Justin Trudeau, would you hold one of them with me and share it?”

    Me: “Of course, a lot of people feel the same way you do Brent!”

    When asked about the decision to take the photo in a school full of students, a representative for Bergen’s office wrote:

    “As a Member of Parliament, MP Bergen is often asked to reflect her constituents’ views including their increasing frustration with Justin Trudeau’s record as prime minister. Ms. Bergen’s commentary that accompanied the attached Instagram post speaks for itself. She has nothing further to add.”

    The Instagram post has since been deleted.

    A Miami resident echoed some of Bergen’s sentiments. Tina Waldner’s children all go to Miami School, and while she said the post surprised her, she told CTV News she also found it humourous.

    “I kind of chuckled at first. I mean a lot of us maybe carry the same opinion. It was just pretty bold,” said Waldner.

    Waldner also said it was important to remember that in a social media age many people tend to post in the moment.

    “We ought to give grace on that,” said Waldner.

    “And we have to realize that everybody kind of has different opinions and that’s ok.”

    Kerri Wiebe attended Miami School growing up and reached out to the school division after seeing the post, saying a teacher should be non-partisan and should not endorse any political candidate on school grounds. Wiebe also took her concerns to Twitter regarding Bergen taking the photo after a school event.

    “As an MP she should be setting an example for children, and doing this childish name calling in a school — she should have known better,” said Wiebe.

    Miami School is part of the Prairie Rose School Division. In a statement to CTV News, the division’s superintendent wrote:

    “The division has recently become aware of an employee who engaged in political activity social media posting with MP Candice Bergen while she was visiting one of our schools for I Love To Read Month. This interaction occurred after the planned events and was an unscheduled meeting/interaction. The posting does not reflect the views of the division and the division does not condone this type of political partisanship.

    The division is investigating this incident.”

    • Latest: Coroner’s Office: at Least 1 Dead in Aurora Shooting
      A spokesman for the coroner’s office says at least one person is dead following a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago.

      AURORA, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on a shooting at a business in Aurora, Illinois (all times local):

      4 p.m.

      A spokesman for the coroner’s office says at least one person is dead following a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago.

      Kane County coroner’s office spokesman Chris Nelson says at least one person was killed in the attack Friday afternoon at the Henry Pratt Co. building in Aurora.

      City spokesman Clayton Muhammad earlier told ABC7 that the suspect had been “neutralized.” He did not elaborate.

      Muhammad also says four officers were wounded in the shooting and are in stable condition.

      Muhammad did not say the officers had been shot or if anyone else was hurt.

      Aurora is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

  11. Shooting reported at manufacturing plant near Chicago; multiple people reported shot

    AURORA, Ill. —

    Police are responding to a manufacturing plant near Chicago in an incident where multiple people have been reported shot.

    Police responded to Henry Pratt Co., located west of Chicago, for a report of an active shooter, according to WMAQ-TV.

    According to city officials, the shooter has been apprehended. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the gunman is in custody.

    • Yes it was, this is an emergency and the left knows it. The only reason they refuse to admit this is pure politics, they are putting their political party, their political power above what is best for the nation and the citizens.

      • Wave goodbye to what was once relatively common and something that made America great in the first place. It’s gone from both sides of the aisle but especially so on the Left:


        • Another thing that is long gone is the peaceful exchange of power. The Dems are going all out to find anything they can use to indict Trump and once they get control of both the Executive and Legislative branches they will manufacture evidence.

          • Another thing that is long gone is the peaceful exchange of power.

            That is a truly disturbing prospect as it would likely damn this country to some level of Third World governance. Should that happen to the USA, such a loss of potential advancement would be a crime against all humanity (not just Americans).

  12. Men Can Be Mothers in UK, While French Schools Erase Terms ‘Father,’ ‘Mother’ (breitbart, Feb 15, 2019)

    “A UK government lawyer has said that “mother” is no longer a gender specific term preserved only for women.

    The comments were made during a High Court hearing where a ‘transgender’ man born a woman gave birth to a child and is seeking to be named the father, rendering the baby legally motherless, reports The Telegraph.

    Government lawyers earlier in the hearing referenced civil servants who had suggested the parent, referred to as ‘TT’, could be named on the child’s birth certificate as “male mother.”

    Ben Jaffey QC, representing government ministers, cited this document and said, “the status of a mother is no longer gender specific.”

    “Being a mother is no longer necessarily a gendered term. A man can be and, in this case of TT, is a mother. He has chosen to give birth to and lovingly raise a child,” Mr Jaffey said.

    A Home Office source also told the newspaper, “A change in gender does not affect a person’s status as the mother or father of a child.”

    The hearing is ongoing, and if the child is determined ‘motherless’ and the parent the ‘father’ or the court agrees with the British civil servants that the parent can be identified as a “male mother” — removing motherhood from the privilege of biological womanhood — it could result in changes to British legislation.

    Meanwhile, France’s National Assembly voted on Tuesday to replace ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with “parent 1” and “parent 2” on school paperwork as part of sweeping progressive reforms aimed to make schools more inclusive of “homoparental” families.

    The amendment was put forward by MP Valérie Petit who is a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche! (LREM/Republic on the Move) party, Ms Petit explaining the amendment was intended to “anchor in law family diversity and a desire not to deny the existence of homoparental families.”

    “We have families who find themselves facing boxes frozen in social and family models which are a little outdated. Today, no one should feel excluded by some backward thinking. For us, this article is a measure of social equality,” said fellow LREM MP Jennifer de Temmerman.

    Establishment-right Republican MP Xavier Breton denounced the amendment as “politically correct thinking that does not correspond to reality.”

    “When I hear that it is an outdated model, I remind you that today, in unions, marriages, or civil partnerships, more than 95 per cent are male-female couples ,” he said.

    The National Assembly also voted this week to may it law that all classrooms must display both the French and European Union flags, with those on the populist-right objecting to the mandatory Brussels flag as “unconstitutional.””

  13. Burkina Faso army doctor killed by bomb hidden in corpse near Djibo (thedefensepost, Feb 15, 2019)

    “A bomb hidden in a corpse dressed in military uniform killed an army doctor and wounded two police officers in northern Burkina Faso, a security official told AFP on Thursday.

    Soldiers and police were sent to inspect the male body after it was discovered abandoned on a road in the town of Djibo near the border with Mali, according to the source.

    The doctor “died in the explosion of a booby-trapped dead body containing an improvised explosive device,” he said.

    “The bomb was detonated by an attempt to turn the body over, directly killing the army doctor and wounding two other team members” on Tuesday, the official added…”

    • “The bomb was detonated by an attempt to turn the body over, directly killing the army doctor and wounding two other team members” on Tuesday, the official added…”

      These people really need to spend more time drinking beer and watching old WWII Pacific Theater movies. That way they might learn about the rude Japanese habit of dying soldiers flattening their prone bodies over an unpinned grenade.

      After all, this totally surprising move was invented only about a century ago.

  14. North Macedonia thwarted a ‘terrorist’ plot, Ministry of Internal Affairs says (thedefensepost, Feb 15, 2019)

    “North Macedonia authorities prevented a planned “terrorist act” by supporters of Islamic State, the Balkan state’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement Friday, February 15.

    “In order to disrupt the terrorist attack and accomplish the preventive function, the Ministry of the Interior drafted a plan of measures and activities, thus providing appropriate orders for their implementation,” the ministry said.

    Authorities said they exchanged intelligence information with a “partner nation” regarding the potential plans and intentions of ISIS supporters to carry out a terrorist act.

    To thwart the attack, authorities carried out searches in several locations and seized “objects and devices related to the possible attack, the statement said.

    “The Ministry of Interior continues to implement actions, measures and activities that are working to ensure the safety of citizens,” the ministry noted.

    According to a 2016 estimate, around 150 Macedonian nationals travelled to fight alongside jihadists in Iraq and Syria. Most hailed from Macedonia’s ethnic-Albanian minority, who make up around a quarter of the 2.1 million population.

    The flow of jihadists from the Balkan region to Iraq and Syria slowed significantly in 2016.

    Last May, eight Muslim extremists were convicted of plotting a terror attack in neighboring Albania on Israeli footballers and fans during a 2016 World Cup qualifier.

    Previously known solely as Macedonia, the Balkan state this month added “North” to its name as part of a deal to end a long-running diplomatic row with Greece.”

  15. Egypt Thwarts Bomb Attack on Security Forces in Giza (aawsat, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Egyptian authorities thwarted an attempt to target security forces with a home-made bomb in Cairo’s western Giza district on Friday, the interior ministry said.

    It said members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood had targeted a security patrol near al-Istiqama mosque, and that explosives experts had dismantled the device. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

    Two local security sources told Reuters that a device exploded during an attempt to defuse it. Videos circulating on social media showed a blast in a cordoned-off area under a large concrete bridge.

    The sources said two policemen and three civilians suffered minor injuries from the blast and that two other devices had been defused nearby.

    Police sealed off the entire district and diverted traffic as security forces searched for the culprits.”

  16. Al-Sudais: Kingdom, Muslim nations target of disparaging media campaign (saudigazette, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Muslim countries in general and the Kingdom in particular are witnessing a disparaging media campaign via satellite channels and websites these days, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, Imam and Khateeb of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, as saying in his Friday sermon here.

    This necessitates that all must unify their ranks and stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of this wild media frenzy and repulse whoever tries to undermine the Muslim countries or the security of the Two Holy Mosques, Al-Sudais asserted.

    Al-Sudais added: “The brilliant and prudent youth of the Muslim Ummah should not allow themselves to be deceived by these media campaigns and tendentious rumors, as their aim is nothing but to destroy society, cause its disintegration and undermine its security and stability.”

    At the conclusion of the khutba, he supplicated to Allah Almighty to protect “the country of the Two Holy Mosques” (Bilad Al-Haramain), its creed (Aqeedah), leadership, security, and safety.

    He also prayed that Allah Almighty may safeguard the Ummah in general from the machinations of the enemies lying in wait for it.

    Sheikh Al-Sudais said: “A person who contemplates on the history of the Ummah will notice that most of the time Muslims are preoccupied by differences among themselves in good times when peace prevails, a state of relaxation and profuse intellectual creativity are replete.

    “However, these differences dwindle when the Ummah is faced by a looming danger or an enemy lying in wait for them. They then resort to focusing on matters of top priority and are keen to maintain and protect their internal unity to counter the external enemy.”

    “All the people cannot be the same due to the difference in their levels of understanding and will. The difference among human beings can be positive and leads to diversity. But what is undesirable is that diversity should not lead to discord, partisanship, sectarianism, and animosity due to difference in ideas or school of religious thought.

    “There should be no war of words, being suspicious about one another or any bloodletting. Whatever the differences, their main goal should be to obey Allah Almighty and His Prophet (peace be upon him). They should treat one another with compassion and fraternity. Harmony and cohesion should prevail among them,” Sheikh Al-Sudais stressed.

    Al-Sudais criticized the prevailing indulgence in materialism in this era.

    Meanwhile, in his Friday sermon, Sheikh Abdulbari Al-Thubaiti, Imam and Khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, focused on the concept of “Emarat Al-Masajid” which encompasses building mosques and furnishing, maintaining, repairing, cleaning and keeping them neat and tidy”

  17. Sudanese policeman dies from wounds after protesters stone vehicle (memo, Feb 15, 2019)

    “A Sudanese policeman has died from his wounds after protesters threw stones at a police vehicle passing close to demonstrations in the capital Khartoum, a police spokesman said on Friday, Reuters reports.

    The vehicle was passing the area by chance late on Thursday, the spokesman said, adding that a number of suspects had been arrested.

    The case brings the official death toll during protests that have spread since Dec. 19 across Sudan to 32, including three security personnel. An opposition-linked doctors’ syndicate said last week that 57 people had been killed in the protests.

    “The vehicle was pelted with stones, and they were police returning from training and had no link to the dispersal of the unrest,” said police spokesman Hashem Ali…”

  18. Iran confirms second failed satellite launch: NBC News (reuters, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Iran bid to launch a second satellite in the past two months has failed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with NBC News published on Friday.

    Its effort to launch a satellite last month also failed. Despite both failures, Zarif’s confirmation is likely to raise tensions with the United States, which is concerned the long-range ballistic technology used to send satellites into space could also be used to launch warheads.

    A representative for the U.S. National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Iran views its space program as a matter of national pride. Tehran has denied that the space vehicle launches and missile tests violated a U.N. Security Council resolution.

    Last month, Iran said a satellite it tried to launch did not reach adequate speed and failed. Iran’s telecommunications ministry said at the time that the satellite, named Payam, was intended to be used for imaging and communications purposes for about three years.

    Iran launched its first domestically-built satellite in 2009, on the country’s 30th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. This month, Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

    Iran’s Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment on the NBC News report which was widely quoted by Iranian news outlets, including the state news agency IRNA.”

  19. Taliban: We are not against modern technology (gulfnews, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Fighting “fake” news, wrestling with social media, and deploying an intern army — the Taliban’s sprawling propaganda machine embraces modernity even as the group vows to enforce Islamist controls on journalists if it returns to power.

    Notorious for banning TV and radio under its iron-fisted 1996-2001 regime, the militants have proven surprisingly deft at adapting to the ever-changing nature of modern media.

    The Taliban’s official spokesman now tweets real-time updates about battlefield operations and its media arm stays in direct contact with journalists on a range of messaging apps.

    “Media is considered one side of the struggle,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP via Whatsapp.

    “We are not against modern technology,” a senior Taliban source with links to the insurgents’ media wing told AFP.

    “This is the need of the hour and using it is not against Islamic Sharia.”

    But the source admits his team struggles at times to control their own narrative.

    High-profile interviews have taken place without the media wing’s knowledge, sparking hurried denials along with confusion over the identity of the interviewee and whether he can really claim to speak for the Taliban.

    Unverified leaks to media outlets from alleged Taliban sources are frequent.

    Fake or unauthorised accounts sprout often on social media, while their official Facebook pages and Twitter handles are regularly banned only to be restarted under another name.

    Even the official spokesman, Mujahid, is widely believed to be not one man but a moniker used by the information wing to issue statements.

    The operation can be dizzying, admits the Taliban source.

    Truth greater than fiction
    The increasingly refined production has not gone unnoticed, with Nato regularly briefing top officials on Taliban content.

    “It gives us an idea of what the group is thinking about that day,” said Colonel Knut Peters, spokesman for Nato’s Resolute Support mission in Kabul.

    The casualty figures they release are often wildly exaggerated, but the group has been known to describe their operations more accurately, with fewer outlandish battlefield claims.

    “The Taliban have discovered that truth has a greater impact than fiction,” said Graeme Smith, a consultant for International Crisis Group.

    Journalists said insurgents are also often more responsive than the government.

    “When a journalist was killed in Farah province, (a few) weeks back, I wrote to the Taliban spokesman, and I got the reply in minutes,” said A. Mujeeb Khalvatgar, the director of an Afghan media support group, who said he is still waiting for a statement from the president’s office.

    Information remains difficult to verify, however. Pakistani senior journalist Tahir Khan, who showed AFP a stream of messages, photos and voice notes from the Taliban on his mobile phone, said the information was “not usually correct”.

    But in a campaign like this, the battle for the truth might not matter. “This war … one major factor is psychological propaganda,” he added.

    Its value is demonstrated by how high the media operation goes.

    The Taliban leadership gives orders to a handful of high-ranking militants responsible for the group’s media strategy, the militant source said.

    They work across five different language services — Pashto, Dari, English, Urdu and Arabic — with dozens of volunteers who produce multimedia content.

    Print magazines target rural audiences without mobile phones, while slick propaganda videos and songs reach the illiterate.

    The army of interns include journalism school students, along with IT experts who monitor the latest trends, the source claimed.

    “They are servants of God, volunteers,” he said.

    Code of conduct
    The Islamists maintained strict control over media during their brutal rule. Most foreign journalists fled the country, while Afghan reporters often worked undercover for fear of being violently harassed or accused of spying.

    In the 17 years since the US invasion, Afghanistan’s media has flourished.

    But their success has made them targets, starting in 2016, when the Taliban killed seven employees of popular TV channel Tolo — the first major attack on Afghan media since 2001.

    Journalists have faced killings, attacks and abductions. In 2018 Afghanistan was ranked the most dangerous country for journalists in the world.

    “Now (the Taliban are) using media a lot. It doesn’t mean they believe in freedom of expression,” said Khalvatgar.

    “It means that they know how to use the media … as a propaganda tool, not as a right of the people.”

    Meanwhile unprecedented talks between the Taliban and Washington have sparked fears of a potential US exit and a possible return to power for the insurgents.

    The Taliban source said the group has no wish to shutter Afghan outlets — but journalists would have to comply with an unspecified “code of conduct” in line with Sharia.

    Female anchors, common in Afghanistan today, would not be allowed on camera.

    “It’s better that they stay at home or join some other respectable profession,” said the Taliban source.

    But foreign media would be welcomed, he claimed, unlike in the past.

    “We sheltered Osama [bin Laden] and provided him all our respect because he was our guest,” he said.

    “Everyone who comes from any other country will be our guest.””

  20. Police Arrest Foreigners Allegedly Linked to Criminal Fraud Network (moroccoworldnews, Feb 15, 2019)

    “The National Judicial Police Brigade on Wednesday in Rabat arrested six foreigners for their supposed involvement in fraud through social networks.

    The suspects, are of Senegalese, Nigerian and Guinean nationality. Two of the six suspects are women, according to the National Security Directorate General (DGSN).

    The network’s members are accused of accessing Internet discussion sites using false accounts and identities. In the online discussions, they would claim to be European nationals wishing to marry Moroccan women.

    They also convinced their victims that they would send them packages containing precious gifts and large sums of money earmarked for so-called investments in Morocco…”

  21. BCIJ Dismantles 5-Member Terror Cell in Western Morocco (moroccoworldnews, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) dismantled a five-member terrorist cell on Friday morning in Safi, a city located in Western Morocco. The cell included a former detainee jailed for his involvement in terror-related charges with ISIS.

    The suspects are aged between 21-36, Morocco’s Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

    The BCIJ seized several electronic devices and knives, in addition to radicalized scripts, added the statement.

    Investigations by the Security services found that the suspects pledged allegiance to ISIS and were planning to join fighters in Syrian and Iraqi combat zones.

    The suspects were also planning terror plots to undermine security and security and the the country….”

  22. Govt urged to tackle illegal migration to Turkey on war footing (tribune, Feb 16, 2019)

    “ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged the federal government to tackle the pressing issue of massive illegal migration to Turkey on war footing.

    According to a official correspondence written on February 11, the ministry recommended the Prime Minister’s Office to adopt five measures to overcome “this irritant and focus on broader strategic objectives of bilateral cooperation between the two brotherly countries”.

    It suggested chalking out a comprehensive ‘plan of action’ with the Turkish side to overcome the outflow of illegal migrants from Pakistan. The ministry also recommended launching a public awareness campaign to make risks of illegal migration known to general public.

    Measures including crackdown against the illegal migrants by law enforcement agencies and making NADRA’s fingerprint verification system more responsive and faster were also suggested by the ministry.

    The government was also urged to send a team comprising officials of NADRA and the Federal Investigation Agency to Turkey to expedite verification and deportation of illegal immigrants.

    According to the communiqué, illegal migration has become an issue of ‘critical concern’ to Turkey as during the past few years, Pakistan has been the largest source of illegal immigrants to the country.

    There are over 50,000 Pakistanis residing illegally in Turkey, making them the second largest illegal immigrant group in the country after Afghans, according to Turkish authorities. “Turkish government perceives that the issue of irregular migration has become a threat to their domestic stability,” it further reads.

    The ministry said that Turkish authorities have expressed serious concerns over the slow pace of verification of national status and deportation of illegal immigrants back to Pakistan.”

  23. Pakistan must bridge differences between Muslim countries (tribune, Feb 15, 2019)

    “With the unity of Muslim Ummah vulnerable to emerging challenges, Pakistan must play the role of a bridge to strengthen the bonds between Muslim countries.

    This was stated by ulema during a seminar on Pakistan-Saudi Relations in Islamabad on Thursday. The seminar had been organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and was presided by the council’s chairman Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi.

    Addressing the convention, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Maulana Noorul Haq Qadri said that visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to Pakistan will herald a new era of prosperity and economic stability…”

  24. Hayward: Ilhan Omar’s Attack on Venezuela Special Envoy Echoes Qatar-Backed Al-Jazeera and Soviet Union

    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attacked Special Envoy on Venezuela Elliott Abrams in a House Foreign Affairs Committee session on Wednesday, accusing him of genocidal culpability for a “massacre” in 1980s El Salvador during which “more than 800 civilians, including children as young as two years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops.”

    Her tirade was suspiciously similar to an article about El Salvador published the previous day by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news network.

    Omar’s monologue can be seen in its entirety below. It should be noted that she smirks a great deal during the exchange, an expression that has been classified by the Left as a hate crime, and she appears to have some difficulty reading the notes that were provided to her:

    Omar began by getting Abrams’ name wrong, addressing him as “Mr. Adams,” and asking why the House Foreign Affairs Committee should trust his testimony because “in 1991, you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush.”

    “Yes or no, would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide if you believed they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala?” she demanded.

    Omar zeroed in on El Salvador:

    On February 8, 1982, you testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. policy in El Salvador. In that hearing, you dismissed as communist propaganda reports about the massacre in El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as two years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops.

    “During that massacre, some of those troops bragged about raping 12-year-old girls before they killed them,” she added.

    “You later said that the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a fabulous achievement. Yes or no do you still think so?” she demanded.

    “From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement,” Abrams replied.

    When Omar repeated her question, Abrams first dismissed it as “ridiculous,” then answered “no.”

    “I will take that as a yes,” Omar snapped.

    “I am not going to respond to that kind of personal attack, which is not a question,” Abrams responded.

    Center for Security Policy Vice President for Government Relations J. Michael Waller noted on Thursday that Omar’s tirade precisely matched an article highly critical of Abrams published on Tuesday by Qatar’s Al-Jazeera, right down to the sequence in which she deployed her talking points:

    The Qatari government supports Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro against Juan Guaidó, the interim president supported by the United States, its Latin American allies, and many European countries. The article Al-Jazeera published about Abrams painted him as a bloodthirsty neoconservative with few qualms about using indiscriminate violence to overthrow Latin American governments the United States dislikes.

    City University of New York professor emeritus and Hudson Institute adjunct senior fellow Ronald Radosh took Omar to task at the Daily Beast on Thursday, noting that the El Mozote massacre took place in 1981 and Abrams testified to the Senate about the event in 1982, but it was not until 1992 that forensic analysis conclusively determined it occurred largely as rebel forces described it.

    The El Mozote incident occurred in a particularly ugly war zone where both sides were known for spreading disinformation against the backdrop of Cold War information warfare, which was every bit as vigorous as today’s information wars but prosecuted with far less powerful communications technology. It was a time when canisters of film had to be smuggled through free-fire zones, rather than photos uploaded to the Internet in real time through mobile connections.

    The information warfare game in Cold War Latin America was straightforward enough in grand strategy: play up abuses by U.S.-backed forces while downplaying the atrocities committed by allies of the Soviet Union. Left-wing guerrillas assiduously courted Western reporters to shape media coverage in a way that would favor their revolutionary cause. The Soviets wanted these conflicts to be as savage as possible because they hoped Western leaders would recoil from the bloodshed and withdraw support from their proxies, while the Soviets had no problem getting their hands dirty by supporting theirs.

    The situation in El Salvador in 1981 was the reverse of what Omar implied by linking it to Venezuela – the United States supported the government, while the Soviets backed rebels attempting to overthrow it through violence.

    The village of El Mozote was destroyed by an elite El Salvadoran counter-terrorism unit called the Atlacatl, trained by U.S. Special Forces advisers. The village was located in rebel territory, although the villagers apparently were not rebel sympathizers. The Atlacatl unit initially seemed to satisfy themselves the village was not a threat, only to return the next day, massacre the population, and burn down most of the buildings.

    Radosh also condemned Omar’s Iran-Contra attack on Abrams as unfair, describing in detail how one of Abrams’ staunchest contemporary critics eventually came to believe he was politically prosecuted in an effort to criminalize foreign policy.

    “Omar’s comportment at the hearing, as well as her obvious belief that the United States is an imperialist and reactionary nation that by its very nature abuses human rights, should alone be reason enough to have her removed before she can do real damage,” Radosh concluded, dismissing Omar as little better than the Code Pink protesters who interrupted the Abrams hearing to rave against “U.S. imperialism.”

    Radosh here alluded to one of the big-picture problems with Omar’s attack: brutality was displayed by the proxies of both sides during the Cold War, and focusing purely on what the anti-Communist side did is essentially continuing the Soviet Union’s information warfare strategy decades after the conflict ended, giving the losers a shot at rewriting history to their taste.

    Older Democrats who can think a few moves ahead will not relish the prospect of relitigating the 1980s and reminding Americans which side many Democrats came down on, especially since their party spent the past two years painting contemporary Russia as the greatest threat to the world. However one judges the threat of Putin’s Russia, the Soviet Union was much worse.

    The other problem with Omar’s attack is that El Salvador’s Cold War battles occurred over thirty years ago and have little relevance to the current situation in Venezuela, where Nicolás Maduro is indisputably the massive violator of human rights and will be the one ordering any massacres yet to come.

    Comparing the perilous Reagan-era effort to repel a Communist insurgency to Venezuela’s desperate effort to escape from a left-wing tyrant is grotesque. Giving Maduro the idea he might be able to retain power by following Soviet information warfare strategies – and by making Venezuela so bloody that Western powers back away in disgust – is incredibly dangerous.

    As for El Salvador, it just took advantage of the democracy America defended in the Eighties to give both its left- and right-wing parties the boot and elect a third-party anti-corruption candidate as president. Such things do not happen in socialist or communist tyrannies.

  25. Poliovirus detected from sewage in 10 cities during January (tribune, Feb 15, 2019)

    “The fight against polio suffers another setback as the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme has detected poliovirus in the sewage of 10 cities during the last month. According to results shared by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), the extensive environmental surveillance has detected the presence of poliovirus in sewage samples collected from Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Sukkur, Killa Abdullah, Quetta, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar and South Waziristan during January…”

  26. Writer Temporarily Suspended By Twitter for Questioning if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Put Her Boyfriend on Payroll

    Writer Luke Thompson was temporarily suspended by Twitter for calling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez out on giving her boyfriend a job in her Congressional office.

    Thompson had discovered that Ocasio-Cortez’s boyfriend, Riley Roberts, is now listed as staff in the House directory and tweeted “while you were having a nice Valentine’s Day, @AOC decided to put her boyfriend on staff – drawing a salary on the taxpayer’s dime. Nice to see her adapting to the swamp so quickly.”

  27. Turkish girl admits killing abusive father on TV program (hurriyetdailynews, Feb 15, 2019)

    “A Turkish high school student and her mother have been detained by the police after she confessed that she killed her abusive father while talking to a popular TV show presenter.

    Abdullah Gazi Akb?y?k, 52, a man in the western province of Afyonkarahisar, was missing since Jan. 18.

    His brothers applied to TV personality Müge Anl?, who investigates cold cases on her live show on private broadcaster ATV, who started to host the family members in recent episodes to find Akb?y?k’s whereabouts.

    In the latest episode on Feb. 14, the mother and her elder daughter, who is a high school student, were hosted.

    The mother, K?ymet Akb?y?k, looked increasingly uncomfortable during the broadcast and wanted to talk with Anl? in private.

    “After the program, she came to me with her elder daughter, who is a beautiful high school student girl. They revealed that the girl had killed her father that night,” Anl? was quoted on Feb. 15 by local media as saying.

    Both suspects were detained by the police who arrived at the TV studio shortly afterward.

    “They told me that the man came home late drunk and forced his wife sign an indenture by beating her. The girl thought that her mother would be killed, so she grabbed his pistol and shot her father,” Anl? explained, adding that the two later burned the body in their stove.

    The TV presenter said that it was the “hardest program” of her career.”

  28. No Syria territorial integrity if YPG stays, Erdo?an says at Sochi summit (hurriyetdailynews, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Syria’s territorial integrity will not be preserved if the country’s east and Manbij city are not cleared of the YPG, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has said at a three-way summit with the Russian and Iranian presidents in the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi, expressing high hopes for a resolution to the eight-year-long war…”

  29. ‘Tough for Europe Muslims’: Turkish-Belgian politician (aa, Feb 15, 2019)

    “A Turkish-Belgian politician on Friday decried the difficulties of living as a Muslim in Europe.

    Being a Muslim in Europe is hard in terms of both religious belief and wearing a headscarf, Mahinur Ozdemir, 36, a Belgian-born Muslim parliamentarian, told a panel in Berlin.

    “Being a Muslim in Europe is hard but being a Muslim in appearance is harder,” Ozdemir told the panel, organized by the Turkish think tank Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Berlin.

    Ozdemir said that as a Muslim woman she has faced difficulties in employment and education as well as in practicing politics.

    Ozdemir made history as the first headscarf-wearing lawmaker in both the Belgian parliament and in Europe, and in 2015 she was expelled from the Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH) party for refusing to recognize the so-called Armenian genocide.

    Muslims who dress in Islamic garb get intense media attention and scrutiny, she said, complaining: “You don’t have the right to reply and you can be blacklisted.”

    Ozdemir said she is interested in helping Belgium through politics and despite the difficulties, and is very happy to be a European Muslim.

    Turkey rejects the allegations of an Armenian genocide, saying the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

    Islamophobia rose with arrival of Syrians, Afghans

    Speaking at the same event, Bulent Guven, a Turkish-German political scientist, said that he faced similar troubles as a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party as his wife wears a headscarf.

    “Europe has Islamophobia,” Guven said, adding that this fear rose after more Muslims started to come to the continent in the 1960s.

    Islamophobia hit a new peak in 2015 when more Syrians and Afghans migrated to Europe, he added.

    Seeking both safety and a better standard of living, Syrians have been coming to Europe especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.”

    • “Islamophobia”?I wonder why that is,after all they only bomb us kill us rape our women and children,invade our countries,defraud our welfare system,turn our cities into shit holes,and go abroad to fight against us,all the time demanding rights and priviliges that the rest of us have to pay for.

  30. Spanish king says Moroccan migrants aid development (ansamed, Feb 15, 2019)

    “Faced with growing xenophobic trends throughout Europe, King Felipe VI of Spain praised ”the contribution of Moroccan immigrants to Spanish development”.

    He was speaking in Rabat at the end of his official visit to Morocco. In a meeting with the Spanish community in the country, the king was quoted by Spanish media as urging stronger bilateral ties while taking note of the ”large Moroccan community living and without a doubt contributing to Spain’s development”.

    The monarch was accompanied during his official visit by 6 ministers including Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who at the end of the visit with his Moroccan counterpart Naser Burita in turn said that the his country had also been helped a great deal by the Moroccan community boasting over 800,000 people in Spain, 230,000 of whom registered on social security lists.

    El Pais quoted Borrell as saying that that are two opposite visions of immigration, one that uses immigration top foster fear and another that wants to look at the positive aspects that it has on society. Borrell stressed that there is the need to replace illegal and clandestine immigration with regularized, planned immigration, like in the case of the over 19,000 Moroccan workers who have a contract in Spain for harvesting strawberries in 2019.

    ”Closing the doors of a country cannot be the solution,” he warned. Burita also criticized those who give priority to ”national egoism”. Imigration, with over 64,000 irregular arrivals on Spanish soil in 2018, marked the trip by the Spanish royal family to Morocco. On his arrival in Rabat on Wednesday, King Felipe VI thanked King Mohamed VI for his efforts for border control and asked that collaboration be stepped up to stop the waves of clandestine migrants arriving in the country.”

    • If they let children contract measles like they used to,this would not happen as they would develop immunity,same for mumps.Our mothers deliberately sent us to visit our infected friends to catch these childhood diseases,it is no fun,but it gets it over with,whereas in an adult it can have disasterous consequences.

  31. Austrian Girls Forced to Wear Hijabs to Avoid Harassment, Ex-MP Claims (sputniknews, Feb 15, 2019)

    “According to Doctor Marcus Franz, who used to serve as a lawmaker in the National Council, there are “problem zones” in the country’s capital where local girls are being forced to hide that they are Austrian.

    Former member of the Austrian National Council, Doctor Marcus Franz, stated in an interview to broadcaster oe24.TV that he knew fathers in Vienna’s “problem areas” who give their daughters hijabs in order not to let them be recognised as Austrians and protect them from harassment. He cited witnesses from his personal acquaintances in the 15th district of the Austrian capital.

    The man pointed to “permanent micro-aggression”. He said girls are dressing differently than people in Austria are used to because of an “unhealthy aggressive attitude”.

    “Girls, young women as well as older women are simply afraid. You can observe this among people, you can see it plain and simple when you work in a social profession — as I do. And one should make a clear distinction between those who are new and those who have already been with us for a long time”, he stated.

    Since 2015, Europe has been facing a migration crisis, with scores of refugees arriving from conflict-torn countries and crime rates being increasingly linked to the drastic influx of migrants all across the continent, particularly in Germany, France, Belgium, and even the comparatively well-off Austria. According to a Crime and Safety report by the United States Department of State, Austria is targeted by largely foreign criminals, with 64 percent of drug-related offences being carried out by criminals who are born abroad.

    The discussion flared up after the murder of a 16-year-old girl in the Austrian city of Steyr. The key suspect in her brutal stabbing is asylum seeker Saber Akhondzada, who was denied asylum, but allowed to stay in the country, as he is wanted on murder charges in his home country of Afghanistan because Austria does not deport people facing a death sentence in another country. According to the victim’s family, she had recurring rows with her possessive boyfriend Akhondzada, reacting violently to the girl talking to other men and thus trying to intimidate her.”

  32. Mogherini, Zarif Agree to Work Together for Further Implementation of INSTEX (sputniknews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif at a meeting expressed their commitment to cooperate for further implementation of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), which allows bypassing US sanctions, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said in a statement.

    “They discussed the state of implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The High Representative reiterated the EU’s firm determination to preserve the JCPOA, which continues to deliver on its objectives and is crucial for both regional and global security. She also underlined the need for continued full and effective implementation of the deal by all parties, and in this regard both High Representative Mogherini and Minister Zarif discussed the recent registration of INSTEX in France and committed to work together for its further operationalization,” the statement, published after the talks on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday, read.

    The diplomats also addressed human rights and Middle Eastern crises…”

  33. Spanish government set to approve exhumation of Francisco Franco

    The dictator’s family, who will be given 15 days to choose an alternative resting place, have promised to fight the decision at the Supreme Court

    The Spanish government is planning on approving an agreement at a Cabinet meeting on Friday that would give the final green light for the exhumation of the body of dictator Francisco Franco from the controversial Valley of the Fallen monument, located northwest of Madrid. The agreement outlines that the government has the “legal mandate” to remove the dictator’s tomb from a place of worship. Once approved, the Franco family will have 15 days to choose an alternative resting place for the dictator.

    Spain’s National Heritage Trust, the state agency that administers properties belonging to Spain and the Spanish royal family, has a plan to complete the exhumation in a few hours, with “minor” work costing less than €3,800.

    The Cabinet’s decision will bring to a head a lengthy process that has caused a number of headaches for the Socialist Party (PSOE) government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Although Spain’s Congress approved a decree to allow the exhumation on August 24, the process has been delayed by several months due to opposition by Franco’s family, foundations associated with the dictator and the Valley of the Fallen, which filed multiple complaints and appeals against the decree, members and officials of the ministries involved, as well as the National Heritage Trust, which administers the monument.

    According to the agreement, if the Franco family – which is fiercely opposed to their grandfather being removed from the Valley of the Fallen – does not specify a new resting place, the government will decide on the site. The most probable option is the Mingorrubio cemetery, near El Pardo on the northern outskirts of Madrid, where the dictator’s wife is buried.

    The agreement states that “the decision [on the new burial site] will fall to the government, which will do it with the highest respect for the dignity of the family and the appropriate decorum.” It adds that the government’s decision has “all the necessary legal guarantees to ensure its legality.”


    The Justice Ministry has a report from the National Heritage Trust on what structural work needs to be done to the Santa Cruz Basilica – which houses Franco’s tomb – for the dictator’s body to be removed. This document was sent to San Lorenzo de El Escorial City Hall, where the basilica is located, in order to obtain the necessary permissions to remove the thick granite tombstone.

    According to the plan from the National Heritage Trust, once Franco’s body is exhumed, workers will have to move his tomb and cover the space with six black marble tiles identical to the existing ones. The state agency assures this is a simple, “minor” job that could be done by any funeral home in a matter of hours, but has not indicated which company will be responsible for the task. It adds that the work “should not affect the architectural considerations of the property.” The budget for the exhumation is just €3,738.


    The move to remove Franco’s remains from the Valley of the Fallen was one of Sánchez’s star policies when he came to power in June through a no-confidence motion against Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP), but he had been unprepared by the backlash from the Franco family.

    When the Franco family realized that they could not avoid the exhumation, they instead demanded the body be reburied next to the grave of his daughter, Carmen Polo, in La Almudena cathedral, a landmark building in central Madrid that attracts thousands of visitors. The government decided that it could not let this happen under any circumstances – no European dictator currently rests in a cathedral.

    To stop the Franco family from reburying the dictator’s remain in La Almudena, the central government’s delegate in Madrid published a report at the end of December concluding that the body must not be interred in the cathedral on reasons of public order, the risk of terrorist threats, and the possibility of confrontations between supporters and detractors in the crypt itself, a holy site where the police would not be able to enter.

    Valley of the Fallen

    The 13.6-square kilometer Valley of the Fallen site remains hotly contested in a country still struggling to come to terms with the legacy of the dictatorship of Franco, who was the Spanish head of state from the end of the Civil War in 1939 to his death in 1975.

    The site was ostensibly built to commemorate all of the victims on both sides of Spain’s bitter and bloody Civil War, and the remains of more than 33,000 victims of the conflict lie there. But critics point out that the Valley of the Fallen, which features a basilica and a 150-meter-high cross that dominates the surrounding countryside, contains just two marked graves: those of Franco himself and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange, Spain’s fascist-inspired political party. At the same time, thousands of prisoners of war who fought against Franco in the civil conflict were among the workforce used in its construction.

    The lawyer for the Franco family, Luis Felipe Utrera-Molina, says he will review the agreement on Friday and immediately contact the Spanish government “in writing” to communicate the family’s intention to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court and file measures to stop the exhumation. The family has up to two months to take action and is likely to wait to see how the political situation in Spain plays out, given general elections have been called for April 28.

    Spain’s National Heritage Trust has delivered a report on the work required for the exhumation to San Lorenzo de El Escorial City Hall in order to obtain the necessary permits. But the local authorities have been swamped with 13 legal appeals and another three against the City Hall itself. Most of the complaints target the competency of the local authorities and argue that the exhumation does not fall under a license for minor work.


    Spain gives Franco family two weeks to decide reburial

    Spain’s government, which has pledged to exhume Francisco Franco from his opulent mausoleum, on Friday gave the late dictator’s family two weeks to decide on a reburial site, the justice minister said.

    “The family has been granted a 15-day period to decide where it wants to bury the remains of the dictator,” Dolores Delgado told reporters.

    If the descendants of Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939 to his death in 1975, don’t agree on a site or remain silent, the government will choose the reburial site itself, she added.

    The move comes just hours after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in power for just over eight months, called early general elections for April 28 after the parliament rejected his 2019 draft budget.

    His socialist executive had vowed to remove Franco’s remains from an imposing basilica in the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) near Madrid, which was built in part by political prisoners during his regime.

    On Friday, the cabinet gave its final green light to the exhumation, before giving his family the ultimatum.

    The family will be able to appeal this at the Supreme Court, which would delay the exhumation.

    Franco’s family wants to bury his remains in a crypt at Madrid’s central Almudena Cathedral next to the royal palace.

    The government wants Franco’s embalmed body to be relocated to a more discreet spot and has already told them this will not be possible.

    Spain: Franco’s new resting place will not ‘dignify’ the dictator


    Controlling what news voters do and do not receive has become a big focus in the digital age. Mainstream media giants and establishment political operatives alike have long fought to stigmatize, discredit, and censor any news that doesn’t fit their agendas.

    Now a familiar player is getting into the censorship game: Microsoft just announced that the tech giant’s Edge web browser will feature a “NewsGuard” plugin that will display a big red exclamation mark and a scolding warning when users view news outlets its censors dislike. Media outlets hand-selected by NewsGuard and Microsoft, on the other hand, will get a big friendly green check mark and flattering praise of their journalistic merit.

    Who are the approved “green check mark” news sources? The left-leaning, establishment media outlets you would expect: CNN, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and so on. These are the same sites that rushed to publish dozens of demonstrably false stories about Catholic high schoolers harassing a Vietnam veteran — and wound up putting those teenagers and their families in the crosshairs of a vicious internet hate mob — and then, largely refused to apologize for getting the story completely wrong.

    Other members of the “good news” club include Rolling Stone, responsible for making a cover story out of the most destructive rape hoax since the Scottsboro Boys, and BuzzFeed News, responsible for the report accusing President Trump of committing a felony by allegedly telling Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. The story was so outrageously false that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office issued a rare public statement to disavow it.

    Which media sources are arrayed on the other side of this equation, the “bad news” bears designated on NewsGuard with red exclamation points? Exactly who you’d expect: Breitbart News; Drudge Report; the Daily Mail, Britain’s third-largest newspaper; and other outlets popular outside the Acela corridor.

    In the end, this scheme is really no different than the dubious “fact checks” that holier-than-thou establishment media outlets have used to belittle their competitors and silence people who see the world a little differently than the folks in newsrooms in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles.

    It should come as no surprise that NewsGuard’s creators and censors come from the same media world they seek to police, mostly former editors and publishers of establishment news and opinion publications. Nor should the syrupy praise their former colleagues and co-workers are already lavishing on the scheme be surprising – it has become a commonplace belief among these paternalistic elites that the common man needs to be protected from raw, “unfiltered” news and opinion.

    The most novel aspect of this news-censoring trend is Microsoft’s involvement. Google and Facebook have been engaging in media censorship for years, but this is older generation big tech getting in on the act, perhaps in some ways demonstrating that it has to censor just to keep up with its younger, and more innovative, social media brethren.

    What’s at stake here? News outlets such as Breitbart have broken some of the biggest scandals eating away at Microsoft and other tech giants’ public images.

    Luckily for Americans who are uncomfortable with this kind of big-brother censorship, and who wish to decide for themselves which news outlets they trust, Microsoft Edge is one of the least popular major web browsers, and so this late-to-the-game censorship move could have limited impact.

    The latest estimates suggest that only a little over 2 percent of internet users browse with Edge. Google’s Chrome, by contrast, accounts for half of the entire U.S. browser market.

    Chalk up one more ostensibly neutral search engine going the way of the dinosaurs, to be replaced with a paternalistic “helper” to steer consumers into narrow channels blessed by our digital overlords, and away from the big, bad, open seas of information.

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