Contributor’s Links post for February 16th, 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

150 Replies to “Contributor’s Links post for February 16th, 2019”

  1. Iran Warns S Arabia, UAE of Retaliation, Calls Out Pakistan Over Terror Attack (sputniknews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Wednesday’s suicide car bombing, which the Sunni Jaish ul-Adl group has claimed responsibility for, left 27 elite Iranian guards dead and many severely wounded.

    The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), General Mohammad Ali Jafari, has warned neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the UAE that they could face retaliation for throwing their support behind terrorists, on the US’ and Israel’s orders. He stressed Saturday that Iran would give a “decisive” response to a Wednesday terrorist attack, which killed 27 IRGC border guards in Iran’s south-eastern provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan.

    “The patience that the establishment once exercised against conspiracies and reactionary regimes in the region, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE which carry out these acts on orders from the US and the Zionist regime, will be different and we will definitely take reparative measures”, he was quoted by Iranian media as saying.

    “The treacherous government of Saudi and Emirates should know that the patience of the Islamic Republic about your hidden support for criminals and Takfiri groups has come to an end and Iran will not tolerate it anymore”, said Jafari in a speech to the crowd. He reportedly asked President Hassan Rouhani to give the IRGC freedom to retaliate.

    Jafari went on to state resolutely that the enemies must take into account that “the comrades of these martyrs and all those who have made covenants with the people to establish security, are even more determined to defend them and deal a yet stronger blow” to their foes.

    Further in his comments, the IRGC chief addressed Pakistan’s alleged backing of jihadists who wage terror in his country, calling on Islamabad to tighten its policy towards the al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group, which claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s bombing. According to Jafari, the Pakistani government, which “has sheltered these counter-revolutionary elements” that pose a danger to Islam and “knows their hideout, being supported by Pakistani security forces”, should be held responsible for the terrorist attack.

    On 13 February, a car loaded with explosives rammed into a bus carrying the IRGC servicemen half-way between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, with the subsequent explosion leaving 27 dead and 13 wounded. On Saturday, dozens of comrades of the fallen circled caskets on the back of trucks as thousands of mourners attended a mass funeral for the soldiers, with many in the crowd chanting “Death to America”, and “Death to Zionism”.”

  2. US Urges Allies to Send 1,500 Troops to Syria to Create Safe Zone – Reports (sputniknews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Earlier on Friday, US Senator Lindsey Graham called for a joint military presence of EU countries and the US in Syria in order to protect American-backed Kurdish forces in the country from Ankara, as well as to prevent the Daesh* terrorist group from regaining its positions.

    The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing military sources, that the Pentagon was working on a plan to create a safe zone in the north-eastern part of Syria in order to protect the US-backed Kurdish units.

    According to the newspaper, US officials are calling on the leaders of the UK, Germany and France to create a safe zone in Syria and to send a total of 1,500 troops. Washington, in turn, would be ready to leave about 200 troops that would support their allies and provide them with intelligence.

    In early December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara was ready to start a new military operation against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units), which are prohibited in Turkey, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates if the United States does not facilitate the withdrawal of the militia from the region. However, he suspended the operation following a phone conversation with President Donald Trump, who announced that US troops would withdraw from Syria.

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia”

    • ” calling on the leaders of the UK, Germany and France to create a safe zone in Syria ”

      Heh! Are Britanistan, Germanistan or Francistan safe?

  3. Operation Against Daesh in Syria’s Baghouz Village Close to an End – SDF (sputniknews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “The remaining militants from the Daesh terrorist group* are entrenched in a small area of Baghouz, the last terrorists-held village in Syria, head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Media Center Mustafa Bali told Sputnik on Saturday.

    A number of media outlets reported earlier in the day that the SDF had taken control of all of Baghouz.

    “The Baghouz area has surrendered in military terms but the liberation [operation] is not over yet. Militants have entrenched themselves in the 700 meters [2,296 feet] long and [700 meters] wide territory, they continue using civilians as human shields. There are thousands of captives in that area,” Bali said.

    The spokesman also denied media reports claiming that the SDF was negotiating with Daesh.

    As the US-backed Kurdish forces noted, quoted by VOA, the terrorists had blocked the road leading to the SDF to prevent civilians from leaving the area. As one of SDF fighters reportedly stated, families of Daesh militants are among fleeing civilians.”

  4. Birmingham college stabbing: Student dies in hospital (BBC, Feb 16, 2019)

    “A 16-year-old boy has died, two days after he was stabbed in the chest near the college where he was a student.

    He was injured on Belgrave Road, outside Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College in Highgate, Birmingham, at about 16:00 GMT on Wednesday.

    West Midlands Police said the boy’s life support system was switched off on Friday evening and he died in hospital with his family around him.

    A boy, 16, was charged with attempted murder before the student died.

    He is due at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.

    ‘Dreadful loss’
    The victim had been in a coma since the stabbing. Police said a post-mortem examination would take place in due course.

    Ch Supt Kenny Bell said: “This is a tragic outcome and a dreadful loss of another young life to knife crime…”

    • I’m sure it will remain a mystery as to why. Tony Blair said he would wash the Tory faces with immigration and opened the floodgates. Soe, reap, yada yada yada.

  5. europravda – Top EU official warns supporters of Hungary’s Orban that they’re being “misled”

    The vice president of the European Commission visited Budapest on Saturday with the message that supporters of Hungary’s far-right government are being misled into xenophobia

  6. IRGC Commander Criticizes Pakistan for ‘Sheltering Terrorists’ (tasnimnews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned certain regional countries behind a deadly terror attack in southeast Iran that the country’s patience is not unlimited and criticized Pakistan for providing shelter for the terrorists….”

  7. Turkey’s Erdogan Says No Going Back from S-400 Deal with Russia: NTV (tasnimnews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Turkey will not turn back from its deal to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Saturday, a day after an informal deadline Washington set for Ankara to respond to a rival offer passed…”

  8. Pence: Iran World’s Leading State Sponsor of Terrorism (aawsat, Feb 16, 2019)

    “US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated on Saturday his country’s accusations that Iran was the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

    Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, he called on European powers against undermining US sanctions on Tehran.

    “The time has come from our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve,” he demanded.

    “The time has come for our European partners to stand with us and with the Iranian people, our allies and friends in the region,” he stressed.

    “Iran has supported terrorist proxies and militias, Hezbollah and Hamas; exported missiles; fueled conflicts in Syria and Yemen; plotted terrorist attacks on European soil,” Pence continued.

    “Two years ago, President Donald Trump made his first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia, where he convened a historic gathering of leaders from 50 nations across the region at the Arab Islamic American Summit,” he said.

    “As President Trump said then, and I quote, ‘The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance.’ He challenged the nations gathered there to work together, as he said, to meet ‘history’s great test to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces’ of terrorism,” he stated.

    “This week, it was our privilege to travel to Poland to meet with many of those same leaders who came together around that great purpose. We gathered to discuss our mutual commitment to confront Iran and make the Middle East safe for peace, prosperity and the advance of human rights,” he said.”

    • Germany rejects US call to leave Iran nuclear deal (aa, Feb 16, 2019)

      “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected U.S. calls to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and cancel a controversial gas pipeline project with Russia.

      Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Merkel criticized Iran’s policies towards Israel, its ballistic missile program and its involvement in Syria and Yemen, but she also defended the nuclear deal with Tehran.

      “Would canceling the only remaining agreement with Iran help our common goal to contain its negative impact?” Merkel asked, and reaffirmed that Germany will stay in the deal signed in 2015.

      Her remarks came after the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called on European allies to leave the deal and join Washington’s diplomatic and economic pressure campaign against Iran.

      Merkel also dismissed U.S. calls to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would carry Russian gas to Germany directly across the Baltic Sea.

      She argued that Nord Stream 2 pipeline would not make Europe dependent on Russia, as Europe has many energy terminals to receive more LNG from the U.S.

      “As Germany will phase out coal and nuclear power, we will certainly be an interesting market for the natural gas in the next couple of years,” she said.

      Merkel also warned that abandoning trade deals with Russia would make other powers like China to benefit from this.”

  9. Pilgrims may soon travel to Madinah on camel backs (saudigazette, Feb 16, 2019)

    “The Ministry of Haj and Umrah is currently giving final touches to a fascinating project that will allow pilgrims and visitors as well as citizens and residents of the Kingdom to travel to Madinah on camels following the route that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had taken during his Hijrah (migration) to Madinah, according to a report in Makkah Arabic daily.

    The ministry said it had agreed to launch the initiative in collaboration with the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites.

    The project includes the development of 27 points on the Hijra Road consisting of hotels, rest houses, museums and others.

    Under the initiative, titled the Road to Thaniyat Al-Wada, a plateau near Madinah, the travelers will be able to tread the same route that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had taken during his migration from Makkah in 622 AD.

    The caravan will start from Ghar Thor, the cave on Mount Thor in Makkah where the Prophet and his closest companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) had stayed hiding from the eyes of the enemy plotters for about three days before setting out on their journey to Yathrib, which would become famous as Al-Madinah Al-Munawwara, the enlightened city, after the Prophet settled there. The caravan will then stop at the location of the tent of Umm Maabad, who had hosted the Prophet on his way to Yathrib and where he had milked her sheep.

    Umm Maabad’s place used to provide generous hospitality to travelers, but that was a year of scarcity with little rain. The drought had adversely affected people and cattle and Umm Maabad had no food to offer to her visitors. But when the Prophet rubbed the udders of Umm Maabad’s, milk came gushing and everyone drank to their fill. The incident has come to be known as a miracle of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

    The caravan will then pass through the location where Suraqa Bin Malik met the Prophet. Suraqa had reached the location after following the Prophet’s footprints in the hope of winning the reward the Quraish had placed on his head.

    It will also go through the site where the camel had tumbled down and then took a shortcut pointed out to the Prophet by the Bedouin guide Masoud Al-Aslami.

    The caravan will stop at Thaniyat Al-Wada completing the journey to Madinah.

    The ministry said there would be alternatives other than camels to reach Madinah taking the route, such as 4-wheel drive vehicles, fire balloons and motorbikes.

    When the Prophet reached Quba on the outskirts of Yathrib on the 8th day of Rabiul Awwal, he had already traveled for eight days. The Hijra Road, which was known as the caravan road in olden times, is 380 kilometers long.

    Haj Ministry giving final touches to project for revisiting Prophet’s Hijra route”

  10. ‘We want Saudi Arabia safe, secure’ says Imran (saudigazette, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Multiple contracts are expected to be signed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during the visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan told Okaz/Saudi Gazette in an exclusive interview.

    The main highlight of the visit will be the signing of an MoU in respect of the oil refinery, which is Saudi Arabia’s largest investment in Pakistan’s history, he said.

    “I am confident that the economic relations of the two countries will be further expanded by identifying new avenues of investment and as well as joint ventures between the two countries,” the Pakistani prime minister said.

    “The visit of the Crown Prince is a manifestation of the strength of this relationship. This visit will go a long way in laying a foundation of strategic and economic relations that has been the hallmark of our two brotherly countries,” he said, adding, “The generous deposit of $3 billion and supply of oil on deferred payment is reflective of the desire of the Kingdom to see a strong, vibrant and prosperous Pakistan.”

    Khan highlighted the possibilities of Saudi investment in sectors like energy, petroleum, and agriculture and infrastructure development.

    “Pakistan looks forward to enhanced cooperation in the banking sector, education sector, science and technology, trade and investment, construction sector and cultural cooperation especially, in the field of films and cinemas and tourism,” he said.

    He said that if the Kingdom becomes a member of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it will bolster CPEC as an engine of growth for the region.

    “The Saudi oil refinery planned in Gwadar will help boost local production and the local energy market. The exchange of skills and transfer of technology and best practices will enhance competition and increase the productivity of our local refineries. It will also complement the projects under the CPEC.”

    In the diplomatic sphere, Khan said, the two nations can join hands to effectively mobilize the international community for the amicable resolution of festering disputes.

    The Pakistani premier reiterated that his country will not allow anyone to attack Saudi Arabia.

    “Pakistan will always stand with Saudi Arabia whenever it faces a threat in any form to its security and sovereignty. We want Saudi Arabia to be as safe and secure as we want Pakistan to be.””

  11. Ethiopian maids to start arriving soon (saudigazette, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmed Al-Rajhi has said his ministry has reached an agreement with its Ethiopian counterpart to lift a ban on the recruitment of housemaids from the northeast African country starting next month, Al-Madina Arabic daily reported.

    He said the two sides had agreed on a monthly salary of SR1,000 while the recruitment process would cost between SR4,000 and SR7,000.

    The ministry said it would open new channels of recruitment and provide citizens with various options to choose workers from.

    The ministry will facilitate the work of recruitment offices so that they can bring over skilled housemaids with the help of the Musaned App. All recruitment formalities will be completed electronically to ensure that housemaids are recruited only by licensed offices in Ethiopia.

    Hussain Al-Mutairi, head of the recruitment committee in the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said local offices could lease the services of housemaids, who are known to be hard-working and affordable.

    No housemaid will be brought over to the Kingdom unless she attends a 30-day training and holds a police verification certificate as well as a medical fitness certificate, Al-Mutairi said.

    The first batch of around 20,000 Ethiopian housemaids will arrive in March and the ministry has begun issuing work visas to recruitment offices as well as individuals.

    The recruitment of Ethiopian maids was put on hold after the authorities in the country demanded a monthly salary of SR1,200, instead of SR850 suggested by the Saudi Labor Ministry.”

  12. Saudi Arabia defends mobile app allowing men to monitor women relatives (mee, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Saudi Arabia on Saturday defended a mobile app that allows men in the kingdom to track female relatives after rights groups and a US lawmaker criticised tech giants for offering it.

    The Absher app provides services for “all members of the society… including women, the elderly, and people with special needs”, the interior ministry said in a statement via the official Saudi Press Agency.

    The free app is available on Android and Apple smartphones and allows users to renew passports and visas as well as a variety of other electronic services, AFP said.

    Still, critics have said the app enables abuse against women and girls by allowing men to track their movements. Apple and Google are currently investigating the Saudi app, according to the Insider website.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook told US National Public Radio earlier this week he had not heard of the app, but would “take a look at it”.

    US Senator Ron Wyden has called on both Apple and Google to remove the app, arguing on Twitter that it promotes “abusive practises against women”.

    Saudi Arabia railed against what it called attempts to “politicize” the app, following interventions from international lawmakers, including Wyden, the Insider reported.

    Under Saudi law, women must have consent from a husband or immediate male relative to renew passports or leave the country.

    The ministry criticised what it called a “systematic campaign aimed at questioning the purpose of the services”…”

  13. Morocco-Spain railway to be launched ‘soon’ (memo, Feb 16, 2019)

    “A railway line between Morocco and Spain could be launched soon, Morocco’s Transport State Secretary announced yesterday.

    Speaking in an interview with Anadolu, Mohamed Najib Boulif said that the continental railway line between Morocco and Spain would be announced soon, explaining: “We have been working for years with Spain for the continental railway line between the two countries and we are now in the process of deepening technical studies.”

    He added that “there is a reasonable time span for technical studies to be prepared and to give us the possible options for this connectivity”. Boulif went on to say that: “The Moroccan and Spanish companies are working to find the best way for a continental railway line, and the study related to the depth of the sea will propose a number of possible options.”

    He explained that: “Swiss experience has shown that some of the proposals, which were not feasible in the last 20 years, are now possible, on the basis that we decide the best possible route for the link, taking into account the costs and risks associated with the sea.”

    He said “we will try to complete the study in the next one or two years and begin the most important stage, namely the search for funding.” It is not yet clear whether the link will be via a bridge or underwater tunnel, with Boulif saying only that this would be determined by funding and technical capacity.

    Boulif explained that the idea for the project has been supported for many years by north African countries, saying: “The Arab Maghreb Union [including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and Libya] has been trying to complete this project since [the union] was founded in 1989.”

    He explained that “all the regional infrastructures and projects are linked to the prevailing political climate in the countries concerned,” meaning it is potentially liable to delays. Boulif added that many of “the railways are available, but some sections need to be completed […] The role of the study launched by the Union is to bring the issue back to the table of discussion”.

    The General Secretariat of the Arab Maghreb Union announced at the end of last month an international tender for marketing the project to revive the “Trans-Maghreb train”. The Secretariat stated on its website that the international request for tender is related to “advertising and promotion of the study on the rehabilitation and modernization of some parts of the Maghreb railway line”.

    The Secretariat added that it had received a grant from the African Development Bank to fund preparatory activities for the modernisation of the railway line connecting Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

    Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia were previously linked with a railway line, but the line between Morocco and Algeria first stopped in 1994, after Algeria closed its land border with Morocco. Morocco required Algerians to obtain a visa to enter the country following accusations of Algeria’s involvement in the bombings in Marrakech, which Algeria denied.

    The railway line between Tunisia and Algeria was suspended in 2006, and it was agreed that it will be reactivated in a meeting between the Tunisian Head of Government Youssef Chahed and his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmalek Sellal, at that time.

    Boulif stressed the importance of the transport sector to Morocco, especially as it constitutes six per cent of the gross domestic product (gdp), ten per cent of the movement of people and 75 per cent of the transport of goods. In addition, about 200,000 companies operate in this sector, which employs about 310,000 professional drivers.

    Morocco’s plan to launch the project at a time when parts of the kingdom lack transport infrastructure has sparked criticism from some unions. Responding to this criticism, Boulif said that “the Kingdom has a multidimensional strategy that depends on gradual progress, and all regions must have the necessary and required development”.

    He added that “Morocco registered high rates in the framework of infrastructure at the Arab, African and international levels,” going on to say: “the Kingdom ranked first in Africa for levels of railway infrastructure […] In the field of port and sea lines, it ranked 17th in the world.”

    Boulif explained: “For example, when we talk about the Mediterranean port project, it is not just a project in the northern parts of the Kingdom, but a project that is of interest to the whole country and the Mediterranean region.”

    He acknowledged that “there are areas and regions which still require work, and this is what the Ministry of Transport is focussing on. Nonetheless, the level of road interconnection has been progressing in the country over the past ten years”.

    He stated that “the death toll because of traffic accidents has dropped annually over the past 10 years. The death toll has fallen by 2.7 percent in 2017, and in 2018, it has fallen by 0.8 percent […] The positive thing is that the death toll in the kingdom will fall below the number 3,500, which is still high”.”

  14. Tunisian police and protesters clash after death at police station (reuters, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Police in Tunisia fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse demonstrators who protested after a young man died inside a police station near the coastal resort of Hammamet, witnesses said.

    The young man was arrested on Friday after a fight between groups of youths in the town of Barraket Essahel, 60 kms (37 miles) southeast of the capital Tunis, according to locals. While it was not immediately clear how he died, demonstrators blamed the security forces.

    In a statement, the Interior Ministry said the young man had fainted after reaching the police station and died despite officers’ efforts to revive him. It said a judge had ordered an investigation.

    Police in Barraket Essahel were not immediately available to comment.

    Tunisian activists say abuses by security forces have continued, albeit at a lower rate, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.”

  15. Explaining Trump’s National Emergency Executive Action

    On Friday, President Donald Trump announced that he had declared a “national emergency” so that he could begin shifting money from other areas to begin construction on his border barrier plans.

    But, what exactly did he do? Well, according to Senator Lee’s comms man, Conn Carroll, the president actually took a few actions, not just one. And some of the actions he took were very important to get him where he needs to get without facing interference from the Democrats.

    Carroll laid out these moves in a Friday Twitter thread.

    Richard: Please read the entire article, it puts a lot of things in prespective and explaines why Trump said he didn’t need the National Emergency to build the wall. This draws the lefts attention to the order and takes their attention away from the funding that doesn’t need the order. He is spending the other money while the law suites are being fought up to the Supreme Court. Very clever.

    Now if I could figure out why he signed the bill with the poison pills intact? I know he has something planned but what? The left thinks he has caved so they aren’t watching his left hand as the right signs the bill.

  16. India says Pakistan’s links with Pulwama attack ‘clear for all to see’ (gulfnews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

    The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

    The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM.

    He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands…”

    • India’s ‘knee-jerk reaction’ is to blame Pakistan without proof or evidence: Pakistani Foreign Minister (gulfnews, Feb 16, 2019)

      “Munich: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who is in Munich to attend a security conference in a video message said he was saddened by India’s “knee-jerk reaction” levelling allegations without sharing any proof or evidence against Pakistan.

      He said the world knows Pakistan is not involved in the recent attack in Pulwama.

      Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua held a meeting with the envoys of the permanent member countries (P-5) of the UN Security Council, namely, US, Russia, China, France and UK — and explained Pakistan’s position.

      Sponsoring violence or terrorism is not Pakistan’s foreign policy, she said rejecting the Indian allegations of Islamabad’s involvement in Pulwama attack.

  17. Egypt’s Sisi calls for greater int’l cooperation on security, development at Munich Security Conference (ahram, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi highlighted security challenges facing the African continent, migration issues and means of fighting terrorism in his speech to the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

    The Egyptian president is attending the security conference as this year’s chairman of the African Union, a role he assumed this month.

    In his address, El-Sisi also called for international help for the Palestinian people.

    “We need to relieve the Palestinians of their daily suffering,” he said.

    El-Sisi also urged the need for international cooperation on these issues.

    “The challenges of the age are too big for a single country or assembly to handle,” El-Sisi said. “We are witnessing armed conflicts, several wars, ethnic conflicts, terrorist attacks, in addition to the problems of poverty and unemployment.”

    “These challenges have been further compounded by the international polarisation and escalation of political confrontations, as well as the challenges of nature, such as climate change, desertification, water shortages and others.

    “This requires strengthening international efforts, because the challenges of the present age exceed the capacity of any country.”

    He also highlighted the importance of economic development, especially post-conflict development, in many African countries.

    “Egypt welcomes cooperation with all international partners to establish security and achieve African economic development,” El-Sisi said. “Investment in Africa means investment in the future.”

    Speaking about terror, he said that it posed “increasing risks that lead to the destabilisation of societies, which requires everyone to make vigorous and sincere efforts to uproot this abhorrent phenomenon, which is the first threat to the pursuit of development, including cracking down on terrorist groups and organisations.”

    Links between instability and migration

    Following his speech, El-Sisi and Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, whose country currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, joined conference chairman Wolfgang Ischinger for a forum session.

    Ischinger asked El-Sisi and Iohannis to talk about expectations for an upcoming EU-Arab League summit, to be held later this month in Sharm El Sheikh.

    “Stability and security in the Arab region will be our priority … and effects the stability and security of our friends in Europe,” El-Sisi said.

    “We have seen the instability in our Arab region or some Arab regions have an impact on stability in Europe. If we talk about migration, for example, this is a phenomenon that is caused by instability in some countries, for instance.

    “The displacement of some people, leaving home in the direction of Europe … we need in this current phase to further our communications, dialogue and coordination to find a common ground even more than before, to tackle the common issues. The conference that will be in Sharm El-Sheikh will be a good opportunity and a fundamental step that will be followed by further steps,” he said.

    Iohannis echoed the point. “We need more, better stronger collaboration,” he said, adding that the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh will focus on economic development and cooperation.

    The Egyptian president said that Egypt hosts five million refugees, but they do not live in refugee camps, they are merged within Egyptian society.

    He then pointed to the construction of the largest church in the Middle East, in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, as an example of the values of coexistence on display.”

  18. Moroccan Teenager Crushed to Death by Truck in Ceuta (moroccoworldnews, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Ilias, a 15-year-old Moroccan lost his life on February 14 in the port of Ceuta.

    Originally from Martil, he had been living in Ceuta for two months “in an attempt to hide inside a vehicle and migrate to Europe,” according to El Faro de Ceuta.

    Ilis “was seriously wounded in the head and died almost instantly” despite the presence of the emergency services, the newspaper recounted.

    According to the local Spanish authorities, the boy died as a result of a collision between a truck and a nacelle carrying an excavator…”

  19. ‘US supports India’s right to self-defence over Kashmir attack’ (tribune, Feb 16, 2019)

    “The United States supports India’s right to self-defence against cross-border attacks, India’s foreign ministry said on Saturday after a deadly car bombing in occupied Kashmir raised tensions with Pakistan.

    US National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Friday night, promising to help bring those behind the attack to justice, the Indian foreign ministry added in a readout of the phone call.

    The ministry said the two NSAs vowed to work together against all regional and global threats, and “resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under UN resolutions”.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a strong response after a suicide attack reportedly claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) killed 44 paramilitary policemen in occupied Kashmir…”

  20. At least 54 irregular migrants held across Turkey (aa, Feb 16, 2019)

    “A total of 54 irregular migrants were held across Turkey on Saturday, according to security sources.

    The sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said police forces detained 33 irregular migrants in western Kirklareli province.

    The migrants — Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and Pakistani nationals — were allegedly preparing to illegally cross to Europe, the sources said.

    Separately, in eastern Erzincan province, 21 irregular migrants were detained by gendarmerie forces, the sources said.

    The sources added that 19 of the migrants were Afghans and two were Pakistanis.

    Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

    Some 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

    The irregular migrants were mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Syrian and Iraqi nationals.”

  21. Weapons sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful: UK report (aa, Feb 16, 2019)

    “The U.K. government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia is unlawful, an all-party committee of the House of Lords has concluded in a report.

    The report, published by the international relations select committee, also found that by sanctioning weapons exports to the Kingdom, the British government has found itself on “the wrong side of the law” on the war in Yemen.

    It added that these weapons are likely to be the cause of civilian casualties in the war-torn country.

    The publication is the first from a parliamentary committee that has described the arms sales to Saudi Arabia as unlawful — and has said that ministers are not making independent checks to see if British arms being used are in breach of the law. Rather they are relying on questionable investigations by their Saudi allies.

    “The government asserts that, in its licensing of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, it is narrowly on the right side of international humanitarian law.

    “Although conclusive evidence is not yet available, we assess that it is narrowly on the wrong side: given the volume and type of arms being exported to the Saudi-led coalition, we believe they are highly likely to be the cause of significant civilian casualties in Yemen, risking the contravention of international humanitarian law,” the report concludes, as quoted by The Gardian.

    The report places no legal obligation on ministers, but is likely to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and UAE to resolve the crisis in Yemen through dialogue and halt military intervention.

    Although a UN-brokered ceasefire in the port city of Hodeida is being held, coalition airstrikes continue to intensify across Yemen, as has fighting in other regions such as the Saudi-Yemeni border and the Sa’ada governorate.

    The country has faced six years of civil war, with heavy involvement from regional powers backing opposing sides, leaving the population on the brink of famine.

    War broke out in 2013 after Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sana’a, which led to a Saudi-led response, backed by the US, to reinstate the internationally-backed government.

    An estimated 8.4 million people in Yemen are at risk of severe famine and more than 22 million people, or 75 percent of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

    International pressure has been growing to end Western-support for Saudi’s involvement in Yemen as more than 2 million people have been displaced, and over 10,000 killed so far.

    The war has resulted in a collapsed economy and a cholera outbreak that has affected over 1.1 million people.”

  22. Suicide attack on mosque in Nigeria kills 11 (aa, Feb 16, 2019)

    “Police have confirmed 11 people dead in early Saturday morning suicide attacks inside a mosque in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.

    The attacks in Gwozari/Kushari area of state capital Maiduguri were carried out by two suicide bombers and a gunman, all believed to be Boko Haram militants who have waged a violent insurgency in the region since 2009.

    “Eleven people including three bombers died while 15 others sustained injuries and are currently hospitalized at the State Specialist Hospital Maiduguri,” Borno Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu said in a statement read to reporters in Maiduguri.

    The suicide attacks occurred just hours before Nigeria’s general elections were due to commence. The polls have now been delayed for logistics reasons.

    The latest incident came four days after militants waylaid the convoy of the state Governor Kashim Shettima, killing at least three persons including a soldier.”

  23. Three men held for Malmö cycle shooting (thelocal, feb 16, 2019)

    “Three men have been detained in Malmö for involvement in last September’s so-called ‘cycle shooting’ in the suburb of Fosie.

    The 21-year-old man suspected of pulling the trigger was recently released from custody after a court decided not to convict him for a violent burglary, according to the local Sydsvenskan newspaper.

    This was despite the fact that the victim had identified him as one of the perpetrators, and he had been seen wearing a jacket stolen in the robbery.

    Another of the accused, a 23-year-old, has already been singled out by Malmö police for special treatment as part of the “Sluta Skjut” or “Stop Shooting” project, which builds on the Group Violence Intervention strategy pioneered in the US.

    The murder took place on September 4 outside an apartment building. The victim was shot several times in the head, after which the perpetrators fled on bicycles.

    The 23-year-old targeted in Sluta Skjut has a string of previous convictions.

    Police believe he is connected to a group of Malmö criminals suspected of carrying out a contract killings in Mijas, near Málaga in Spain, in which a man was shot dead after being tortured with knives and a gardening shovel.

    Police told Sydsvenskan that the detailed picture of the man’s network and relationships, built up as part of Sluta Skjut, had helped tie him to cycle shooting. “

  24. Yellow Vest protests spill into LONDON as six arrested during violent Whitehall revolt (express, Feb 17, 2019)

    “THE Yellow Vest Movement that has dogged Paris, Amsterdam and EU headquarters in Brussels bled into Britain on Saturday as police arrested six in a violent clash at London’s Whitehall that saw two officers assaulted…”

  25. Knifed for ‘likes’: Horrified after witnessing a stabbing on her doorstep, Radio 4 presenter Kirsty Lang investigated – and what her teenager son showed her about a dark YouTube underworld shocked her to the core (dailymail, Feb 16, 2019)

    “At first, I thought the commotion outside my house was caused by revellers pouring out of the local pub.

    It wasn’t long before Christmas and, as I got ready for bed, I assumed the raised voices came from too much seasonal goodwill rather than anything more sinister.

    It was only when the flashing blue lights of an ambulance lit up my bedroom that I pulled back the curtain.

    There, sprawled on the pavement outside my house was a teenage boy. A paramedic was bent over him, trying to staunch the blood I could clearly see flooding from his abdomen.

    The boy looked so young and vulnerable as he was placed on a stretcher and carried to the ambulance, an oxygen mask over his face. Deeply shaken, I watched the ambulance speed off, wondering if he would survive.

    Later, when a police officer rang my doorbell to ask if I’d seen anything useful, he told me it was the second attack on a teenager he had attended in the area in 24 hours. That night I couldn’t sleep.

    As a former news reporter who worked amid the violence of the former Yugoslavia as it fell apart, this was not the first time I had seen a young man bleeding from a terrible wound.

    But this wasn’t the Balkans. It had happened on my doorstep, outside the house where I raised my own son, on the streets where he once walked to and from school every day.

    Shepherd’s Bush is a mixed area of West London. Large, run-down council estates lie a stone’s-throw from smart streets inhabited by journalists, broadcasters and a few well-known actors.

    Of course, I’d been concerned for my son during his school days, worried he might be mugged for his mobile phone.

    But stabbings, on the other hand, had seemed to be another matter – a horror confined to rival drugs gangs, probably in different parts of London.

    Like everyone else, I’d seen the disturbing reports showing that the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales is soaring – in fact, they have just recently reached their highest level since records began in 1946.

    Until that night before Christmas, however, gang stabbings didn’t intrude on my comfortable middle-class existence. Only then was I jolted into paying real attention.

    Like many parents, I had no idea at all. It was my grown-up son, who is studying sociology and has an interest in youth crime, who explained the shocking way that social media now dominates the lives of our teenagers.

    Perpetrators film their attacks and post the videos on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, glorying in the violence and using the attention they receive from their followers – particularly the votes of approval in the tally of ‘likes’ – to score points with their rivals…..”

    And it is projected directly into homes of all types – rich, poor, middle-class – via their mobile phones and tablets.

    Our teenagers are stabbing each other to death for ‘likes’.

    I started watching videos made by gangs in my area, including the W12 and MDP, which – according to some – stands for Money, Drugs, Power. Others say it stands for something still more disgusting.

    The clips show them rapping about how tough they are, boasting about their violence and goading rivals.

    Filmed on the walkways of local housing estates, I saw groups of teenage boys wearing black balaclavas and sportswear, gesturing as if shooting a gun and making stabbing motions as they name their victims.

    My son explained the meanings of the street slang they use. I now know that guns are ‘waps’ or ‘spinners’, knives are ‘shanks’ and ‘rambos’. Shootings or stabbings are referred to as ‘drillings’.

    The message was rammed home when I tried to find out what had happened to the boy on my doorstep.

    It didn’t take long before my screen was filled with articles about similar bloodshed in my area – clippings posted triumphantly on social media by the thugs responsible. All this, just a few clicks away from my own kitchen.

    Fortunately, the boy had survived and, although his condition was judged critical at first, he has since recovered and has been safely discharged from hospital. No arrests have been made.

    But my son’s request on Facebook for more information turned up another disturbing story.

    We learned there had been another recent stabbing just a couple of streets away – and this time the victim was someone we knew, a 16-year-old who had been at the same West London state primary school as my son. His older brother had been a close friend.

    There was a time, in fact, when I knew the family relatively well.

    I’d been to their home, chatted with their mother at the school gates and attended the same children’s birthday parties. We’d eventually lost touch, but I remembered the boy in question from a decade earlier – a dark-haired, rosy-cheeked six-year-old with a mischievous grin.

    Now he had been badly wounded as he walked home one evening with his older brother and I decided to make contact with his mother once again, if only to say how sorry I was about what had happened.

    We met in a local cafe. In a calm, soft voice, she told me about the night her son was stabbed: the icy fear that went through her when she got the call and the anxious hours that followed as her son lay on the operating table while surgeons repaired his punctured lung.

    Virginia (not her real name) told me that her son was recovering physically but the whole family were still in a state of shock.

    She insisted that he wasn’t involved in drugs and that he was not a member of a gang.

    He had been at a local secondary school but was not at all academic and was excluded aged 15, a few months before his GCSEs. Today, she is particularly critical of the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) where he and other excluded pupils were sent instead of normal schools.

    PRUs have gained a reputation for being little more than dustbins, breeding grounds for violence and criminality. Students consigned to them have a 99 per cent academic failure rate.

    And during our conversation, I was acutely aware that my own son might have ended up in the same situation.

    He’d been diagnosed with numerous learning difficulties, including attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. But I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to send him to a private school that provided the learning support he needed….”

    • “….Virginia is a devoted parent, but today she is at her wits’ end. She knows that her son needs guidance to get his life back on track, but she doesn’t know where to start. And how would she, when so much of teenagers’ lives is led online – and imagery of violence is everywhere?

      Virginia’s family have been helped by a youth advocate, Nathaniel Levy, who confirms that social media is one of the key drivers behind the spate of violence.

      ‘Local authority cuts to youth services are one thing, but social media is warping the minds of our young people,’ he told me.

      Nathaniel, who turned his back on a thriving property business after his younger brother was murdered, set up the Robert Levy Foundation with his parents, an organisation that tries to help young people at risk of violence through its mentoring programmes.

      The attitude behind the violence is extremely territorial – more so even than in the past.

      Where it used to be a case of one postcode against another, now it’s one block of flats or one side of the street against another. It’s known as ‘reppin your block’.

      If anyone from outside your area comes in, you have to attack them. The gangs operate a point-scoring system. If you stab someone you get points or ‘reps’; you’re known as a ‘bad boy’ who has ‘repped his block’.

      Last year, a former gang member told The Mail on Sunday that children as young as nine play a game called ‘Scores’ with gangs boasting of their attacks on social media in a bid to outdo their rivals.

      ‘The bigger the crime, the higher the points, the more and more you do something the more and more rep [reputation] you get, the more you get ranked up,’ said Chris Preddie, who grew up alongside gang members but has been awarded the OBE for his work with young offenders.

      Yet the situation is far from hopeless. Now 20, my son is at university in Glasgow.

      Once the murder capital of Europe, the city has managed to cut knife crime by more than half in the past 15 years by treating it not just as a police issue but a public health priority. Schools, hospitals and social workers have been asked to work together.

      I recently spoke at a fundraising dinner for the charity Leap Confronting Conflict, which offers training to young people to help them reduce violence in their communities.

      There, I met young people who had benefited from the programme, including a 17-year-old boy who had been left needing a colostomy bag after being stabbed.

      They told me that without adult supervision, and with nowhere to go, they were left with no choice but to spend their time on the streets around their homes.

      The danger surrounding them meant they felt forced to join gangs out of fear. ‘We needed to protect ourselves, and that was the only way we could do it,’ they told me.

      The Metropolitan Police’s gangs unit has identified 32 gangs operating in the borough of Hackney alone. They estimate that most of them are just groups of young boys who have banded together and are carrying knives to protect themselves or rep their block.

      Only six to seven of the gangs are making serious money from drugs but they don’t tend to carry knives because they don’t want to attract the attention of the police. It’s bad for business.

      Levy agrees that, for all the publicity, drug dealing is just a small part of the picture.

      ‘Many of these kids are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,’ he said.

      ‘They’ve seen friends injured or killed or faced death themselves. How can we expect these teenage boys to cope with this kind of trauma on their own?

      ‘They’re not learning social skills. The parents aren’t there for them because of pressures of work or because they’re also on their phones. If kids are left to raise themselves, their behaviour becomes extreme.’

      Knife crime touches lives far beyond those involved in the illegal drugs trade. It’s affecting increasing numbers of very ordinary young people, black and white, who feel abandoned, see no prospects for themselves and are turning to aggression to boost their self-esteem. Or live in terror of becoming victims themselves.

      One chilling aspect of Instagram and other social media platforms is their users often know an attack is due to take place. And they will know the identity of the perpetrators – terrifying spectres from their online worlds. But ‘snitching’ is a dangerous business.

      ‘If you won’t tell the police who stabbed you or your friends, the only reprisal you have is revenge,’ says Levy.

      ‘If we don’t invest time and resources in our young people, these levels of lawlessness will continue to spiral out of control. It’s like Lord of the Flies out there.’

      And, as I discovered, it’s far closer to home than we might think.””

  26. US warns European ISIS volunteers could create CARNAGE unless ‘locked up for LONG TIME’ (express, Feb 17, 2019)

    “EUROPEAN ISIS fighters could launch a new wave of terror attacks unless they are “locked up for a long time” by their home countries, according to a warning from a US government official.

    Separately an American government figure claimed the UK’s strategy is to “hope they don’t find a way back”. US authorities are worries European ISIS volunteers could reach America via visa waiver schemes. Justice Secretary David Gauke has warned the UK may be unable to stop British ISIS fighters returning to the country.

    Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph a US government source argued European jihadists would pose a terror threat unless “locked up for a long time”.

    A second American figure implicitly criticised the Governments policy on UK ISIS fighters, telling the paper it amounted to “leave them at large and hope they don’t find a way back”.

    US officials believe ISIS fighters from Europe pose a particular threat to America, because many can

    potentially access the country using visa waiver schemes.

    Suspected European ISIS fighters should be on a US no-fly list, but the system is not “foolproof” according to one American source.

    On Saturday Mr Gauke admitted the Government could struggle to stop UK ISIS militants returning to Britain…”

  27. India Slaps Pakistani Goods With 200 Percent Import Duty After Kashmir Attack (sputniknews, Feb 17, 2019)

    “India has imposed a 200-percent customs duty on goods imported from Pakistan due to a withdrawal of the most favored nation status from the country after the deadly terror attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir earlier in the week, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.

    “India has withdrawn MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200% with immediate effect”, Jaitley wrote on Twitter.

    On Friday, local media reported that the Indian authorities had decided to withdraw the most favored nation (MFN) status from Pakistan during an emergency government meeting in connection with the terrorist attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir…”

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