Contributor’s Links post for February 28, 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

124 Replies to “Contributor’s Links post for February 28, 2019”

  1. Denmark proposes deployment to France’s Operation Barkhane in the Sahel (thedefensepost, Feb 28, 2019)

    “The Danish government announced on Thursday, February 28 that it plans to send troops and equipment to support France’s Operation Barkhane in the Sahel.

    The government’s plans, which must be approved by parliament, include sending two transport helicopters and around 70 soldiers to the region for a one-year period starting at the end of 2019.

    “It is crucial for Danish and European security that we contribute to the stability of the area. The terrorist groups in the Sahel region threaten our common security,” said Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen in a statement.

    “That is why we are stepping up with France to defeat them,” Samuelsen said, adding that it was he hoped the region could be stabilized to “prevent irregular migration towards Europe.”

    The security situation in Mali and the entire Sahel region is worrying, and therefore Denmark should increase its involvement,” Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said, adding that “With a helicopter contribution to Operation Barkhane, we deliver a relevant and sought-after contribution.”

    Frederiksen also focused on the government’s restrictive migration policy, saying that “it is important that we contribute to the fight against terrorism and prevent the flow of refugees.”

    NATO member Denmark contributed to previous operations in Mali, deploying transport aircraft to the French-led Operation Serval in 2013, and personnel and equipment to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, Minusma.

    The recent unrest in the Sahel began in Mali in 2012 with Tuareg separatist uprising against the state, which was exploited by Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda who took key cities in the desert north.

    France began its Operation Serval military intervention in its former colony early the next year, driving the militants from the towns, but the jihadist groups morphed into more nimble formations operating in rural areas, sometimes winning over local populations by providing basic services and protection from bandits.

    The insurgency has gradually spread to central and southern regions of Mali, and across the borders into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

    Large swathes of the country remain outside government control, despite a 2015 peace accord designed to isolate the Islamists.

    The French mission evolved into the current Operation Barkhane, which has roughly 4,500 French personnel deployed with a mandate for counter-terrorism operations across the region. Three U.K. Royal Air Force Chinook heavy lift helicopters based in Gao have since August 2018 supported French troops in Mali, and 50 Estonian soldiers are deployed in Gao in a force-protection capacity.

    Troops deployed to Barkhane work alongside the U.N. Minusma stabilization mission in Mali, which began in 2013 and has about 12,000 troops and 1,750 police deployed, as well as the G5 Sahel joint counter-terrorism force that aims to train and deploy up to 5,000 personnel.”

  2. Jubeir seeks global intervention to prevent Iran from inciting sectarian conflicts (saudigazette, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir called on the international community to put an end to Iran’s inciting of sectarian conflicts in the region through supporting terrorist outfits and militias. “The world community shall intervene to end the human rights violations being committed by Tehran against groups of the Iranian people, as well as cross-border violations, and interference in the internal affairs of the countries in the region. He made the remarks while addressing the 40th Ordinary Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

    He affirmed that the Kingdom’s stance is consistent in supporting Yemen, its people and legitimate government in confronting the Iran-backed terrorist Houthi militia, which is the main cause of the conflict in Yemen. “The Kingdom continues to provide all forms of support and assistance to the people of Yemen,” Al-Jubeir said, referring to the assistance amounting to more than $13 billion by January 2019 and providing $500 million for 2019 at the Pledging Conference on Yemen on Tuesday.

    The Saudi government condemns the gross and systematic violations of human rights being committed against the Rohingya minority Jubeir said while calling for concerted efforts to put an end to these violations, as well as to allow the return of refugees to their homeland and provide them with humanitarian assistance…”

  3. In intimidation tactic, Syria arrests 50 children in Homs (memo, Feb 28, 2019)

    “The Syrian regime has arrested some 50 children in the Homs governate after leaflets were distributed amongst local residents expressing support for the Syrian revolution, Orient News has reported.

    Local activists told reporters that the minors, aged between 13 and 16, were detained by intelligence services in raids on their homes and schools in the town of Al-Rastan on Tuesday; almost three days later, their current location has still not been disclosed.

    Whilst the exact charges are unknown, the arrest campaign comes after leaflets were found near a local mosque expressing support for the opposition group Ahrar Al-Shaam among other factions. It is not clear if the children were responsible for distributing the flyers or if the arrests are an attempt to punish family members who are suspected of publishing the leaflets. Relatives have been informed only that the children are safe, but no timescale has been set for their release.

    The latest detentions have prompted fear of further reprisals against local residents, with some expressing a desire to travel to Idlib, the last opposition stronghold, in order to escape what they consider intimidation tactics from Damascus.

    The wave of arrests also follows the news that three young men from Al-Rastan previously detained by the government have died in prison, reportedly as a result of torture…”

  4. France investigates claims Algeria persecuting Christians (memo, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Through President Emmanuel Macron’s party, the French parliament has reopened the file of the rights of Christian minorities in Algeria, claiming that the authorities are exerting pressure on Christians.

    According to official papers, French officials said special attention should be paid to the administrative pressures exerted by the Algerian government on places of worship and Protestant churches.

    France will intervene and take action to express concern about the lack of religious freedoms, they added.

    Since November 2017, the Algerian authorities have closed churches and held legal proceedings against Christian clerics, some of whom have been acquitted, while others have been fined because they imported Christian books, the French papers said.”

  5. Bangladesh tells U.N. Security Council cannot take more Myanmar refugees (reuters, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Bangladesh told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that it cannot take any more refugees from Myanmar, some 18 months after more than 700,000 mainly Rohingya Muslims started pouring across the border fleeing a military crackdown…”

  6. Islamist bomb targets Mogadishu hotel, killing at least 10 (reuters, Feb 28, 2019)

    “A suicide car bombing targeting a Mogadishu hotel by the Islamist group Al Shabaab on Thursday killed at least 10 people and destroyed buildings in the Somali capital’s busiest street, police said.

    It was one of the heaviest blasts to have hit Mogadishu in recent times.

    It took place in a business center in Maka Al Mukaram street which has hotels, shops and restaurants, Police Major Mohamed Hussein told Reuters. Cars in the street were set ablaze.

    “Over ten people died. A hotel is burning and other buildings were ruined by the blast. Twenty injured people were carried out. We believe more dead bodies are in the ruined buildings,” Police Major Abdullahi Ali said.

    Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack…”

  7. Iraq doctors say vendettas threaten their lives as they save others (gulfnews, Feb 28, 2019)

    “… Doctors, nurses, and other health workers across Iraq say they regularly risk being physically harassed, verbally threatened, and even kidnapped while on the job.

    They blame this on the longstanding tradition of personal gun ownership in Iraq, a country ravaged by decades of violence.

    And because of the retaliatory form of justice relied on by tribes – which often trumps federal law – some doctors had to pay as much as $45,000 to settle vendettas with patients’ families, said Kamali.

    As a result of this violent and chaotic situation, many doctors have opted to leave Iraq for safer hospitals abroad – something 32-year-old Kamali is herself increasingly considering.

    Of the 348 doctors who graduated with her in 2009 from medical school 285 have already left the country “mainly because of these assaults”, she said…”

    • They blame this on the longstanding tradition of personal gun ownership in Iraq…
      Gee, sounds like young Hogg from Florida, USA has taught them something about “gun violence”.

  8. US offers $1m reward to find Osama Bin Laden’s son (gulfnews, Feb 28, 2019)

    “The United States on Thursday offered a $1 million (Dh3.67 million) reward for information on a son of late Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, seeing him as an emerging leader of the extremist network.

    The location of Hamza Bin Laden has been the subject of speculation for years with reports of him in Pakistan, Afghanistan or under house arrest in Iran.”

  9. India bans Jamaat-e-Islami in occupied Kashmir for five years (tribune, Mar 1, 2019)

    “India banned a religious political party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), for five years in occupied Kashmir on Thursday, accusing it of supporting
    militancy in the Himalayan region.

    A police officer said Indian authorities arrested about 300 JeI leaders and activists in recent days in a crackdown on militancy in the state after a suicide bomber killed over 40 paramilitary police on February 14 in Pulwama district.

    The attack was reportedly claimed by a banned militant group Jaish-e- Muhammad.

    Created in 1942, JeI participated in Indian elections for more than two decades before becoming engaged with pro-freedom politics.

    It is the third ban to be imposed on the organisation, which wants occupied Kashmir to be independent from India…”

    • They’re not just after Kashmir. Myanmar/Burma, Bangladesh. They’ve got associates in the UK, Canada, and the USA [the San Bernadino killers].


      Jamaat-e-Islami is an Islamic political organisation and social conservative movement founded in 1941 in British India by the Islamic theologian and socio-political philosopher, Abul Ala Maududi.[1]

      Along with the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, Jamaat-e-Islami was one of the original and most influential Islamist organisations,[2] and the first of its kind to develop “an ideology based on the modern revolutionary conception of Islam”.[3]

      The group split into separate independent organisations in India and Pakistan—Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind—following the Partition of India in 1947. Other groups related to or inspired by Jamaat-e-Islami developed in Bangladesh, Kashmir, BRITAIN, and Afghanistan…The Jamaat-e-Islami parties maintain ties internationally with other Muslim groups.[4]
      See also [2005]: Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions

      (“Muslims of the Americas”, aka Jamaat ul-Fuqra. They’re especially active recruiting blacks in prisons, organized into armed enclaves that aren’t easy to track.
      Their allegiance is to the Pakistani controllers, who despise them, of course.)

  10. Don’t mock with Turkey’s security concerns: Erdo?an (hurriyetdailynews, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Turkey has been exposed to multi-pronged attacks as no other period, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Feb. 28 criticizing those who fleers the security concerns expressed by the government.

    “Some are fleering when we talk about Turkey’s security issue now. However, every coup, coup attempts were matter of security in the history of this country,” Erdo?an said speaking at a rally in Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum.

    “Turkey’s coups, juntas, tutelage of this dark page show us that we need to embrace our independence and future more tightly,” he said.

    If this problem was addressed properly, realities were illuminated and discussed sufficiently at the time of these coups, maybe further pain would be abstained he said.

    Therefore his government tries to tell people about the details of this era Turkey has been passing through with all its dimensions, the president said.

    “In the past six years, Turkey has been exposed to many multi-pronged attacks more than ever before. None of these was a coincidence.” he said.

    The period Erdo?an was referring goes to the Gezi Park protests, anti-government protests that shook Turkey in 2013. Turkey also faced a failed coup attempt in July 15, 2016. Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen is believed to orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

    They will never allow separation of Turkey by Kurdish separatists, he said noting that if anyone has such a desire that should go to northern Iraq.

    Recalling that today is Feb.28, the anniversary of so-called “post-modern coup,” which is known as “Feb. 28”, Erdo?an said it was the “shame day on behalf of our democracy”.

    He recalled that female students wearing headscarves were not allowed to enter the universities the time. Erdo?an blamed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for those days. “It is the CHP mindset,” he said adding that one of the rectors that questioned those students was then elected as a CHP lawmaker.

    He accused the CHP leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu of being “putchist” because he did not address to the crowds in Istanbul Atatürk Airport on the night of June 15 coup attempt but went to nearby Bak?rköy Municipality instead.”

  11. Updating customs union with EU is priority: Turkish Finance Minister (hurriyetdailynews, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Turkey and the European Union have agreed in high-level talks held in Istanbul that the existing customs union needs to be upgraded.

    “Bilateral trade volume between the bloc and Turkey has almost quadrupled over the past 15 years to around $165 billion. This is a well-balanced trade relationship. The issue of upgrading the customs union, which would be beneficial to both parties, should be addressed urgently,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Feb. 28 following the third High Level Economic Dialogue meeting with Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission.

    Albayrak added that besides the customs union, he also discussed visa liberalization, which would boost bilateral trade and investments, with Katainen.

    “Turkey is our fifth largest trading partner, thus we have deep relations. The European Union wants to maintain its close relations with Turkey,” Katainen told reporters at a joint press conference with Albayrak.

    “The customs union should be upgraded,” the EU official added.

    He also said that visa liberalization will be granted as soon as Turkey meets the required criteria, noting that Ankara has already satisfied 68 criteria out of a total 72.

    Ankara may meet the remaining criteria in less than three years, Katainen also said.

    Turkey has been pushing for upgrading the customs union deal which came into force on in December 1995.

    The deal covers all industrial goods but does not address agriculture (apart from processed agricultural products), services or public procurement.

    Bilateral trade concessions apply to agricultural goods as well as coal and steel products.

    In December 2016, the European Commission proposed modernizing the customs union and further extending the bilateral trade relations to areas such as services, public procurement and sustainable development.

    According to data from the European Commission, Turkey is the EU’s fourth largest export market and fifth largest provider of imports.

    Turkey’s exports to the European Union are mostly machinery and transport equipment, followed by manufactured goods while the bloc’s exports to Turkey are dominated by machinery and transport material, chemical products and manufactured goods.

    The country’s exports to the European Union increased by 4 percent on an annual basis to $6.76 billion in January.

    The European Union’s share in Turkey’s total exports was as much as 51 percent in the first month of the year.

    Turkey has been a candidate country to join the European Union since 1999.”

  12. Police arrest 2 Daesh members in eastern Turkey (aa, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Turkish police arrested two suspects in eastern Turkey for their links to the terrorist group Daesh, security sources said on Thursday.

    The police conducted anti-terror operations at two locations in eastern Elazig province to arrest two suspects, who were reportedly operating on behalf of Daesh in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor and Al-Bukamal, said the sources who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

    On Wednesday, a Syrian man believed to be the so-called emir of the Daesh terror group was arrested in Turkey’s western Bursa province.

    More than 300 people have lost their lives in Daesh-claimed attacks in Turkey, where the terror organization has targeted civilians in suicide bombs, rocket and gun attacks.

    Turkish security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to thwart Daesh activities.”

  13. Turkish Coast Guard saves 47 migrants on drifting boat (aa, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Nearly 50 irregular migrants, adrift at sea and near drowning, were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard on Thursday.

    The Afghan-origin migrants were in the sea off Gokceada in Canakkale, northwestern Turkey, headed to Greece, when their rubber boat lost power.

    Then the boat started taking on water, putting the 47 migrants — including nine women and 23 children — at serious risk of drowning.

    Fortunately, they were able to reach a Turkish Coast Guard hotline, which led to their rescue.

    The migrants were later taken to provincial migration directorates.

    Separately, a group of 47 Syrian migrants who illegally crossed to Turkey were held by security forces in rural Altinozu in the southern Hatay province.

    The migrants were later taken to the local gendarmerie office.

    Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.

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

  14. Here goes the Olympics.

    NUTS: Olympics to Allow Transgender Athletes to Compete with Women — WITHOUT Having Gender Reassignment Surgery

    The end of women’s sports as we know it.

    For the second year in a row, transgender wrestler Mack Beggs won the Texas girls’ Class 6A 110-pound wrestling division. Beggs is in the process of transitioning from female to male and taking testosterone. Mack won the title last year too.

    In October 2018 trangender Dr. Rachel McKinnon (in the middle) became the first ever transgender world champion in a womens cycling event.
    Learn more about RevenueStripe…

    In March 2017, Laurel Hubbard, a 39 year-old transgender who was born male, won her first international women’s weightlifting title in Australia breaking four national records in the process.

    Last week two trans athletes won 1st and 2nd place at the Connecticut state indoor track championships.

    Democrats call this “progress.”
    Earlier this week Olympic officials ruled transgender athletes will be allowed to compete as the other sex in the Olympics WITHOUT having gender reassignment surgery.

    This is the modern day left.

  15. Disaster looms as more Somalis flee conflict: Report (aa, Feb 28, 2019)

    “A non-governmental organization has warned of an impending catastrophe as last year the number of civilians fleeing conflict in Somalia shot up to 320,000, the highest in four years.

    The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) report released on Wednesday said this number is up from 202,000 people displaced in 2017.

    Evelyn Aero, the group’s regional adviser, said in a statement: “We’re alarmed at the sharp increase in the number of civilians forced to flee their homes in Somalia. The conflict is getting worse for civilians, making thousands more homeless. If this worrying trend continues, it could lead to catastrophe.”

    Most of the people fleeing from conflict are from the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.

    He warned that the displaced are living in crowded camps where healthcare is poor, countries such as Kenya that provide refuge for Somalis are no longer registering new refugees.

    “These families take refuge in crowded camps for displaced people in Somalia, living in flimsy shelters. They’re vulnerable to malaria, evictions, insecurity and gender-based violence. Young children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition and disease. They urgently need more aid to survive,” he said.

    Many are also displaced due to drought, evictions, and flooding, among other causes. The United Nations humanitarian appeal for Somalia seeks in 2019 $1.08 billion, so far only $67 million has been funded.”

  16. Kyrgyz court shifts FETO-linked company funds to Turkey (aa, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan ruled Thursday for the transfer of funds of FETO-linked Kaynak Holding in the country to Turkey’s insurance fund.

    Earlier, Turkey appointed trustees to Kaynak Holding, which was accused of providing financial support to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, or FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

    Turkey’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Cengiz Kamil Firat said that the case was tried for two years, and the court’s decision was in favor of Turkey.

    “For the first time, FETO has lost a case abroad with an ultimate court decision,” Firat said on the transfer of Kaynak Holding funds to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey.

    FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

    Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.”

  17. Five youths ‘abducted, abused girls’ (ansa, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Police from Como on Thursday arrested five youths – three adults and two minors – on suspicion of abducting four minor girls, shutting them in a room for over three hours and sexually abusing at least one of them, judicial sources said.

    Police said the five “acted like a gang”.

    In particular, police said, they picked on one 16-year-old girl and bit her.”

  18. Islamist terror threat hasn’t dropped – intelligence (ansa, Feb 28, 2019)

    “The threat from Islamist extremists has not declined as shown by “numerous alerts about planned terrorist attacks targeting Western targets”, the DIS security department, which is part of Italy’s intelligence network, said in its annual report on Thursday.

    It said that ISIS “has shown itself still to be capable of inspiring attacks in Europe” which the group can do by indicating people and methods to carry out attacks, despite its defeats on the ground.

    The report said jihadist propaganda was calling on extremists to use new forms of weapons, such as drones loaded with explosives to target events attended by big crowds and shopping centres. The report also sounded the alarm about homegrown terrorists radicalised in Italy.

    It said the intelligence services were paying great attention to the cases of 138 foreign fighters with links to Italy who went to Syria and Iraq.”

  19. Sweden moves to tighten anti-terror laws: five key things to know (thelocal, Feb 28, 2019)

    “The Swedish government wants to tighten the laws applying to people who take part in or assist terrorist organizations. Here are five things to know about the law proposal and what it means.

    What is the proposed new law?

    The government has proposed introducing two new laws: one making it illegal to be participate in a terrorist organization, and one making it illegal to cooperate with these organizations.

    The laws would apply to people who recruit new members to the organization, something which is currently only punishable by law if these people were recruited specifically to carry out terrorist crimes. They would also make it a criminal offence to ‘assist’ terrorist organizations through giving them use of premises, arranging transport, providing them with equipment, or raising money for these groups, even if the person doing so is not a member.

    “We will discover more cases of those who commit these crimes. It will be easier to map the networks themselves,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said on Thursday, after the law was referred to Sweden’s legislative council for consideration.

    The law would not however be applied retroactively, meaning that people who have previously joined terror groups would not be prosecuted.

    How does it compare with existing laws?

    Several existing laws deal with terror-related crimes in Sweden; for example, it’s illegal to openly call for terrorist crimes, to travel internationally for terrorist purposes and to train or recruit people to carry out such crimes. But the idea is that new law would make it possible to prosecute people even without evidence of this active involvement.

    Following the deadly truck attack in central Stockholm in 2017, Sweden’s government and opposition made an agreement on measures to tackle terrorism. This included tightening-up of laws, and a government-ordered inquiry suggested that it should be made illegal to be part of a terrorist organization.

    What would the punishment be?

    Under the proposal, the punishment would be up to six years’ imprisonment for crimes classified as ‘aggravated’, and up to two years in other cases. Sweden’s justice minister has said that involvement in Isis or al-Qaida, for example, would count as an aggravated crime.

    These numbers are provisional, and may be changed before the law comes into force.

    How do Sweden’s laws compare to other countries?

    Several EU countries have introduced laws similar to the Swedish proposal. In Belgium, more than 350 people have been sentenced for crimes linked to terrorism in recent years, and the most common crime is taking part in a terrorist group’s business.

    What are the next steps?

    The proposal was officially presented on Thursday afternoon and submitted for review by the Council of Legislation. This is the body that checks draft bills before they can be submitted to parliament. Its decisions are advisory and non-binding, but the government often clarifies legislation based on the council’s suggestions.

    If the legislative council doesn’t raise any issues with the bill’s legal viability, Löfven has said the plan is to put the proposal to parliament relatively soon, with the aim of having the law come into force on August 1st.”

  20. Berlin blackout raises questions over Germany’s power grid (DW, Feb 28, 2019)

    “A power outage in the German capital has prompted questions over the stability of the country’s power supply. The Interior Ministry has admitted there is no comprehensive national contingency plan.

    In the wake of a blackout in Berlin last week , German authorities are being asked to re-examine the resilience of the country’s critical infrastructure.

    The outage in the Köpenick district of the German capital was unusually long, at over 30 hours, and unusually wide, leaving over 30,000 households and 2,000 businesses without electricity.

    Initial investigations suggest that its origins were not nefarious: a Swiss construction firm working on a road bridge had apparently failed to check certain underground plans and cut through a 110,000 volt cable.

    But the incident prompted RBB, Berlin’s local public broadcaster, to ask what would happen in the event of a national power cut, and the Interior Ministry did not exactly calm nerves on Thursday by telling the outlet, for a show called Kontraste, that “a comprehensive national emergency plan to deal with such an event does not exist as such.”

    atastrophe coordination

    The ministry went on to underline that Germany’s 16 state governments are responsible for disaster protection, which means there are 16 different procedures and sets of regulations for what to do in an emergency.

    Although there is a federal government agency dedicated to “civil protection and disaster assistance,” the BBK, which coordinates emergency plans and supplies in the case of a major catastrophe, there are those who say this is not good enough.

    “There needs to be a national emergency plan,” the Green party interior policy spokesman Konstantin von Notz told the radio station Deutschlandfunk. “That would need to be coordinated very precisely with the states and the local governments. But it needs to feed together politically and organizationally somewhere.”

    According to the BBK, this is a task taken on by one of its departments, called the Common Federal and State Reporting and Situation Center, which among other things requires the states to keep it constantly updated on any situations relevant to critical infrastructure.

    What must be done

    But this center is just a subdepartment of a government agency that is part of a ministry — nothing like, say, the Department of Homeland Security, which performs the same role in the United States with a budget of $40 billion (€35 billion).

    “The BBK can only make advisory recommendations,” said Hans-Walter Borries, vice chairman of the critical infrastructure association BSKI. “They work out very good directives and handbooks, but the actual power is with the states, and the local governments.”

    What Germany lacks, he told DW, are “adequate logistics and supply plans” for what to do in the case of large-scale power cuts, particularly what emergency supplies exist for hospitals, care homes and emergency services.” A hospital in Berlin had to move its intensive care patients last week as a result of the outage, for example.

    The renewable threat

    As it happens, Germany has a comparatively strong power grid: The country ranks well on the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), an internationally-used indicator of supply reliability.

    Germany’s SAIDI score, an average of 12.2 minutes of disruption a year, is a quarter of that of neighboring France, and the federal network agency reported that users were only without electricity for an average of 15 minutes in the whole of 2017.

    Also, the probability of a major blackout like the one in Berlin is small, since networks are set up so that if one substation fails, another is supposed to automatically spring into action. This, Borries thinks, is why the government has also failed to draw up a national contingency plan with much urgency.

    But Borries also says the probability of smaller outages, of less than 3 minutes, has risen in the last few years. This, he believes, is partly down to an increase in Germany’s reliance on renewable energy. And given that Germany is currently in the midst of an “energy transition” to renewables, the need for a contingency plan is much more urgent. “We need safe supply, an expansion of the networks and more storage capacity,” he said.

    “The daily electricity demand, around midday, is somewhere between 60-70 gigawatts in Germany,” he said. “Now if 5 gigawatts are suddenly missing, for whatever reason — too expensive prices on the international market, a hacker attack on a power station, or an extreme weather situation — that has an effect on the whole grid.””

  21. German journalists urge Turkey to stop hindering foreign press (DW, Feb 28, 2019)

    “Several foreign journalists in Turkey are still waiting for their 2019 accreditations. Reporters Without Borders says the delay is a “brazen attempt to restrict independent foreign reporting.”

    The German wing of media oversight organization Reporters Without Borders has urged Turkish authorities not to hinder the job of foreign correspondents in the country.

    The group said several foreign journalists, including half of the German correspondents in Turkey, have been waiting for their accreditation to be renewed since the beginning of the year.

    On Thursday, some foreign journalists were denied entry to a press conference with Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and a Vice President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, in Istanbul because they had yet to receive their new press cards.

    Christian Mihr of Reporters without Borders in Germany said the delay in handing out new accreditation was a “brazen attempt” by Ankara to “restrict independent foreign reporting.”

    “The Turkish authorities must immediately ensure that foreign correspondents in Turkey can work freely,” Mihr said.

    The press cards allow foreign journalists to work and live in Turkey.

    Dismal track record

    Turkish government officials attributed the delay to the switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system after the elections in June.

    Mihr rejected the explanation, saying that with just weeks to go for key local elections in Turkey, the delay could hardly be a result of a “bureaucratic glitch.”

    Turkey has a dismal track record when it comes to press freedom and ranks 157th out of 180 states in the press freedom ranking.

    According to the Reporters Without Borders, more than 100 reporters are sitting behind bars in Turkey, which the group refers to as the “world’s biggest prison for professional journalists.”

    In January, a court in Istanbul sentenced DW journalist Pelin Unker to 13 months and 15 days in prison over her reports about an alleged link between a former premier and an offshore account.”

  22. Former Labour peer is to face trial accused of sexually assaulting a boy and a girl under 13 (dailymail, Mar 1, 2019)

    “A peer is to stand trial accused of sexually assaulting a boy and a girl under 13, it was reported last night.

    Former Labour peer Lord Nazir Ahmed has been charged with two attempted rapes and one indecent assault.

    He is alleged to have committed the offences when he was a teenager in Rotherham in the 1970s. He is one of three men facing linked criminal charges.

    Lord Ahmed, 61, joined the Labour party at 18 and became Rotherham’s first Asian councillor and youngest magistrate.

    Tony Blair appointed the father of three as a peer in 1998, making him one of the first Muslims to enter the Lords. He left Labour in 2013 but remains a peer with no party affiliation.

    Lord Ahmed is alleged to have indecently assaulted the boy in 1971-72, when he was 14 or 15, The Times reported.

    He is also accused of two attempted rapes in 1973-74 aged 16 or 17.

    Two others are accused in connection with the assaults. Mohamed Farooq, 68, faces four charges of indecent assault and Mohammed Tariq, 63, two indecent assault charges.

    They are due before Sheffield magistrates on March 19.”

  23. Shamima Begum ‘flees from jihadi death threats’: ISIS bride takes newborn son and vanishes from refugee camp ‘in late-night escape after price was put on her head’ (dailymail, Mar 1, 2019)

    “Shamima Begum and her newly born baby have vanished from the refugee camp they were staying in after receiving death threats.

    The 19-year-old, from Bethnal Green, east London, who left the UK for Syria in 2015 to join ISIS, is thought to have been taken to the Roj camp near the Iraqi border in a late-night escape after a price was put on her head.

    ISIS wives at the Al-Hawl refugee camp believe she has disgraced their cause by giving media interviews about life under the caliphate, which has earned her ‘celebrity’ status in the camp.

    A source told The Sun: ‘Shamima was threatened directly in the camp.

    ‘She is living in fear of her life. There is a bounty on her head. She felt she had no option but to move her and her child to have a chance of survival.

    ‘Shamima has become something of a celebrity and is constantly looking over her shoulder, fearing brutal reprisals for daring to speak out about life with ISIS.

    ‘She’s in misery, but only has herself to blame.’

    Islamic hardliners also criticised her for repeatedly appearing on television without covering her face…”

      • MI6 trying to sneak her back to the uk on the quiet.

        Le bingo. Using a smoke screen for a passport.

        The only acceptable proof of her peril is severe bodily harm. And I expect a preponderance of proof.

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