Contributor’s links post for April 1, 2019

Daily Links Post graphic

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

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

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

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

About Eeyore

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

127 Replies to “Contributor’s links post for April 1, 2019”

  1. Trump Cuts Aid to Three Unhelpful Central American Countries
    Payback for not lifting a finger to stop the migrant caravans.
    April 1, 2019
    Joseph Klein

    As the crisis at our nation’s southern border with Mexico worsens due to the unremitting flow of migrants from Central America, President Trump decided late last week to cut aid to the three Central American countries that were contributing most to the problem – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The cut off affects nearly $500 million of allotted but unspent aid for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and millions more for the previous year. President Trump finally decided to take this drastic step, after having issued warnings in the past. He charged that these three countries in particular – known collectively as the Northern Triangle – were receiving “tremendous amounts of money” from the United States without doing anything to stop the increasing numbers of caravans from proceeding north towards the United States. “No money goes there anymore…we’re not paying them any more because they haven’t done a thing for us,” the president said on Friday.

    Some Democrats are crying foul, claiming that Congress must approve an end to the funding. Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is the ranking Democrat on the Republican-chaired Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that President Trump’s decision was “irresponsible” and “reckless.” Senator Menendez claimed this action “shows the Administration still does not understand that the United States cuts foreign aid to Central America at our own peril.” He added that “President Trump reportedly wants to make matters worse by blocking resources for programs that get to the root causes of this humanitarian crisis.”

  2. Crony State: Obamas’ Chicago Fixer Tina Tchen
    Leftist race-hustling has its privileges.
    April 1, 2019
    Michelle Malkin

    How did hate crime huckster Jussie Smollett get away with it? All crooked roads in Chicago lead back to the Obamas.

    On Tuesday, as part of a sealed deal, the Illinois state attorney’s office dismissed 16 felony charges brought by a grand jury against the Trump-hating actor, who blamed phantom white MAGA supporters for a brutal racist “assault” that left him with a teensy-weensy scratch under his eye. The day before the “attack,” Smollett’s two bodybuilding friends were caught on surveillance tape buying costumery (red hat, ski masks, bandanas, sunglasses and gloves) that just happened to match Smollett’s descriptions of what his still-fugitive assailants were wearing.

    But I guess there’s no use crying over spilled bleach.

    To atone for the-fakery-that-shall-not-be-named, Smollett performed 18 hours of “community service” with Jesse Jackson’s PUSH Coalition and forfeited his $10,000 bond.

    Minority liberal race-hustling has its privileges.

    And that brings us to the Democratic operatives behind the scenes. Two weeks ago, Chicago Sun-Times reporters discovered that Obama crony pal and deep-pocketed campaign finance mega-bundler Tina Tchen had inserted herself in the investigation. Tchen texted Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx just three days after the incident “on behalf of Jussie Smollett and family who I know” to express “concerns.” She suggested that Foxx lean on Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to yield to the FBI and she shared an unidentified Smollett’s family member’s cellphone number with Foxx.

  3. Turkey’s Islamist Regime Suffers Setback in Major Cities
    April 1, 2019
    Daniel Greenfield
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    Back when he was mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan reportedly said, “Democracy is like a streetcar, you get off once you have reached your stop”.

    Erdogan reached his destination a while back. He controls the media and the police. And he recently used a fake coup to seize control over what was left of the system.

    But the latest elections serve as a major rebuke to his AKP Islamist party in Turkey’s major cities. Including in Istanbul.

    The problem is the economy.

  4. Obama Judge Claims Trump Has No Right to Drop Obama Drilling Ban
    March 31, 2019
    Daniel Greenfield

    Obama judges have engaged in two kinds of blatant activist sabotage of his successor.

    1. Claims of insufficient procedural consideration, notice, consideration, etc…

    2. The insistence that Obama executive orders, permissions and bans are somehow now permanent legal status, and his successor has no right to act contrary to his unilateral diktats.

    The latter is the case with the latest case of judicial activism by Judge Sharon Gleason, an Obama judge, combating offshore drilling

  5. Why Palestinians are Fleeing Lebanon

    by Khaled Abu Toameh
    April 1, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Palestinians appear finally fed up with the apartheid and discriminatory laws they have been subjected to in Lebanon in the past few decades. They appear fed up with the ongoing apathy towards their plight in the international community and media. They also appear fed up with the international media’s obsession with Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The only Palestinians the international media reports about are those whose “problems” are directly linked to Israel.

    For the past year, dozens of international journalists based in the Middle East have been covering the weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border. These journalists, however, seem to care precious little about the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon, who, for several decades now, have been protesting the apartheid and discrimination practiced by an Arab country.

    In an attempt to draw the international community to their grievances, the Palestinians of Lebanon have launched a campaign called “Hakki” (“My Right”) to demand equality and an end to discrimination. The campaign was launched on the 18th anniversary of a law prohibiting non-Lebanese nationals, including Palestinians, from owning property in Lebanon.

  6. UAE Rejects Report by HRC Experts on Yemen (aawsat, Apr 1, 2019)

    “The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Anwar Gargash, has expressed his categorical rejection of a report by the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen.

    He urged the Human Rights Council (HRC) to instead refocus on providing support to the Yemeni government to be able to establish institutions aimed at protecting human rights in the country.

    “The Group’s mistakes, misjudgments, and methodology are too numerous and serious to be ignored,” Gargash explained in a letter addressed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

    For this reason, he said, the UAE along with many other HRC members have decided last year not to support renewing the Group’s mandate.

    Attached to the letter was a detailed assessment of the Group of Experts’ report published in 2018, according to WAM.

    This assessment took several months to be prepared and was based on a thorough study of the report and its methodology in addition to relevant principles of international law.

    It found that the Group has surpassed its mandate in several means while failing to fulfill important aspects.

    It failed to convey an accurate image of the conflict in Yemen and didn’t apply it to its monitoring and reporting functions, and its methodological approach was flawed.

    The Group also misinterpreted and misapplied international law and presented incorrect claims against the UAE.

    Gargash said his country believes that asking the Group to prepare another report won’t achieve its shared objective to boost protection and promotion of human rights for Yemenis.

    “The UAE firmly believes the people of Yemen would be better served if the HRC refocuses on providing support, capacity building and technical assistance of which the Yemeni government has consistently requested.”

    “This would serve as an important step in rebuilding institutions that will be essential in laying the foundation for a more hopeful future for all Yemenis,” Gargash noted.

    He reiterated the UAE’s support for Bachelet’s mandate and her role in consistently working with member states and other relevant parties to address human rights challenges around the world, including in Yemen.

    The conflict in Yemen and the humanitarian suffering in many parts of the country is due to the illegal and violent coup by Houthi militias against the legitimate government in 2014, he explained.

    Gargash added that the UAE’s actions, as part of the Saudi-led coalition, are undertaken at the request of the legitimate government and in full accordance with international law.”

  7. Observers concerned over curbs on freedom in Turkey (saudigazette, Apr 1, 2019)

    “A European group observing Turkey’s local elections criticized on Monday curbs on the free expression of citizens and journalists a day after local polls in which Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan suffered stunning setbacks as his ruling AK Party lost control of the capital Ankara for the first time since the party’s founding in 2001.

    The head of the observation mission carried out by the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities cited the need for people to express opinions without fear of government reprisal.

    “I am afraid we…are not fully convinced that Turkey currently has the free and fair electoral environment which is necessary for genuinely democratic elections in line with European values and principles,” said Andrew Dawson.

    “But we do take the fact that many parties have been successful as a positive sign of Turkey’s democratic resilience,” he told reporters in Ankara.

    Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics since coming to power 16 years ago and ruled his country with an ever tighter grip, campaigned relentlessly for two months ahead of Sunday’s vote, which he described as a “matter of survival” for Turkey.

    But his daily rallies and overwhelmingly supportive media coverage failed to win over voters in the two main cities, as last year’s punishing currency crisis weighed heavily on Turks.

    “The people have voted in favor of democracy, they have chosen democracy,” said opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, whose secularist CHP also held its Aegean coastal stronghold of Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city. — Agencies

    Despite eking out majority support across the country, defeat for Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted party in Ankara was a significant blow for the president. The possibility of losing Istanbul, where he launched his political career and served as mayor in the 1990s, was an even greater shock…”

  8. Canada must bring home its own from the ruins of Islamic State (mee, Apr 1, 2019)

    “It is high time that we engage in reasoned, nuanced and considered debate about bringing Daesh members to justice

    despise Daesh (the Islamic State group) and its ilk. In fact, I have spent a better part of my life challenging their religious interpretations and practices.

    Yet, I believe that Ottawa must repatriate Canadians who answered the Daesh call, because this is the right thing to do if we truly believe in human rights and constitutional principles.

    For children’s sake
    We must learn from the recent death of Jarrar, the newborn son of British-born Shamima Begum, who left the UK as a 15-year-old. The baby died after London revoked Shamima’s citizenship and left them both to ostensibly stew in her hate.

    Under British law, Shamima Begum was a child when she left. Now, a British baby is dead for his parents’ sins. As British MP Anna Soubry wrote, the UK breached its duty to Jarrar.

    The former Conservative MP rightfully argued that Shamima should have been brought to the UK, questioned, and had the law books thrown at her while her son should have been given the “protection and the support that a civilised country provides for all its children.”

    Kurdish authorities say that 5,000 former alleged IS fighters and their families are being held in makeshift prisons in Iraq.

    This includes 1,300 children. Russia repatriated 27 children in February. France has agreed to repatriate around 130 fighters and their families.

    Belgians, who composed the largest number of Caliphate fighters per capita, are not feeling particularly welcome. Late last year, going against public opinion, a Belgian court ruled that the government must repatriate its citizens.

    In a principled and courageous decision, the Solomonic judge ruled that bringing the children without their mothers – who were convicted in absentia – would violate their human rights. The judge also imposed a daily penalty of 5,000 euros per child against the government until they were returned.

    Belgium’s migration secretary said: “We won’t punish young children for their parents’ misdeeds. They have not chosen the Islamic State.”

    Unfortunately, an appellate court overturned the decision a few weeks ago and now 160 Belgian children are in limbo.

    A mature debate
    Canadian Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale says the government has not decided what to do.

    Canada needs to act before we read about Canadian children dying in Syrian camps.

    According to CBC, there are at least 32 Canadians being held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Dr Alexandra Bain of the Canadian group Families Against Violent Extremism (FAVE) claims that more than half of those held in Syria are under the age of five.

    Rather than having a mature and constitutionally rooted debate about bringing Daesh members to justice and dealing with non-combatants as well as women and children, our politicians appear to be guaging the public mood rather than stepping up.

    Leadership may require that you sometimes stand up to mobocracy (the whims of the majority) and it always means standing up for constitutionally entrenched rights – even for the detested.

    Why bring them back?
    Rather than following the examples set by Macedonia, Russia, France, etc, Canada caved into British “arm-twisting” and breached a deal with Kurdish authorities to repatriate Canadian citizens, according to a report by the Guardian.

    These individuals went there for reasons ranging from ideological affinity, out of a sense of religious obligation, due to being brainwashed, the promise of adventure, the opportunity to create an Islamic utopia, out of empathy to relieve the suffering of others, while others were duped, forced or taken against their will.

    Why should we bring them back?

    First, as citizens, they have a right to come back to Canada. Though this does not impose an obligation on Ottawa to take proactive steps to bring back adults, a strong argument can be made that there is a mandatory duty owed to Canadian children.

    Indeed, under the common law, our government through the courts have the parens patraie jurisdiction to look out for the best interest and welfare of our children. This is reason alone.

    Setting a precedent

    Second, contrary to what many people want, under international law we can’t just watch as these people are executed without due process, or held to rot even as evil as they are. Otherwise, as President Trump said correctly, if they are left alone they may continue to create havoc elsewhere.

    We must set a precedent and send out a message to any of our citizens who may contemplate such actions in the future that there are consequences for such actions. This is best done by putting those who are culpable on trial.

    Leaving Canada to participate in a terror group is an offence under the criminal code punishable to a term of up to 10 years. Indeed, as General Lord Richard Dannatt, a former head of the British army, told the Guardian about British fighters:

    “They have to be put through due process and imprisoned if that is the right thing to do,” he said. “But I think it is also important that we treat them fairly with justice and tempered with a bit of mercy as well because I think the way we treat them may well have important significance for the way other people view our society.

    “We don’t want to see others radicalised and going off overseas in the future. How we treat these people coming back – fairly but firmly – we’ve got to get it right.”

    We have failed
    Third, most of these individuals were born “here” and more importantly were radicalised “here” not “there”. We bear part of the responsibility because we – as a society – and our institutions failed in not preventing them from being radicalised and in the case of many women from being groomed as brides.

    It is tempting to dehumanise them and easy to “other” them, but let us not forget that we extend full due process rights even to paedophiles, mass murderers and serial killers.

    Fourth, some of these individuals may serve as resources to fight radicalisation after they have been de-radicalised, after serving time, if deserved.

    As argued in a New York Times op-ed by Bryant Neal Vinas, America’s first Al-Qaeda fighter, these returning fighters “can be a strategic asset” to fight radicalisation if we play it right.

    Fifth, western nations, including Canada, pursue criminals to the far corners of the world using extradition treaties and other means. Indeed, we have even engaged in extraordinary rendition and participated in torture of our own citizens when we thought it was necessary. Yet, now it’s too difficult to pursue these people?

    Of course, it would be disingenuous to argue that traitors who engage in terrorism should be treated the same as other criminals, because the state interests are especially compelling. At the same time, the values engaged in this context – equality, freedom of speech, religion, and association – make it important that we tread in a firm but cautious manner.

    It is high time that we engage in reasoned, nuanced and considered debate in a manner consistent with our well-established values, including justice, fairness and compassion.

    We cannot base our decisions on emotion, populist fear, hatred or our whims, because then we are no better than them.

    The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

    aisal Kutty
    Faisal Kutty is counsel to KSM Law, an associate professor at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto.”

  9. Saudi purchased world’s most expensive painting is ‘lost’ (memo, Apr 1, 2019)

    ““Salvator Mundi”, the world’s most expensive painting by Leonardo Da Vinci which sold for $450 million in 2017, has disappeared, the New York Times reported.

    In November 2017 the painting was sold for $450.3 million during an auction held in New York by an anonymous bidder who it was later discovered was Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman.

    Almost a month after the auction, the Abu Dhabi culture department announced that it had acquired “Salvator Mundi” for display in its Louvre Museum, however the scheduled unveiling of the painting in September 2018 was postponed without explanation, the paper said.

    The Abu Dhabi culture department did not answer the paper’s questions about the painting while the Louvre in Paris said it cannot locate the painting.

    Dianne Modestini, a professor at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, described the incident as “tragic” adding that “to deprive the art lovers and many others who were moved by this picture – a masterpiece of such rarity – is deeply unfair”.

    Meanwhile, Martin Kemp, an art historian, has described the painting as “a kind of religious version of the ‘Mona Lisa’”.”

  10. US sends message to Turkey, halts F-35 equipment shipments (memo, Apr 1, 2019)

    “The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, sources familiar with the situation said, marking the first concrete US step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

    In recent days, US officials told their Turkish counterparts they will not receive further shipments of F-35 related equipment needed to prepare for the arrival of the stealthy jet, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The aircraft is built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

    The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the next shipment of training equipment, and all subsequent shipments of F-35 related material, have been cancelled.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to back down from Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system that the United States has said would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft. Turkey has said it will take delivery of the S-400s in July.

    The disagreement over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey including Turkish demands that the United States extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran.

    A Pentagon official had told Reuters in March that the United States had a number of items it could withhold in order to send Turkey a signal that the United States was serious about Ankara dropping its ambition to own the S-400.

    The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Turkish officials in Ankara were not immediately available for comment.

    The US decision on the F-35s was expected to complicate Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s planned visit to Washington this week for a NATO summit. The latest development in the F-35 dispute came a day after Erdogan suffered one of his biggest electoral losses in decades in local elections.

    Reuters reported last week that Washington was exploring whether it could remove Turkey from the production of the F-35. Turkey makes parts of the fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays. Sources familiar with the F-35’s intricate worldwide production process and the US thinking on the issue last week said Turkey’s role can be replaced.

    The United States and other NATO allies that own F-35s fear the radar on the Russian S-400 missile system will learn how to spot and track the jet, making it less able to evade Russian weapons in the future.

    In an attempt to persuade Turkey to drop its plans to buy the S-400, the United States offered the pricier American-made Patriot anti-missile system in a discounted deal that expired at the end of March. Turkey has shown interest in the Patriot system, but not at the expense of abandoning the S-400.

    Turkey has engaged with US negotiators in recent days about buying the Patriot system, a person familiar with the matter said. The system is made by Raytheon Co.

    Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in March said that despite some issues, Turkish pilots were continuing their training at an air base in Arizona on the F-35, each of which costs $90 million, and that Ankara was expecting the aircraft to arrive in Turkey in November.

    US lawmakers also have expressed alarm over Turkey’s planned purchase of the Russian system. Four US senators last week introduced a bipartisan bill that would prohibit the transfer of F-35s to Turkey until the US government certifies that Ankara will not take delivery of the S-400 system.”

  11. Man arrested for insulting UAE culture in viral video (alaraby, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Dubai Police have reportedly arrested a man of Arab origin for allegedly publishing a video on social media insulting local traditions.

    The man was seen posing as a GCC citizen, wearing dishdasha and keffiyeh, a traditional clothing worn by men in the region, as he stereotyped Emiratis.

    The man appears in a lofty car followed by women and throwing money to the ground, which is picked up by them in a humiliating manner. The act was seen by locals as provocative and an insult to Gulf traditional dress.

    The video went viral on the internet with police arresting the star of the clip and referred him to prosecution for further investigations.

    Dubai Police demanded the public to stop circulating the video, an act punishable by law.

    Dubai is a luxury shopping city, with ultramodern architecture and a destination for foreigners seeking lively nightlife scenes. However, locals expect foreigners to show some consideration to local traditions and customs.

    Arrests in Dubai for fouling of UAE’s law are not uncommon, with many arrested for farce charges documented.

    In February, British football fan, Ali Issa Ahmad, arrested for wearing Qatar shirt in the UAE during the Asian Cup, before he was freed after two weeks in detention.

    Qatar has been under blockade by the UAE since June 2015, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain with Abu Dhabi criminalising anyone showing sympathy to Doha.”

  12. Jury selection has begun in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home.

    Mohamed Noor, 33, is charged in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in a case that drew international attention, cost the police chief her job and forced major revisions to the Police Department’s policy on body cameras.

    Prosecutors charged Noor with second-degree intentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, saying there is no evidence Noor faced a threat that justified deadly force.

    They must prove he acted unreasonably when he shot Ms Damond, a 40-year-old life coach with both US and Australian citizenship who was engaged to be married.

    Noor’s lawyers plan to argue that he used reasonable force and acted in self-defence.

  13. Aramco Unveils Financial Secrets of World’s Most Profitable Firm (bloomberg, Apr 1, 2019)

    “The first official glimpse of Saudi Aramco’s financial performance confirms the state-run oil giant can generate profit like no other company on Earth: net income last year was $111.1 billion, easily outstripping U.S. behemoths including Apple Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

    But accounts published before the firm’s debut in the international bond market also show Aramco — an organization that produces about 10 percent of the world’s crude — doesn’t generate as much cash per barrel as other leading oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell Plc because of a heavy tax burden.

    The bond sale, being pitched to investors this week in a global roadshow, has forced Aramco to reveal secrets held close since the company’s nationalization in the late 1970s, casting a light on the relationship between the kingdom and its most important asset. Both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service assigned Aramco the fifth-highest investment grade, the same as Saudi sovereign debt, but lower than oil majors Exxon, Shell and Chevron Corp.

    The company is preparing to raise debt in part to pay for the acquisition of a majority stake in domestic petrochemical group Sabic, worth about $69 billion. The deal is a Plan B to generate money for Saudi Arabia’s economic agenda after an IPO of Aramco was postponed. In effect, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is using the firm’s pristine balance sheet to finance his ambitions.

    Aramco will pay 50 percent of the Sabic acquisition cost when the deal closes and the rest over the subsequent two years, according to a person who saw a presentation made to potential investors on Monday. Aramco declined to comment.

    The 470-page bond prospectus, filed with the London Stock Exchange, detailed a litany of risks for prospective investors, including missiles falling on Aramco’s installations, the impact of proposed U.S. antitrust laws on OPEC, the fight against climate change, and even the risk that Saudi Arabia will break the peg between its currency, the riyal, and the U.S dollar. It also revealed the Saudi oil giant was the victim of a “successful” cyber attack in 2012 that forced the company to move some operations into “manual” mode.

    While the prospectus revealed the richest company on the planet, it also showed how reliant Aramco is on high oil and natural gas prices. In 2016, when the price of Brent crude plunged to average $45 a barrel and OPEC cut production, the company struggled to break even. Net income for the full year was just $13 billion and free cash flow a tiny $2 billion.

    The kingdom’s dependence on the company to finance social and military spending, as well as the lavish lifestyles of hundreds of princes, places a heavy burden on Aramco’scash flow. Aramco pays 50 percent of its profit on income tax, plus a sliding royalty scale that starts at 20 percent of the company’s revenue and rises to as much as 50 percent with the price of oil.

    Aramco reported cash flow from operations of $121 billion and $35.1 billion in capital spending, and paid $58.2 billion in dividends to the Saudi government in 2018, according to Moody’s. In a presentation to potential bondholders, the company said its “ordinary dividend” last year was $52 billion. There wasn’t an immediate explanation about the gap between the two figures.

    Fitch said its A+ rating reflects the “strong links” between the company and the kingdom, and the influence the state has on Aramco through regulating the level of production, taxation and dividends.

    “Over time, a low oil price environment could cause a sustained fiscal deficit for Saudi Arabia that could result in changes down the line for Aramco’s fiscal regime,” said Neil Beveridge, an energy analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong. “You can’t disassociate the sovereign government from Aramco given the very close relationship and the contribution Aramco makes to the overall funding for Saudi Arabia.”

    Aramco reported funds flow from operations — a measure closely watched by investors and similar to cash flow from operations — of $26 abarrel equivalent of oil last year, according to Fitch. That’s below what Big Oil companies such as Shell and Total SA enjoy, at $38 and $31 per barrel, respectively.

    “Funds from operations, which is operation cash flows before working capital changes, is the best measure to compare oil companies’ profitability, since Ebitda does not take into account taxation,” Dmitry Marinchenko, senior director at Fitch in London, said in an interview.

    Aramco told potential bondholders it generated operating cash flow of $121 billion in 2018. Although that’s significantly higher than oil majors produce, the difference isn’t a large as the Ebitda or the net income. Shell, for example, reported cash flow of $53 billion, despite a significantly lower oil and gas production than Aramco. Exxon reported cash flow last year of $36 billion.

    Fitch’s A+ rating for Aramco is one level below the AA- for both Shell and Total. The Moody’s rating is well behind Exxon’s top Aaa level.

    The oil giant has mandated banks to hold a roadshow for dollar-denominated notes from April 1, potentially including tranches from three to 30 years, according to a person familiar with the matter. Fitch said that Aramco planned to pay for the 70 percent stake in Sabic “in installments over 2019-21.”

    The company will hold meetings with investors in coming days in cities including London, New York, Boston, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Chicago. Aramco picked banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to manage the debt offering.

    The bond plan, credit rating and the publication of the first extracts of Aramco’s accounts are all part of the ambitions of Prince Mohammed, who controls most of the levers of power in the kingdom and wants to pursue an IPO as part of his plans to ready the country for the post-oil age. Yet his ambition to secure a $2 trillion valuation has faced pushback from global investors, prompting a delay in the IPO.

    For all the shock and awe in Aramco’s big reveal, the published numbers appear to leave that valuation a long way off, implying a dividend yield about half of what Shell pays.”

  14. Pakistani husband loses wife in a gamble and beat her for refusing to go with friends (gulfnews, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Dubai: A husband in Pakistan has been accused of gambling away his wife and then beating her up for not going with his friends.

    Police have arrested the husband identified as Ali Raza following the complaint filed by the woman in Chiniot, a small city located some 131km from Lahore in Pakistan.

    Police said a man viciously beat up his wife for refusing to go with his friends after he lost her in a gamble, Geo Tv reported.

    In the First Information Report (FIR) registered with the police, the victim Mehwish said her husband, Ali Raza, is a drug addict and gambler who, on Saturday night, entered into a gambling game with three of his friends.

    In the gamble, Raza bet his wife Mehvish and lost. However, when she declined to accompany her husband’s friends, he beat her up and attacked her with a sharp weapon, leaving her with severe injuries.

    Police, on the other hand, said they have filed the FIR based on the woman’s medical report and the request she submitted. The suspect has been arrested, they said.

    The incident emerges two days after another husband was arrested for cuting off his ex-wife’s tongue days after divorcing her. The incident was reported in Pindi Bhattian, a small town located some 110km from Lahore, Punjab.

    According to police, the suspect, identified as Jahangir, had divorced his wife, Nasreen, a few days ago.

    Police said the suspect went over to his in-laws house and cut off his former wife Nasreen’s tongue with a pair of scissors

    Also last week, police arrested a husband for beating and shaving off his wife’s head because she refused to dance for his friends in Lahore.”

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  15. ‘Beautiful Flower of Coexistence’: Pope Francis on His Morocco Trip (moroccoworldnews, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Pope Francis has warmly spoken about his recent stay in Morocco, touting the country for its diversity-encouraging everyday culture.

    Pope Francis, who visited Morocco for the first time on March 30-31, has expressed satisfaction with his stay in the North African country.

    On his way back to the Vatican after what he called a delightful two-day stay in Morocco, Pope Francis told the press on board his flight that his trip gave him the image of a “beautiful flower of coexistence.”

    The Pope, who had a busy schedule in Morocco, called for the preservation of coexistence to transcend the difficulties “which unfortunately exist because there are intransigent groups.”

    The Pope also criticized US President Donald Trump, saying that “those who build the walls will end up trapped in the walls they build.”

    In speeches throughout his Moroccan stay, Francis reiterated his faith in principles of international solidarity and interreligious dialogue. He said that the world should invest in building bridges, not walls.

    “Those who build bridges are moving forward. The bridge is for human communication, it is very beautiful and I have seen it here in Morocco.”…”

  16. Dozens of illegally constructed structures demolished (tribune, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration jointly carried out a gigantic operation against illegal encroachments on the right of way of G.T Road and demolished several buildings, shops, boundary walls and illegal constructions from the vicinity and retrieved state land from the illegal occupants…”

  17. Turkey deports 47 Pakistanis residing illegally (tribune, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Turkey on Monday deported 47 Pakistanis residing illegally in the country, Express News reported.

    The deported Pakistanis reached Islamabad via Sharjah through a special aircraft.

    Out of the total of 47 deportees, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) transferred 31 people to Anti-Human Trafficking Cell while 16 others were granted permission to go home.

    In January, Turkey deported seven Pakistanis for illegally trying to enter the country. They were sent back on flight TK-710 and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) received them at the New Islamabad International Airport.

    Out of the seven men, the FIA cleared five and arrested two, namely Gujranwala’s Manawar Hussain and Asad Abbas.

    Last year, the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell arrested eight passengers who were deported by Turkey.”

  18. Two Pakistanis among four executed in Saudi Arabia (tribune, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said four people including two Pakistani nationals were executed on Monday for drug trafficking, bringing to 53 the number of people put to death this year.

    Two Pakistani men, a Yemeni man and a Nigerian woman were executed in Makkah, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

    Fifty-three people have been executed in the kingdom since the beginning of the year, according to a count based on official data released by SPA.

    The government in KSA says the death penalty is a deterrent for further crime. Last year, Saudi Arabia carried out the death sentences of 120 people.”

  19. 87 militants including 19 ISIS-K fighters killed in 8 provinces of Afghanistan (khaama, Apr 1, 2019)

    “At least 87 militants including 19 ISIS Khurasan (ISIS-K) fighters were killed during the latest operations which were conducted in 8 provinces of Afghanistan lately.

    According to informed military sources, Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Khugyani district of Nangarhar province last night killing 19 ISIS-K fighters.

    The sources further added that Afghan Special Forces conducted a similar operation in Zurmat district of Paktiya province killing 3 Taliban fighters while an airstrike killed another 6 Taliban fighters in the same area.

    The Afghan Special Forces conducted a clearing operation in Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan killing 17 Taliban fighters and destroying 10 pounds of homemade explosives.

    The Afghan security forces conducted another raid in Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province killing 7 Taliban fighters and confiscating 1 Taliban Humvee and 1 Ranger vehicle.

    An airstrike in Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan killed 5 Taliban fighters while Afghan security forces conducted an operation in Pul-e Khumri district of Baghlan province killing 3 Taliban fighters.

    An airstrike in Chimtal district of Balkh province killed 7 Taliban fighters, the sources said, adding that Afghan Special Forces conducted a two-day operation with ANA forces in Pusht-e Rod district of Farha province killing 7 Taliban fighters and wounding 9 others.

    “Afghan security forces repelled an attack from Taliban forces early this morning in Nimroz province. The ANA sent a quick reaction force to reinforce the checkpoint being attacked. Airstrikes were called to target the Taliban fighters as they tried to regroup in the open after the initial attack. As a result of the combined effort, 13 Taliban fighters were killed,” the sources added.

    The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the operations so far.”

  20. Chancellor Kurz condemns Islamophobic attack in Austria (aa, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Monday condemned a verbal and physical Islamophobic attack on Muslim woman.

    “A sickening attack, which I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Kurz wrote on Twitter, sharing a report which included video taken by the Austria-born Muslim woman who was attacked by an elderly Austrian woman.

    “In #Österreich [Austria] we stand for a respectful and peaceful coexistence of all religions!” he added.

    However, many social media users criticized Kurz’s tweet saying the far-right government was responsible for the rising Islamophobia in the country.

    Many citizens, especially non-governmental organizations, also condemned the attack on social media and showed solidarity with the victim.

    The discriminatory, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies of the far-right government in Austria, which had been in power for over a year, led to a dramatic increase in racist incidents, according to reports.”

  21. Turkish jets destroy PKK terror targets in N. Iraq (aa, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Turkish airstrikes on Monday hit PKK terrorist targets in northern Iraq, according to the Turkey’s National Defense Ministry.

    Air operations in the regions of Avasin-Basyan, and Hakurk destroyed weapon positions, shelters and ammunition depots used by PKK terrorists, the ministry said on Twitter.

    In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including many women and children.”

  22. US has done nothing to address Khashoggi murder: Report (aa, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Six months after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. President Donald Trump has still done nothing to hold those responsible accountable, The Washington Post said Monday.

    In an opinion piece, the newspaper said it is widely believed that Khashoggi, a contributor to The Post, was murdered on the order of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Yet Bin Salman as well as the coordinator of the operation, Saud al-Qahtani, have enjoyed freedom from repercussions.

    Last October, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was subsequently killed. After offering a series of changing narratives to explain what happened, the Saudi government eventually admitted he had died there but blamed the operation on a botched rendition attempt.

    “Now, half a year after this heinous act shocked the world, it is worth taking stock of what has been done in response — and what has not,” The Post wrote.

    “Mohammed bin Salman has jetted around the world, high-fiving Russian President Vladimir Putin, getting chummy with China, and rubbing elbows with other world leaders as part of a global tour to rehabilitate his reputation,” it said.

    The newspaper, however, applauded efforts by the international community to condemn the murder and call for action to be taken. Some 36 countries had united at the UN Human Rights Council to condemn the killing and call on the Saudis to cooperate with the investigation being conducted by the UN.

    Congress also offered its own rebuke, passing a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen and repeatedly investigated and criticized Washington’s response to the murder.

    Meanwhile, Trump has taken a far different approach, according to The Post. The president has shied away from criticizing the crown prince and taking any further action against the kingdom other than placing sanctions on the 17 individuals the Saudi government has said were responsible for the act.

    “In this impotent response, Trump isn’t just violating the law. He is also undermining the credibility and moral authority of the United States,” the newspaper wrote.

    “Another six months cannot pass without accountability for this abhorrent crime. Justice for an innocent journalist — and America’s most crucial interests — require nothing less,” it added.”

  23. Teen gang that beat up immigrants on buses caught (ansa, Apr 1, 2019)

    “A teen gang that beat up and insulted immigrants on Rome buses was caught on Monday.

    Two of them were arrested and the rest cautioned, police said. All the gang members were minors, police said.

    The aggravating factor of racial motives has been triggered, they said.”

  24. Murderer says he killed victim for ‘looking happy’ (ansa, Apr 1, 2019)

    “Prosecutors said Monday that a suspect has confessed to murdering Stefano Leo, a young man who was found stabbed to death on the banks of the River Po in Turin in February, for the sole reason that he wanted to kill someone.

    The suspect, Said Machaouat, a 27-year-old Italian with Moroccan roots, turned himself in at the weekend. “I chose to kill that young man because he looked happy. And I couldn’t stand his happiness,” Machaouat said, according to the prosecutors.

    “The motive is spine chilling,” Turin prosecutor Paolo Borgna said. Machaouat was quoted as telling prosecutors Ciro Santoriello and Enzo Bucarelli that “I wanted to kill a lad like me, to take away all his prospects, his children, his friends and relatives”.

    The suspect, who showed investigators to where a kitchen knife that is thought to have been the murder weapon was, said he was depressed after splitting up with his ex wife. “The worst thing was knowing that my four-year-old boy was calling a friend of my ex partner daddy,” Machaouat was quoted as saying.”

  25. Migrants: informal agreement to boost Frontex (ansamed, Apr 1, 2019)

    “The 25 EU ambassadors have given their green light to an informal agreement between EU institutions to strengthen EU border agency Frontex with 10,000 officers by 2027, for the management and control of common external borders. The ambassadors of Italy, Spain and Slovenia voted against the informal agreement.

    The accord will now need to be formally adopted by the EU Council and Parliament.According to well-informed sources, Italy did not give its green light to the agreement because, as stated over the past few months, the expansion of the EU border agency does not reflect the overall approach requested by Rome, taking away national and European resources which should be spent in a different way.

    The European agency will also be granted more powers for repatriations and will cooperate closely with third countries, including those of origin and transit of migrant flows.

    The new regulation, which was reached in a record time of just over six months, represents an important change in the Union’s ability to protect collectively, and more effectively, its external borders. The accord now needs to be formally adopted by the European Council and Parliament.

    The European commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said that, ”from now on, the Agency will have full operational capability” and the necessary competence to give ”effective and complete support to member States” through a ”better control of external borders, the fight against irregular migration, repatriations and cooperation with third countries”. He stressed that a stronger Frontex will also help ”preserve the Schengen space”. “

  26. Man jailed for raping woman in central Malmö (thelocal, Apr 1, 2019)

    “A man who attacked and raped a woman in Malmö has been jailed and banned from returning to Sweden for a decade, after he was caught in Finland and extradited.

    The woman reported to police in November last year that the man, whom she had never before met, had approached her shortly after 2am at the Möllevången square in southern Sweden’s largest city.

    He followed her and kept touching her even though she tried to reject his advances, then raped her.

    On Monday, Malmö District Court found a 37-year-old Tunisian man guilty of rape and sentenced him to two and a half years in jail, after which he is to be deported with a ten-year ban on returning to Sweden.

    The man was identified with the help of witness statements after police released security camera footage which showed him approaching the woman, and later running from the scene.

    But before he could be caught, he fled to Finland where he sought asylum. He was however arrested under a Nordic arrest warrant, and returned to Sweden on January 10th.

    The man admitted to the court that he had been involved in sexual acts with the woman, but said that she had participated voluntarily. However, the district court found it had been proven that the woman was raped against her will and that the man had realized this, according to the judgment seen by The Local.

    The court said it had been confirmed that the man “performed anal intercourse and inserted his fingers into the plaintiff’s vagina. These acts are comparable to sexual intercourse with regard to the seriousness of the violation and should therefore be classified as rape”.

    It also ordered him to pay 115,000 kronor ($12,400) in damages to the woman.

    Malmö last year saw the lowest number of crimes reported in the city for the past 17 years, with the exception of rape. A total of 234 rapes were reported to the police in the municipality in 2018 according to figures by Sweden’s National Council for Crime Prevention, an increase from 207 incidents the year before.

    A spate of four reports of outdoor gang rapes in late 2017 in particular grabbed international headlines last year, but two of those cases turned out to be false alarms with one woman fined for lying about the incident.”

  27. Man is airlifted to hospital after being stabbed in the back in a children’s play park in ‘targeted attack’ (dailymail, Apr 2, 2019)

    “A man has been airlifted to hospital after being stabbed in the back in a children’s play park.

    The man was stabbed near to the Marconi Nature Reserve, in Chelmsford, Essex at around 5.45pm today in what police say was a ‘targeted attack’.

    He managed to walk to a nearby road and was then airlifted to hospital.

    Information on his condition has not been revealed by police who rushed to the scene with paramedics.

    An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘We were called at around 5.45pm today, Monday, April 1, with reports a man had suffered a stab wound to the back in Central Park.

    ‘We received reports that he was approached by a man close to a children’s play area and attacked, in what we believe to be a targeted attack.

    ‘The man then walked to Meteor Way before being taken to hospital by air ambulance for his injury. Enquiries are ongoing.’

    Five police cars were called to the park entrance on Meteor Way.

    The incident is believed to have happened around 100 meters from the main pathway next to the River Cann…”

  28. (Richard: I don’t know how reliable True Pundit is)

    Top FBI Child Trafficking & Child Prostitution Task Force Chief helped Chicago PD investigate Smollett hoax; Did Jussie Rat Out Hollywood?

    Internal Chicago Police records show detectives employed a top FBI Supervisory Special Agent specializing in investigating the trafficking of sexually exploited children, child prostitution and aggravated child sexual abuse to help investigate the Smollett assault hoax case.

    During early stages of the investigation, records show, Chicago Police shared Intel with the FBI and FBI Special Agent Gregory Wing was working the investigation daily alongside city detectives.

  29. Vatican Cardinal: Encouraging Immigration Misrepresents the Gospel (breitbart, Apr 1, 2019)

    ““Is that what the Church wants?” he asked, adding that the Church should not support “this new form of slavery that is mass migration.”

    “God never intended these fractures,” he said.

    The cardinal also said that the demise of Christian Europe does not bode well for the future of the world.

    “If Europe disappears, and with it the priceless values of the Old Continent, Islam will invade the world and we will completely change culture, anthropology, and moral vision,” he warned.

    Cardinal Sarah has recently published a new book titled Evening Draws Near and the Day is Nearly Over (from Luke 24:29), in which he laments the “collapse of the West,” as well as the “migratory processes” that threaten Europe’s identity.

    The cardinal insists that he wrote the book not to discourage believers but to “give hope” to all God’s people. “This is not the end of the world, the Church will rise,” he said.

    In his interview, however, the cardinal pulls no punches in decrying what he sees as a betrayal of many of the Church’s pastors to preach the true Gospel of Christ and, instead, waste their time in political activism.

    “In the Church there have always been betrayals. Today, I can say without fear that some priests, some bishops and even some cardinals are afraid to proclaim what God teaches and to transmit the doctrine of the Church. They are afraid of being seen as reactionary,” he said.

    “And so they say confusing, vague, inaccurate things, to escape any criticism, and to enlist in the stupid evolution of the world. This is a betrayal,” he said.

    “If he does not teach the faith, if he enjoys activism instead of reminding people that they are made for prayer, he betrays his mission,” Sarah said. “Jesus says, ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’ This is what is happening today. People no longer know who to turn to.”

    There are some who “yield to the morbid, wicked temptation to align the Church with the current values of Western societies. Above all they want people to say that the Church is open, welcoming, attentive, modern,” he said.

    “Some have adopted the ideologies of today’s world with the fallacious pretext of being open to the world. But instead we should bring the world to be open to God, who is the source of our existence,” he said.

    The cardinal also offered his support for nationalist movements in Europe that wish to recover their sovereignty from Brussels.

    “When I visited Poland, a country often criticized, I encouraged the faithful to affirm their identity as they have done for centuries,” the cardinal said. “My message was simple: you are first and foremost Poles and Catholics and only afterward Europeans. You must not sacrifice these first two identities on the altar of a technocratic Europe that recognizes no homeland.”

    “The Brussels Commission thinks only about building a free market in the service of the great financial powers,” he continued. “The European Union no longer protects the peoples within it. It protects the banks.”

    “This contemporary desire to globalize the world, ridding it of nations with their distinctive characteristics is sheer madness,” he said.”

  30. Nigerian brothers’ lawyer on their role in Jussie Smollett case

    Ola and Abel Osundairo say Smollet paid them to fake attack oh him; attorney Gloria Schmidt represents the Osundairo brother and speaks out on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’

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