Reader’s inks for July 18, 2020

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 must use it while we can.

About Eeyore

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

51 Replies to “Reader’s inks for July 18, 2020”

  1. Azerbaijani protesters in London attacked members of the Armenian community there who were gathered in front of the Armenian Embassy building to protect it from damage by Azeris who were protesting “Armenian Aggression”

    Fight at 3:33

    Fight at 2:20

    Only peaceful protest in this video:

  2. British Royal Navy Bans Terms ‘Seaman’ & ‘Manpower’ Over Fears of ‘Sexism’ (sputniknews, Jul 18, 2020)

    “The news will be welcomed by some as a necessary move toward opening up the British forces to more female recruits; to others, it will be yet more evidence of the encroachment of political correctness into the UK’s institutions.

    The British Royal Navy is to stop using terms like “seaman” and “manpower” as part of an effort to fight institutional sexism, according to The Sun.

    First Sea Lord Tony Radakin ordered the Navy to change the use of certain terminologies allegedly so that female recruits do not feel excluded.

    Reportedly, sources within the Royal Navy say that there is now acceptance across the force that certain words and terms are no longer considered politically appropriate and that leaders want to abandon “gendered terms” where possible.

    A source in the Navy told The Sun that, “the vast majority of people in the Navy accept that some terms are problematic or no longer appropriate. Leadership are keen to ensure that, where practicable, gendered terms aren’t used.”

    In stark contrast, a senior official from within the Navy slammed the proposed moves, saying that, “this is a pathetic, woke distraction from keeping Britain safe. The only reason to change the labels is if it is a barrier to recruiting women, but recruitment has never been stronger.”

    Seamen and able seamen are the lowest ranks in the Royal Navy’s warfare division, and possible alternatives reportedly being considered include “seafarer” and “mariner.”

    The senior official said that, “the problem is that sea-person sounds a bit rubbish. There’s a lot of history attached to the seaman rank and we know there will be resistance.”

    Britain follows on the heels of the Canadian Navy, which is also said to be dropping the word seaman because of its “double entendre.”

    Compared to other branches of the British forces, the Navy has reportedly struggled in recent years to bring more women aboard. However, in 2012, Sarah West became the first female capital in the Navy’s 500-year history to run a major warship.

    In 2014, she told The Mirror in an interview that, “I’m really proud to be the first woman but I’m not reinventing the wheel. Lots of women in the services have challenging roles. It’s just that I happen to be newsworthy at the moment. There are drawbacks though. Years at sea probably explains why I’m single. But every person in the military makes sacrifices.”

    Similarly, in 2017, the UK Army was told to avoid gender-specific words, such as “mankind,” “sportsmanship” and “forefathers” while on base in order to avoid offending women and people from the LGBT community.

    One soldier commented that, “it’s the daftest thing ever. We’re building leaders, not politically correct droids.”

    Another military source said at the time that, “we should be spending more time on tactics than worrying about the niceties of modern language.”

    A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence issued a statement at the time defining the language-policing measures, saying that, “we are promoting a modern, inclusive, working environment to ensure individuals are recognized and feel valued.””

  3. Finsbury Park chaos: Police shut down illegal rave amid murders soaring in London (express, Jul 18, 2020)

    “THE MET Police have shut down an illegal music event in Finsbury Park tonight, just hours after warning officers were carrying out extra patrols this weekend in a bid to crackdown on the recent increase of murders in London…”

  4. Knife crime rockets to record levels with 46,000 cases in a year (express, Jul 18, 2020)

    “KNIFE crime hit record levels shortly before lockdown, figures revealed yesterday.

    Offences rose to 46,265 in England and Wales – an increase of 2,559, or six percent, on the previous 12 months.

    There was a seven percent surge in London where a third of all knife crime is committed, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

    But there was a 10 percent decrease in West Yorkshire and the level remained the same in theWest Midlands, the ONS said.

    Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said: “It is concerning that, as the country began to enter lockdown, knife crime reached record levels.

    “As a charity that supports people affected by knife crime, we know that it is devastating and life-changing for individuals, families and communities.

    “Throughout lockdown the impact of knife crime will have continued to be felt, with many continuing to cope with the physical and emotional consequences of attacks during challenging times.”

    According to the ONS, there were 5.8 million crimes committed in England and Wales from April last year to March this year.

    Overall crime is down nine percent with a 12 pecent fall in theft and a 13 percent fall in criminal damage. Statistics showed a 10 percent increase in homicides to 683. The total includes 39 Vietnamese people found in a lorry in Grays, Essex, in October.

    In London, there was a 23 percent rise in homicides from 115 to 142, the ONS said.

    Overall, theft dropped by 12 percent and burglary was down by nine percent.

    Offences involving firearms dropped by four percent However, robbery rose for the fifth consecutive year with an increase of six percent to 83,241.

    Sophie Sanders, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said overall crime rates were lower in the months leading up to the outbreak compared with early 2019, but before lockdown police-recorded crime increased.”

  5. London bloodbath: Two people attacked by knifeman in Liverpool Street stabbing horror (express, Jul 18, 2020)

    “TWO men were stabbed in London’s main financial district last night in a horrifying attack in Liverpool Street.

    Police attended the scene at Broadgate Circle shortly after 10pm on Friday night. The area is usually a busy part of the city on a Friday night. But the attack is not being treated as a terror-related incident….”

  6. Arson Suspected After Fire Guts Nantes Cathedral, France (breitbart, Jul 18, 2020)

    “The French authorities have launched an arson investigation after a major fire engulfed the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul in Nantes.

    The Roman Catholic cathedral, also known as Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul or simply Nantes Cathedral, is an epoch-spanning structure begun in the 1434 and completed in 1891, described as the “Gothic jewel of the city of the Dukes” by French president Emmanuel Macron.

    Regional fire chief General Laurent Ferlay reported that the inferno was contained by French firemen after a two-hour struggle, and that the damage does not appear to be as extensive as in Notre-Dame after a fire ripped through the Parisian cathedral in 2019.

    Interior fixtures including the cathedral’s great organ and historic stained glass windows have been lost, however, and the authorities are keen to pinpoint the cause of the blaze — with a possible arson attack the current focus of their investigations, according to French media.

    It is believed that three fires may have been started in the iconic building, “one at the level of the great organ and two fire starts to the left and to the right of the nave”, according to fire brigade officials quoted by public service broadcasting network France Bleu.

    French National Assembly member Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who leads the Gaullist-leaning national populist party Debout la France (France Arise), broadcast a short address on social media urging the French people to “wake up before it’s too late” in response to the blaze.”

  7. French Doctors Blame New Coronavirus Surge on North African Incomers (breitbart, Jul 18, 2020)

    “Doctors have blamed a surge in new coronavirus cases in the southern city of Marseilles on people coming to France from North Africa.

    Annie Levy-Mozziconacci and several other doctors at the North Hospital of Marseille put out a press release announcing a doubling of new cases in the last ten days.

    Doctor Philippe Parola told French broadcaster LCI that he sees between one and 25 new coronavirus-positive patients every day. He added that most cases involve “people who return from travel, in areas where the epidemic is still active. For us in Marseilles, these are people who return mainly from Africa, the Maghreb [Muslim North Africa].”

    Dr Levy-Mozziconacci, meanwhile, called for action from the French government to stop the new wave of infections.

    “We call on local and national authorities to take responsibility so that the second city in France, a city open to the Mediterranean, a city of tourism, does not very quickly become a disaster city,” she said.

    The doctors called for the government to start screening all travellers for the virus at airports and ferry terminals and asked for more human and financial resources to deal with the outbreak.

    So far across France, over 170,000 people have tested positive for the Chinese virus, and over 30,000 have died as a result of it.

    Foreigners spreading coronavirus has also become a major problem in Greece, where neighbouring Balkan states have been seeing a rise in cases…”

  8. London’s Khan Told Black Lives Matter Rioters Targeted Black Police Officers (breitbart, Jul 18, 2020)

    “Mayor Sadiq Khan has been told that far-left Black Lives Matter UK rioters had verbally abused and physically attacked London’s black police officers in recent protests.

    Susan Hall, leader of the Conservatives on the Greater London Authority (GLA), said at Mayor’s Question Time on Thursday that she had been informed of the attacks on black officers by Scotland Yard deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House.

    Ms Hall told Mayor Khan that “black officers were attacked apparently more vociferously during the recent protests”, according to remarks reported by the London Evening Standard.

    “Sir Steve House was very clear that a proportion of these attacks came from the Black Lives Matter protesters themselves,” she added.

    Labour’s London mayor responded that he had heard reports of attacks first-hand from black police officers covering the far-left protests.

    “I was really distressed when I spoke to black officers during Black Lives Matter protests,” claimed Khan.

    “What was distressing, in addition to the abuse and violence our officers faced being unacceptable, was when I was told that black officers were being verbally abused and attacked by those on the Black Lives Matter protests.”

    Appear to imply that black protesters were among those assaulting black officers, he continued: “We are doing all this hard work to recruit black officers, to keep and progress them [within the Met] but yet members of the community are giving them a hard time for joining the police service, and it’s very difficult.”

    The Police Federation, roughly equivalent to a union for lower-ranking officers, has already criticised Mr Khan for failing to protect officers from assault by protesters during weeks of vandalism and violence in the British capital.

    Violence against police occurred early on in the London demonstrations, with extraordinary footage of protesters throwing punches at officers outside of Downing Street. Days later, an officer was violently thrown from her horse — after protesters threw a bicycle at another mounted officer, spooking the nearby animal — inflicting several serious injuries.

    Another policeman was caught on film walking away from the protest on Whitehall with blood running down his face. At one demonstration, BLM activists were chasing a large group of officers outside the Houses of Parliament, throwing projectiles while yelling: “Run, piggy, run!”

    Sixty-two officers had been injured at protests in one week alone. The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, criticised Mayor Khan for failing to shut down public transport ahead or mass protests, which should not have been allowed to take place due to strict coronavirus lockdown regulations.

    Violence against police came despite some officers ‘taking the knee’ in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, the very movement which calls for police to be abolished.

    The recent Black Lives Matter UK protests were sparked by the death of black American George Floyd in police custody in the United States. The movement was quickly transported to the UK, with protests erupting over claims that British police commit brutality against minorities.

    The London Metropolitan Police Service had admitted that the protests were unlawful, but said that they were reluctant to enforce the law for fear of “serious disorder” that could turn “into a violent situation”.

    Violence spilt out of protests and into what the mainstream media termed “street parties”, when neighbourhoods of large illegal gatherings reacted to calls by the police to disperse into riots and attacks on police, in one incident leaving 22 officers injured.”

  9. Migrants Arrested for Looting Chapel on Greek Island (breitbart, Jul 18, 2020)

    “A pair of migrants were arrested this week after allegedly breaking into a Christian chapel on the Greek island of Chios and looting it for money and sacred objects.

    The two migrants, a 27-year-old and a 30-year-old, are said to have broken into the chapel using some sort of sharp object and then looted it, stealing various liturgical items such as oil and holy water and even plastic chairs they found inside.

    According to a report from Greek newspaper Proto Thema, the alleged thieves also broke into a car next to the chapel and stole more items from it, including a small amount of cash. They then tried to break into another nearby vehicle but were unsuccessful.

    Local police have launched an investigation into the thefts and found some of the stolen items, along with the tools used to break into the chapel.

    The case comes just under a month after a 36-year-old migrant was arrested in the Thessaloniki region for stealing around €50,000 (£46,000/$56,000) worth of goods from several churches over the period of a month.

    The man was caught in the act of stealing from a church in the town of Lagadas and later linked to earlier thefts by Greek police.

    Chios is not the only Aegean island to have seen Christian buildings vandalised by migrants. On Lesbos, home to the notorious Moria migrant camp, Muslim migrants, mainly from Syria, have attacked and vandalised several churches and other Christian sites.

    Lesbos locals claimed that the churches were vandalised after migrants were prevented from being transferred to Athens and that the migrants took revenge by destroying a church in Moria.

    In May, the Viktor Orbán’s government donated $30,000 as part of the “Hungary Helps” aid programme to help restore the damaged churches.”

  10. Pentagon report: Turkey sent up to 3,800 fighters to Libya (abcnews, Jul 18, 2020)

    “Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya over the first three months of the year, the U.S. Defense Department’s inspector general concluded in a new report, its first to detail Turkish deployments that helped change the course of Libya’s war.

    The report comes as the conflict in oil-rich Libya has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country. The U.S. military has grown increasingly concerned about Russia’s growing influence in Libya, where hundreds of Russian mercenaries backed a campaign to capture the capital, Tripoli, in the country’s west.

    The quarterly report on counterterrorism operations in Africa by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog, published Thursday, says Turkey paid and offered citizenship to thousands of mercenaries fighting alongside Tripoli-based militias against troops of east Libya-based commander Khalifa Hifter.

    Despite widespread reports of the fighters’ extremist links, the report says the U.S. military found no evidence to suggest the mercenaries were affiliated with the Islamic State extremist group or al-Qaida. It says they were “very likely” motivated by generous financial packages rather than ideology or politics.

    The report covers only the first quarter of the year, until the end of March — two months before a string of Turkish-backed victories by the Tripoli forces drove Hifter’s self-styled army from the capital’s suburbs, its stronghold at Tarhuna and a key western airbase.

    The reversal for Hifter and his foreign backers, including Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, trained the spotlight on Turkey’s deepening role in the proxy war.

    The latest report says the Turkish deployments likely increased ahead of the Tripoli forces’ triumphs in late May. It cites the U.S. Africa Command as saying that 300 Turkish-supported Syrian rebels landed in Libya in early April. Turkey also deployed an “unknown number” of Turkish soldiers during the first months of the year, the inspector general adds.

    To the consternation of regional rivals and NATO allies like France, Turkey is staking its hopes for greater leverage in the eastern Mediterranean on the U.N.-supported government in Tripoli. Ankara’s open military intervention stands in contrast to covert support from foreign backers on the other side of the conflict.

    The inspector general had reported in its last quarterly review that Russia brought in hundreds of mercenaries to back Hifter’s months-long siege of Tripoli. A private Kremlin-linked military company known as the Wagner Group first introduced skilled snipers and armed drones last fall, inflicting “significant casualties” on Tripoli forces struggling to fend off Hifter’s assault, the report said.

    This year, in response to Turkey’s new shipments of battle-hardened Syrians, Wagner increased its deployment of foreign fighters, also including Syrians, with estimates ranging from 800 to 2,500 mercenaries. Russia and the Syrian government agreed to send 300 to 400 former opposition rebels from the southwest village of Quneitra to Libya in exchange for a $1,000 per month salary and clemency from President Bashar Assad, the report added.

    In May, the Pentagon accused Russia of sending at least 14 warplanes to a central Libyan airbase, which it claimed were repainted in Syria to hide their Russian origin. Earlier this week, it alleged Russian mercenaries planted land mines and other booby-trap explosives around Tripoli that have killed 52 people and wounded 96, including civilians and mine clearance workers, by U.N. estimates.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the U.S. military’s accusations Thursday, insisting “the Russian military is not involved in any processes in Libya in any way.”

    The warring sides are mobilizing now around the edges of Sirte, a strategic gateway to Libya’s central and eastern oil crescent, where most of the country’s production of 1.2 million barrels a day flowed before Hifter-allied tribes choked off pipelines in January to protest unequal distribution of oil revenues to the long-neglected east.

    Following Hifter’s retreat from Tripoli, his backers pushed for a cease-fire and proposed a political settlement. But Turkey refused to back down. The Tripoli government, eager to regain access to Hifter’s blockaded oil fields, has pledged to retake the coastal city, where longtime autocrat Moammar Gadhafi was born and then killed after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

    Egypt, a bitter rival of Turkey that shares a porous desert border with Libya, has threatened to intervene militarily if Turkish-backed forces try to seize Sirte. On Thursday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi hosted dozens of tribal leaders loyal to Hifter in Cairo, where he repeated that Egypt will “not stand idly by in the face of moves that pose a direct threat to security.”

    On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit back, criticizing Egyptian and Emirati support for Hifter.

    Military tensions increased further this week after the collapse of a deal to end the blockade of Libyan oil fields, which has deprived the country of its most important economic resource and the National Oil Corporation of over $7 billion in revenue.

    Oil has long been a key factor in the conflict, with militias and their foreign backers jockeying for control of Africa’s largest reserves.

    On Friday, the National Oil Corporation warned that international powers were pulling the country toward an escalation likely to extend to the oil and gas facilities. A “large number” of Syrian, Sudanese and Russian mercenaries are occupying oil installations, most recently Libya’s largest port of Es Sidra, the corporation said.”

  11. Part of the Great Twitter Hack:

    Twitter account of Geert Wilders hacked
    A hacker has broken into the Twitter account of far-right politician Geert Wilders, replacing his photograph with a caricature of a black man and the background with a Moroccan flag, then re-tweeting a series of conspiracy theories. The hacker, who has reportedly been in touch with Dutch media but has not been named, told an NPO 1 radio show that he and others thought that Wilders ‘goes too far with his comments, especially about Moroccans and Muslims.’ He said he did not belong to these groups ‘but have a lot of sympathy for these people.’ He also claimed to have access to private messages sent to the PVV politician and said the hack was related to a mass hack of leading Americans on Thursday. A spokesman for Wilders told NOS that he found the attack very annoying, and has asked Twitter to block the profile. ‘Hopefully it will deliver us new followers amongst my Moroccan friends,’ he reportedly added.

  12. Asylum seekers’ high number of drownings raise alarm
    Organizations advocating on behalf of newcomers to the Netherlands, and COA, the government agency responsible for asylum seekers said they are growing increasingly concerned over the high number of drownings among asylum seekers in recreational swimming areas, according to the Telegraaf.

    Three residents of an asylum-seeker center have died in the past month while swimming, the newspaper reported. Some water areas will get warning signs posted in Arabic this week. “It is now high time for concrete results. We hope they will be visible this summer so that more tragedies can be prevented,” said asylum advocacy group Vluchtelingenwerk to the Telegraaf.

    Just last spring, a plan to reduce drownings was crafted by the COA in conjunction with a swim safety advisory board. It included better communication, and more immediate availability of swimming lessons for asylum seekers, according to NOS. A special swim diploma separate from the Dutch A-B-C system was being considered, as child asylum seekers are often in a reception center for too short a period of time to obtain the A-Diploma.

    A Statistics Netherlands (CBS) study of data from 2014-2018 showed that drowning among people aged 10-20 with a non-Western background was more than seven times higher than among youth with a “Dutch background.” The CBS defines this as a person whose parents were born in the Netherlands. There were three times as many drownings among people with a non-Western background than those with a Dutch background, regardless of age.

  13. Corruption involving the White Helmets, which Russia claims is a front for al-Nusra / al-Qaeda. The founder apparently committed suicide, an odd story:

    Dutch accountant uncovers fraud behind Syria rescue organization White Helmets: report
    A Dutch accountant discovered that the leaders of Mayday Rescue, the Dutch foundation behind the White Helmets rescue organization in Syria, used money intended for a rescue operation for their own bonuses instead. James Le Mesurier, the founder of the White Helmets, died in an apparent suicide days after this discovery, the Volkskrant reports based on its own research.
    The White Helmets is the organization of Syrian locals who rescued victims from the rubble after bombings – recognized by the white helmets they wore. The organization was funded by donations from various European governments, Canada and Qatar. The finances ran through Mayday Rescue, a Dutch foundation that also had offices in Istanbul.
    According to the newspaper, Le Mesurier received 50 thousand dollars in cash for Operation Flying Carpet in on 17 July 2018. Four days later, around 100 White Helmets and their family members were smuggled out of Syria when Syrian president Bashar al-Assad reconquered parts of southern Syria. As the White Helmets rescued people from bombings by the Assad regime, it was feared that they would be in danger of captivity, torture and death in areas he controlled.
    But fewer White Helmets could be rescued than hoped, the Volkskrant wrote, because the largest part of the 50 thousand dollars Le Mesurier took from the Mayday safe in Istanbul was not used for the rescue. And after that the money disappeared.
    In the spring of 2019, a British accountant asked for an explanation and received receipts from Le Mesurier showing that after the evacuation from Jordan, the money was handed over to another manager, who signed for it. After that Mayday established an Emergency Operation Center in Istanbul, in case more rescue workers had to be rescued, and the money is there in a safe. The British accountant accepted this, as there were receipts and all.
    But when the Dutch accountant went to check in November 2019, he found that the money was missing and the receipts were fake. An involved employee told him that Le Mesurier asked that he and a colleague sign backdated receipts. The accountant met with Le Mesurier to ask him about it, and he acknowledged fraud, according to the Volkskrant. The money went into “remuneration benefits” – money he and fellow directors Emma Winberg (also his wife) and Rupert Davis paid out every month on top of their salaries. The accountant confirmed that the 50 thousand dollars went into the books as a personal bonus for Le Mesurier and advised the man to get a forensic accountant look at the books to investigate the risk of self-enrichment.
    The next day, November 8, Le Mesurier wrote an email to the donor countries, admitting that the 50 thousand dollars disappeared as a result of “fraud”, but adding that there was never any malicious intent. “I take full and sole responsibility for that,” he wrote, according to the newspaper. He discussed his fears for a second investigation by a forensic accountant, that this may reveal “errors and internal failures” that could play into the hands of “Russia and the pro-Assad trolls.” He left the choice of how to proceed up to the donor countries, adding that he is willing to step down from Mayday if they require it and pay back any wrong expenses.
    On Monday, November 11, Le Mesurier was found dead. He died in a fall from his and Winberg’s apartment above the Mayday offices in Istanbul. The Turkish police spoke to his widow and concluded that he most likely took his own life.

    The russians claim he was MI6:
    Just days before Le Mesurier’s death, a post on the official twitter account of the Russian foreign ministry read: “The White Helmets’ co-founder, James Le Mesurier, is a former agent of Britain’s MI6, who has been spotted all around the world, including in the #Balkans and the #MiddleEast.”


    This is called a disinformation campaign on Wikipedia:
    The Times reported that Le Mesurier was “the subject of an intense black propaganda campaign for years by pro-Assad activists and Russian diplomats”.[27][28] The New York Times reported that the group and Le Mesurier were the target of “unfounded conspiracy theories”.[3] It was alleged that Le Mesurier’s British Army background meant that he was effectively operating as a British state agent.[29]
    Janine di Giovanni has written the claim he was a spy lacks any evidence.[30] The accusations, from those who are opposed to any Western involvement in Syria and are backers of the Assad regime, include bloggers connected to the English-language Russian media who claim the White Helmets and Le Mesurier were intending to push for regime change in Syria

    More articles:
    James Le Mesurier: White Helmets co-founder died from fall, Turkey says

    White Helmets co-founder stole aid money destined for Syria – report

    Founder of Foundation behind White Helmets Admits Fraud

    More on this group, quite disturbing:
    Unequivocally, the settlement of some members of the ‘White Helmets’ constitutes a real and potent threat to British national security and to the safety of the British public, according to the British political analyst Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos, who asserts that the’White Helmets’ have not only been complicit in crimes against humanity but they have actually instigated such crimes in Syria.
    ” The members of the White Helmets are not only religious extremists – Wahhabists – but, even worse, they are some of the most violent and depraved people you will ever come across in this life.”

    YT has several videos, eg:

  14. UN chief says the world is ‘at the breaking point’ after months of anti-racism protests and the coronavirus pandemic (dailymail, Jul 18, 2020)

    “The U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres made a sweeping call Saturday to end the global inequalities that sparked this year’s massive anti-racism protests and have been further exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

    ‘COVID-19 has been likened to an X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built,’ Mr Guterres said as he delivered the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

    He said: ‘It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver health care for all, the fiction that unpaid care work is not work, the delusion that we live in a post-racist world, the myth that we are all in the same boat.’

    He said developed countries are strongly invested in their own survival and have ‘failed to deliver the support needed to help the developing world through these dangerous times.’

    The U.N. chief’s address marked what would have been the birthday of former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mandela.

    South Africa, the world’s most unequal country a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid, is quickly becoming one of the world’s hardest-hit nations in the pandemic.

    The speech by the U.N. chief took aim at the vast inequality of wealth – ‘The 26 richest people in the world hold as much wealth as half the global population,’ Guterres said – and other inequalities involving race, gender, class and place of birth.

    These, he said, are seen in the world’s fragmented response to the pandemic as governments, businesses and even individuals are accused of hoarding badly needed testing, medical and other supplies for themselves.

    The legacy of colonialism still reverberates, Guterres added, and it shows in global power relations.

    Developing countries, and especially African nations, are under-represented at the levels of power including at financial institutions like the World Bank and political ones like the U.N. Security Council, whose five most powerful members – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China – date from the 1940s when the world body was created.

    ‘Inequality starts at the top: in global institutions. Addressing inequality must start by reforming them,’ Guterres said, offering some solutions.

    A new generation of social protection is needed, including universal health coverage and perhaps maybe even a universal basic income he said, adding ‘individuals and corporations must pay their fair share.’

    Education spending in low and middle-income countries should more than double by 2030 to $3 trillion a year, he said. And in the face of enormous shifts due to climate change, governments should tax carbon instead of people.”

  15. Germany, France, Italy Threaten Sanctions Over Libya Arms Ban Violations (sputniknews, Jul 18, 2020)

    “The German, Italian and French leaders said in a joint statement on Saturday they were ready to consider sanctions as a response to violations of the UN arms embargo on Libya.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and French President Emmanuel Macron said they “urge foreign actors to end their increasing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo.”

    “We are ready to consider the possible use of sanctions should breaches to the embargo at sea, on land or in the air continue,” the joint statement added.

    The trio said they expected EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to present his proposals to this effect…”

  16. New French Prime Minister Opposes Internet Anonymity, Compares Social Networks to Vichy France (breitbart, Jul 18, 2020)

    Newly-appointed French prime minister Jean Castex has made it clear that he is no fan of anonymity on the Internet, claiming that it distorts political debates online.

    Prime Minister Castex labelled anonymity as “something shocking” and went on to say: “You can call someone all kinds of names, accuse them of all kinds of vices, by hiding behind pseudonyms. In these conditions, social networks are the Vichy regime: nobody knows who it is!”

    He went on to hint, during an interview with Le Parisien, that he would be working on counteracting anonymity online, saying: “I am for freedom of expression, but if we hide, the conditions of the debate are distorted. This is a subject that we will have to take up.”

    Castex said he would like to see “a little” regulation for social media, but claimed that such policy was not a top priority, claiming that unemployment and economic recovery in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus were his chief concerns.

    French president Emmanuel Macron has been clear in the past that he would like to see more regulation of social media, particularly when it comes to so-called hate speech online.

    Last year, Macron even floated the idea that those convicted of hate speech crimes could be banned from using social media networks permanently, comparing such a move to banning football hooligans from football matches.

    Former Secretary of State for Digital Affairs Mounir Mahjoubi said that social media companies could comply with bans by revealing user details.

    “It is no longer acceptable today that platforms that have the means to help justice and the police to identify the person who has committed an offence online take several weeks, even months, before giving the information,” he said.

    In July of last year, the French parliament passed legislation that forces social media companies to remove hate speech posts within 24 hours or face large fines.”

  17. European Court Forces Hungary to Recognise Foreign Transgender People (breitbart, Jul 18, 2020)

    “The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that Hungary must recognise the gender of an Iranian refugee who fled the country over their transgender identity.

    The five-year-long case involved an Iranian national who claimed asylum in Hungary in 2015 who was born a woman but wished to be recognised as a man.

    They wished to have their name and gender changes on official documents, as their Iranian documents identified them as a female. Hungary refused, claiming that a Hungarian birth certificate was needed to make the changes, Bild reports.

    The ECtHR has ruled in favour of the Iranian transman, alleging that Hungary violated their rights and forcing Hungary to pay €6,500 (£5,900/$7,400) in damages as well as court costs.

    According to the newspaper, LGBT activists hope the ruling will impact recently passed legislation by the government of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán that recognises only two biological genders and defines gender as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”.

    The legislation, which was passed in May, was met with severe opposition from left-wing activist groups. Human Rights Watch claimed the Orban government was “using the Covid-19 health crisis as cover to push through discriminatory legislation that will be devastating to the lives of transgender people”.

    Several other groups, many of which have been funded by left-liberal billionaire George Soros, also slammed the move, claiming the law “pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages”.

    The Orbán administration has rejected gender ideology for several years. In 2018, it revoked government funding for gender studies courses, claiming that there were concerns such degrees would not lead to employment opportunities for those graduating from them.

    Central European University (CEU), one of the institutions affected by the move, slammed the government decision, claiming “Gender Studies is an internationally recognised academic field, which produces socially relevant knowledge, and which has been taught at CEU for well over two decades.””

  18. Iran’s Shamkhani Urges US to Concede Defeat, Stop ‘Stupid Boasts’

    “Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani hit back at the US secretary of state for his comments on dealing with the Islamic Republic with strength, advising the US officials to concede defeat in the face of Iran and abandon their “stupid and hollow boasts

    In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Shamkhani played down the recent comments from US State Secretary Mike Pompeo.

    “Pompeo has said ‘we have fundamentally changed our behavior towards Iran because only strength works in dealing with them, not appeasement.’ You (Americans) have employed all of your power for over 40 years to defeat Iran, but are still unsuccessful,” he said.

    “Conceding defeat in the face of powerful Iran is better than stupid and baseless boasts,” Shamkhani said in response to Pompeo’s remarks.

    In a speech at Ron Pearson Center in Iowa on Friday, Pompeo said the countries like Iran “only respond to strength, not to appeasement.”

    “Look, we’ve also fundamentally changed the way America treats the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.

    “So we flipped what the previous administration was doing. We ditched the (2015 nuclear) deal and implemented a brand new Iran policy,” Pompeo added.”

  19. Iran Drops India for China in Strategic Railway Project

    “The Iranian government dropped India from the strategic railway project between Chabahar Port and Zahedan city, in what is considered a major blow to New Delhi, after Tehran signed a 25-year contract with China.

    Back in 2016, Tehran and New Delhi signed an agreement for “trade transit” during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tehran, the first visit by an Indian premier to Iran since 2001.

    The agreement stated that Iran’s railways, in partnership with India, would take over all works related to the railway and finance all project works.

    However, it seems that Iran dropped India after it finalized a partnership deal with China, valued at $400 billion, that includes signing a major military and political contract.

    Indian media said the Chinese deal with the Iranian government is significant, especially amid the current tensions between New Delhi and Beijing, which culminated in the bloody military confrontations on the border between the two countries…”

  20. Erdogan: ‘Egypt’s movements in Libya illegal, UAE conducts piracy activities’

    “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of taking “illegal and unacceptable” steps in Libya.

    Erdogan stated that Turkey “will continue to assume the responsibility it undertook in Libya” and “will not let the Libyans face military aggression alone.”

    The Turkish president strongly criticised Egypt and the UAE’s support for the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar, stating: “The steps taken by Egypt and its support for Haftar are illegal. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi is committing piracy crimes by sending money and weapons to Haftar illegally and this is unacceptable… while we are standing with a legitimate government fighting coupists.”

    Erdogan stressed that Turkey is currently studying the possibility of signing a new agreement with the Government of National Accord (GNA) as an outcome of the Skhirat Agreement, in addition to two other accords that were concluded by the two parties last year.

    Egypt and the UAE are Haftar’s most important regional allies, while Turkey provides military support to the GNA, which was formed under the Skhirat Agreement and is based in the capital, Tripoli.

    Libya has recently witnessed rapid field developments as the GNA forces managed to make tangible field progress and extended its control over the suburbs of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna, while Haftar’s forces retreated to the city of Sirte, where clashes are underway to control it.

    The Libyan parliament, headed by Aguila Saleh, recently asked Egypt to intervene militarily in Libya in order to: “Preserve the national security of the two countries.””

  21. Yemenis outraged after imam issues fatwa to kill young ‘magician’

    “Aden residents rallied in support of a young, local trickster magician in the country’s temporary capital city this week after an imam at a mosque issued an alleged religious ruling for his killing.

    In a social media campaign that has picked up speed in just two days, Yemenis expressed solidarity with Mohammed Abdul Karim, known by his stage name Mohammed Tika, condemning a Friday sermon that called for his killing over his talent.

    The campaign was launched after the imam of the Othman bin Affan mosque in the coastal city of Aden incited violence against Tika, including making permissible his killing, after the young magician was hired to do a magic show at the opening of a new mall…”

  22. Libyan GNA fighters head for front as battle for Sirte looms

    “Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) on Saturday moved fighters closer to Sirte, a gateway to Libya’s main oil terminals that the GNA says it plans to recapture from the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA)…”

  23. Egypt condemns Turkey’s political and military interference in Arab affairs

    “Egypt has stressed its rejection of Turkey’s political and military “interferences” in Arab affairs, describing them as “lacking any legitimate basis,” one day after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan denounced Egypt’s actions in war-torn Libya.

    In a statement on Saturday, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez affirmed Cairo’s rejection of Turkish interventions in Iraq, Syria and Libya, saying they violate UN Security Council resolutions.

    “The Arab nations do not want any attempts or ambitions from those who seek to rule to achieve [their own] interests and goals,” Hafez said.

    The spokesman expressed “surprise” over statements from Turkish officials regarding the legitimacy of elected Libyan bodies calling for Egyptian support in combating terrorism and extremism exported from Syria to Libya.

    Hafez also expressed surprise over Turkey “risking the destiny of its nation by intervening in Arab countries’ crises to complicate and deepen them and to empower certain currents.”

    His statements come one day after Erdogan denounced Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Friday for supporting eastern-based forces led by military commander Khalifa Haftar, describing the steps by Egypt as “illegal.”

    Egypt, the UAE and Russia are backing military commander Khalifa Haftar in the east, while Turkey supports the Tripoli-based GNA.

    The Turkish denunciation comes after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told representatives from Libyan tribes on Thursday that Cairo will not stand idle in the face of actions that pose a direct and strong threat to Egypt and Libya, as well as to Arab, regional and international security.

    El-Sisi told Libyan tribes in Cairo that he would request parliament’s approval in case of intervention in Libya.

    The representatives from Libyan tribes arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the crisis in conflict-torn Libya.

    The tensions come one month after El-Sisi had warned that Cairo has a legitimate right to intervene in the neighbouring country to restore security and stability after GNA-affiliated forces pushed back Haftar’s forces in the capital.

    El-Sisi said that any intervention in Libya by Egyptian forces “would be led by the Libyan tribes,” stressing that the Libyan frontline of Sirte and Al-Jufra is “a red line” for Egyptian national security.

    The Egyptian president’s statements came weeks after El-Sisi, Haftar, and the speaker of the Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh announced a peace initiative, dubbed the Cairo Declaration, to end the civil war in Libya through a ceasefire and an elected leadership council.

    The Cairo plan was drafted after the collapse of an offensive launched by Haftar in April 2019 to capture the Libyan capital, further extending the rival GNA’s control over most of northwest Libya.”

    • Egypt’s parliament to mandate Sisi to intervene militarily in Libya

      “Informed sources told Ahram Online that the Egyptian parliament – the House of Representatives – is expected to hold a plenary meeting this week to discuss the political and military situation in neighbouring Libya.

      The sources said the discussion is to be followed by a vote to mandate President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to intervene militarily in Libya to help defend the western neighbour against Turkish aggression.

      In a 16 July meeting between leaders of Libyan tribes and El-Sisi, they asked him to authorise the Egyptian Armed Forces “to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt, if they see an imminent danger to both countries. President El-Sisi said he would do so after obtaining the approval of the Egyptian parliament.

      In a resolution passed on 13 July, the Libyan parliament also asked the Egyptian and Libyan armed forces to work together to guarantee the occupier’s defeat and preserve shared national security in the face of the dangers posed by the Turkish occupation.

      In his meeting with Libyan tribes on Thursday, President El-Sisi said Egypt has the strongest army in the region and Africa.

      “But the Egyptian army is a very wise force, and it is not interested in mounting occupation operations, and if we need to undertake any operations outside our borders we will be required to first obtain the approval of the Egyptian parliament.”

      MPs told Ahram Online that El-Sisi’s words go in line with Article 152 of Egypt’s constitution, which states that “the president of the republic is the supreme leader of the Armed Forces. He shall not declare war or send the Armed Forces outside the state’s borders to undertake fighting missions unless he first seeks the opinion of the National Defence Council and takes the approval of the two thirds majority of MPs.”

      Mohamed Hani El-Hennawi, an independent MP representing the Nile Delta governorate of Beheira, told Ahram Online that Egyptian MPs have closely followed all the issues discussed in the meeting between President El-Sisi and leaders of Libyan tribes on 16 July.

      “I think that the majority of my colleagues in the House will vote in favour of granting President El-Sisi a mandate to take all the measures necessary to preserve the national security of both Egypt and Libya,” said El-Hennawi.

      MP Hussein Abu Gad, a member of the parliamentary majority “Mostaqbal Watan” party, also said “the issues raised during President El-Sisi’s meeting with leaders of Libyan tribes last Thursday were directly related to the national security of both Egypt and Libya.

      “All Egyptian MPs were keen to closely follow this meeting, particularly his indication that he should seek approval from the Egyptian parliament before he undertakes any military operations outside our borders,” said Abu Gad, agreeing that “what president El-Sisi said goes in line with the constitution.”

      Abu Gad, however, indicated that Egypt’s military intervention does not necessarily mean that Egypt will send troops to Libya or that Egyptian military forces will participate in any fighting missions on Libya’s land.

      “I think that President El-Sisi was quite clear during the 16 July meeting when he said that Egypt’s Armed Forces will closely work side by side with the Libyan National Army in terms of military support, training Libyan army officers in Egypt’s military academy, and providing Libyan tribes with weapons that can help them fight the Turkish aggression and their supported mercenaries,” said Abu Gad.

      Said Hassasin, an MP in the Democratic Peace Party and a media expert, said “I think that by giving support and assistance to the Libyan army, Egypt will be able to help the Libyan people free the country from the Turkish occupation.”

      Hassassin said the Turkish occupation of Western Libya would be a direct threat to Egypt’s national security if Turkey occupied Sirte and Al-Jufra. “This is why President El-Sisi said Sirte and Al-Jufra are a red line for Egypt,” he added.

      Parliament to discuss draft laws

      Egypt’s parliament will meet on Sunday and Monday to discuss a number of laws. On Monday, parliament will discuss the president’s decree (number 391) on the extension of the state of emergency for another three months, beginning on Monday 27 July.

      The schedule of parliamentary debate on Sunday and Monday will also include discussing nine draft laws. Topping the list are amendments to the law on Civil and Commercial Procedures, fighting cheating and leaking of foreign certificate exams, police control, waste management, and supporting and financing the management and building of educational projects.

      The list also includes draft bills on industrial quality control systems, the Waqfs (religious endowments) related to the Egyptian Catholic Church and the Anglican sect, the Islamic House of Zakat (Alms) and the regulation of the Egyptian Dar El-Iftaa (the house of religious edicts).

      Parliament is also expected to take a final vote on nine draft laws, foremost among which are the law on regulating the performance of the Central Bank of Egypt and the Banking Sector, and the law on the Public Enterprise Companies Sector.

      Other laws include adding a new allocation of LE80 billion to the state’s new budget 20/21, setting up a Takaful (solidarity) fund to contain the negative economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, regulating the affairs of medical staff affiliated with the Ministry of Health, setting up the fund of caring for the innovative and genius people, and regulating advertisements on public roads.

      Parliament will also take a final vote on the amendments to the stamp law and the income tax law.”

  24. Four held for breaking Buddha statue

    “Four people who had allegedly smashed a Buddha statute in Mardan district were arrested on Saturday.

    The statue was discovered by locals in the Takht Bhai tehsil of Mardan district during construction work.

    Special Assistant to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chief minister on Information and Local Government Kamran Bangash in a statement confirmed that all offenders who were seen smashing a Buddhist statue in Mardan district have been arrested by police. An FIR has been lodged against them under relevant sections of the K-P Antiquity Act, 2016.

    The incident had occurred in Jamal Bagh area in the limits of the Saro Shah police station.

    Mardan District Police Officer Dr Zahidullah following the incident, a police team was formed which traced the four suspects and booked them. Further investigation into the incident is underway, he informed…”

    • “…The DPO said the suspects have been identified as Amjid, Saazuddin, Qamar Zaman and Salman.

      The suspects during initial investigation revealed that they smashed the statute into pieces because the local prayer leader had said that keeping or selling it is against the basic teachings of Islam. The mosque cleric had also told them that their nikah or marriage contract would stand dissolved if they did not smash it into pieces, they informed the police.

      Police are also looking for the local cleric who incited the locals to destroy the Buddha statute.

      The Takht Bhai area is a tourist destination for people from Sri Lanka, Korea and Japan since it was a part of the Gandhara Civilisation – one of the earliest urban settlements documented in the history of the subcontinent.

      Excavated in 1836 for the first time, archaeologists have excavated hundreds of relics made of clay, stucco and terracotta in the area.”

  25. Afghan border fire kills three in Bajaur

    “Three Pakistani citizens were martyred, while seven civilians and two soldiers sustained injuries in cross-border firing from inside Afghanistan in the Bajaur tribal district on Friday.

    The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital for medical treatment, according to the locals. They said that terrorists based in Afghanistan used to target the Pakistani citizens and security forces from time to time in which several people and personnel had been martyred and injured.

    Friday’s incident followed a mortar fire from Kunar province of Afghanistan on July 15, which destroyed a house in Kaga village in Mamond Tehsil of Bajaur, injuring a woman. In retaliation Pakistani security forces targeted the suspected terrorist sanctuaries in Kunar, a media report said.

    On late Wednesday, Afghanistan protested against the Pakistani firing at the terrorist target in the border areas of Kunar, claiming that it caused civilian casualties and damage to houses. The local police claimed that four people were killed and nine others were wounded in the Pakistani firing.

    The latest escalation comes as a fresh round of peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban are expected this month in the Qatari capital Doha. The so-called intra-Afghan talks were delayed due to postponement of a prisoner exchange between the sides…”

  26. Turkey detains ISIL terror suspect wanted by Interpol

    “Turkish security forces detained an ISIL terror suspect of French origin wanted by Interpol, security sources said on July 17.

    After receiving information that a terrorist would enter Turkey from one of the conflict regions in Syria, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and security forces conducted a joint operation in the borderline between Turkey and Syria, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

    In the operation, a French national was detained near Turkey’s southern Kilis province while he was trying to enter Turkey.

    After identity checks, it was found that the terror suspect, identified by the initials O.G., was sought by an Interpol Red Notice.

    The suspect is being interrogated.”

  27. DAILY MAIL – Exam board apologises and withdraws GCSE psychology textbook featuring cartoon of black tribe cooking a white missionary in a pot

    The picture in the AQA textbook shows two white missionaries, captured by a group of black men said to be cannibals, cooking one of the missionaries

    The wider context in the psychology text book was a discussion about how a group can generate more ideas than individuals working alone

    An exam board that approved a textbook that included a cartoon of black people cooking a white missionary in a pot above a question about cannibals has apologised.

    AQA – one of the UK’s three main examination bodies – said that the GCSE psychology textbook should never have been approved.

    The section in the book – published by Illuminate Publishing in 2017 – was first highlighted by Lizzie Jordan, founder of Think2Speak, an organisation that mentors young people.

    ‘The five authors, the proofreader, the editor, the publisher, the printer, the educator — the myriad of hands this will have gone through before being a resource in a child’s hands,’ Jordan said to The Times. ‘I can’t understand how stuff like that gets printed.’

    Jordan’s child had brought the AQA’s Psychology for GCSE text book, bringing it to her attention.

    The picture in the book was a cartoon of two white missionaries, captured by a group of black men said to be cannibals.

    The question accompanying the image reads: ‘Three missionaries and three cannibals are trying to cross a river, however at no time can there be more cannibals than missionaries on either bank or in the boat. How can they do this?’

    The wider context around the image and question was a discussion about how a group working together could generate more ideas than individuals working along.

    ‘Do you honestly think this is acceptable in one of your textbooks?’ asked Damian Page, dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, on Twitter.

    Illuminate Publishing said in a statement: ‘We apologise unreservedly and have withdrawn the book from sale. We are replacing the image and example and are disposing of existing stock. We are deeply sorry for any offence caused.’

    An AQA representative added: ‘We have zero tolerance of racism. There are no excuses and we’re sorry.’

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