Reader’s Links for February 3, 2021

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

108 Replies to “Reader’s Links for February 3, 2021”

  1. Canada Declares Proud Boys a Terrorist Group, Same Category as Islamic State (breitbart, Feb 3, 2021)

    “The Canadian federal government has declared the Proud Boys group, along with 12 other groups as “terrorist entities” after a push to declare the group terrorists by far-left New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh.

    The Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated Wednesday that it would be adding a total of 13 groups to the list of terrorist entities, which could see criminal sanctions and asset freezes of anyone associated with the groups.

    Public Safety Minister Bill Blair made the announcement, stating that the Proud Boys along with he neo-Nazi groups ‘Atomwaffen Division’, ‘The Base’ and others will be considered by the government as terrorist groups as they have called for and taken part in violence against political opponents, CTV reports.

    Several Al-Qaeda affiliated groups and Islamic State-affiliated groups were also added to the terror list.

    “Based on their actions and ideologies, each group meets the legal threshold for listing as set out in the Criminal Code, which requires reasonable grounds to believe that an entity has knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity, or has knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such an entity,” Blair said.

    The move comes after New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh called for the Proud Boys to be declared a terrorist group following the Capitol riots in Washington D.C. last month.

    Singh took to Twitter after the announcement commenting, “It’s official. Proud Boys are designated a terrorist organization. Young people[,] Working people[,] Black, Brown and Indigenous people[,] This is our victory. I will be speaking to the country about the next steps soon.”

    A motion to declare the group a terrorist organisation was met with unanimous approval from all political parties in the house of commons late last month.

    While the Proud Boys’ activity in Canada has been small in comparison to their activity in the United States, the group was founded by Vice Magazine co-founder Gavin Mcinnes, who himself is a Canadian citizen living in the U.S.

    In Canada, the group is most known for interrupting an aboriginal ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July of 2017. The Proud Boys confronted the Mi’kmaw ceremony which itself was a protest for the removal of a statue of Halifax founder General Edward Cornwallis.

    The Cornwallis statue was later removed in 2018 and though there was no violence at the Proud Boys protest, several of the men who were serving military were reprimanded for their actions.

    Since the Capitol riot last month, two Proud Boys members have been indicted on federal conspiracy charges and the leader of the group was revealed to have been a long-time informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”

  2. 4 Tunisian soldiers die as mine hits vehicle in terror sweep (abcnews, Feb 3, 2021)

    “Four Tunisian soldiers were killed when a land mine hit their vehicle while carrying out a sweep for Islamist extremists in a mountainous region near the Algerian border, authorities said Wednesday.

    The Defense Ministry spokesman, Mohamed Zekri, said in a telephone interview that the Jound Al Khalifa brigade, close to al Qaida’s North African branch, was responsible. The group has carried out numerous killings in Tunisia…”

  3. 7 insurgents, 2 troops killed in separate raids in Pakistan (abcnews, Feb 3, 2021)

    “Pakistani security forces and police acting on intelligence Wednesday raided suspected militant and separatist hideouts, triggering shootouts that killed seven insurgents and two soldiers.

    Kamran Hussain, an official with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism department, said in a statement the first raid took place in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan in the eastern Punjab province.

    The raid left three militants from the outlawed Baluchistan Republican Army dead, he said. The group is known for targeting Pakistani troops, police and gas pipelines in southwestern Baluchistan.

    Hussain said officers also seized a cache of weapons in the raid.

    Baluchistan has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch separatists who want a greater share of province gas and mineral revenue. Although authorities often say they have quelled the Insurgency in Baluchistan, violence has continued there.

    Hours later, troops raided a militant compound in the former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan district, triggering a shootout that killed four insurgents and two soldiers, according to a military statement.

    The statement said four soldiers were also wounded in the raid. The North Waziristan district served as the main base for local and foreign militants until the military secured the regions in 2015 with a series of operations.”

    • “Our Culture, What’s Left Of It: Interview with Theodore Dalrymple”
      Jamie Glazov – August 31, 2005


      You make the shrewd observation of how political correctness engenders evil because of “the violence that it does to people’s souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question.” Can you talk about this a bit?

      Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

  4. Longest-Serving Woman in Congress Says She Feels Increasingly Alienated in Democratic Party
    By Tom Ozimek
    February 3, 2021 Updated: February 3, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    The longest-serving woman in Congress, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), told The Hill in a recent interview that she struggles with a growing sense of alienation within the Democratic party as she fights for the interests of her largely working-class Midwest constituents while the Democrat party is increasingly dominated by representatives from wealthy, often coastal districts.

    “They just can’t understand,” Kaptur told the outlet, referring to the difficulty some of her Democrat colleagues have in relating to the concerns of blue-collar constituents like hers.

    “They can’t understand a family that sticks together because that’s what they have. Their loved ones are what they have, their little town, their home, as humble as it is—that’s what they have,” she added

  5. UK, Japan Voice ‘Serious Concerns’ Over Beijing’s Maritime Aggression
    By Alexander Zhang
    February 3, 2021 Updated: February 3, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    Britain and Japan on Wednesday expressed “serious concerns” over the situation in the East and South China Seas and their common opposition to the Chinese regime’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.

    At a virtual meeting with their Japanese counterparts Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed the planned deployment of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Indo-Pacific region later this year.

  6. Biden Cancels Important Speech for Odd Reason – 1600 Daily
    About The Author 1600DailyAdmin
    1-2 minutes

    February 1, 2021

    President Joe Biden canceled a key foreign policy speech for what appears to be weather-related concerns.

    According to The Washington Free Beacon:

    President Joe Biden canceled a Monday trip to the State Department to deliver his first major foreign policy address, citing the two inches of snow that fell in Washington, D.C., during the weekend.

    The speech will be “rescheduled due to inclement weather,” a White House official told reporters, adding that Biden “looks forward to visiting later this week when the agency’s staff and diplomats can more safely commute to attend.”

    The Biden administration had been touting the speech in the media, describing it as the president’s first major policy speech about “restoring America’s place in the world,” according to NBC News. In addition to his remarks, Biden was expected to sign several executive orders aimed at unwinding Trump administration policies.

    This will be Biden’s first “snow day” since taking office.

  7. Biden’s ‘Buy American’ Clean Energy Conundrum – Washington Free Beacon
    Collin Anderson
    5-6 minutes

    President Joe Biden’s latest climate-focused executive order promises a bustling clean energy sector backed by “good-paying union jobs.” That sector’s supply chain, however, is largely dominated by China.

    Issued on Wednesday, Biden’s order calls on the federal government to purchase union-built, American electric vehicles. But both Chevrolet and Nissan’s top electric offerings fall well below the federal government’s domestic “component test” to determine American-made status, and Ford’s latest electric SUV, the Mustang Mach-E, will be built in China and Mexico. China also controls much of the world’s lithium battery supply, including 77 percent of global cell capacity and 60 percent of global component manufacturing, a September BloombergNEF report shows.

  8. Ms Omooba was sacked from her role as Celie in the stage adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel over a 2014 Facebook post which read: ‘I do not believe you can be born gay and I do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal it doesn’t make it right.’

    “There’s no such thing as a single “gay gene” that drives a person’s sexual behavior, concludes the largest genetic study ever conducted on the issue. Instead, a person’s attraction to those of the same sex is shaped by a complex mix of genetic and environmental influences, similar to what’s seen in most other human traits, researchers report.”

    You are born one gender, and then you’re screwed.

  9. In Doug Ford’s Ontario
    Newspaper article under LAW and ORDER. Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021

    The Ontario Provincial Police ( OPP) is requesting that Ontarians voluntarily comply with the new stay-at-home order to limit mobility outside their homes, except for essential reasons, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    OPP officers will enforce the stay-at-home orde, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, by focusing on non-compliance in business and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five people. Officers can disperse and ticket individuals found to be non-compliant with the acts.

    fines are 750 dollars for failing to comply with an order and or 1,000 dollars for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers) from following an order. Maximum fines for individuals are up to 100,000 dollars and 10 million dollars for a corporation. failure to follow the rules can result in prosecution or jail time.

    As a reminder, in the absence of a complaint or other grounds, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or in a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an act.

    officers ask that 9 1 1 be used for emergency purposes only if you have questions about the stay-at-home order please visit or call the hotline at 211 for assistance. 211 is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and service is available in 150 languages.

    For non-emergencies—including allegations of non- compliance — contact your police service of jurisdiction.

  10. Apparently the beheading in France a few days ago had a connection to the RoP. Not sure what this claim is based on, there’s a link to source but that doesn’t mention it. There’s a photo of the perp, could be arab or french native:

    Muslim Beheading In France: Muslim Arrested After Severed Head Thrown From Window in Toulon, France

    With video:
    Update: Muslim Doctor Bharat Narumanchi Is Dead After Killing Female Pediatrician Hostage In Austin, Texas

    With video:
    Muslim Migrants Riot And Burn Down Napier Barracks, Kent, UK

  11. U.S. should delay complete troop pullout in Afghanistan -report to Congress

    “The United States should extend the May 1 deadline for pulling all its troops from Afghanistan, and make force cuts contingent on progress in peace talks as well as by the Taliban in reducing violence and containing al Qaeda, a bipartisan report to Congress said on Wednesday…”

  12. U.S. ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of systematic rape of Muslims in China camps

    “The United States is “deeply disturbed” by reports of systematic rape and sexual abuse against women in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region and there must be serious consequences for atrocities committed there, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday…”

  13. Indonesia bans schools from forcing students, teachers to don Muslim headscarf

    “The Indonesian government has banned schools throughout the vast country from forcing students or faculty members to don a tudung (Muslim headscarf) or any other religious attribute, saying the prerogative for such lies with the individual not the institution.

    A joint ministerial decree on this was issued on Wednesday (Feb 3) following a recent uproar after a vocational school in Padang run by the provincial government in West Sumatra province required all female students, including non-Muslims, to wear the Muslim headscarf.

    “This is an individual’s right. Teachers, students – with parents’ consent – have the right to choose. It is not the school’s decision,” education and culture minister Nadiem Makarim told a virtual media briefing on Wednesday.

    “Schools should promote Indonesia’s religious pluralism ideology, nurture the nation’s unity and religious harmony,” he added.

    Mr Nadiem along with home affairs minister Tito Karnavian and religious affairs minister Aqut Cholil Qoumas signed the ministerial decree.

    Any existing by-laws issued by regional administrations or rules by schools across Indonesia that go against this new decree must be revoked within the next 30 days, Mr Nadiem said, or face sanctions.

    The sanctions may include a cut in funding…”

  14. MSNBC – Threat Of Financial Repercussions Makes Some Right-Wing Media Change Their Tune

    Co-founder of the Lincoln Project Rick Wilson and Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond discuss Dominion Voting Systems putting legal pressure on Trumpworld after he and his allies spread false claims about vote counting.

  15. 10 Malian Troops Killed in Suspected Jihadist Attack

    “Ten troops were killed in Mali’s troubled central region early Wednesday when their camp came under attack from jihadists, security sources said.

    Their position at Boni, located between Douentza and Hombori in the Mopti region, was attacked by “heavily armed individuals in armoured vehicles,” one source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Several soldiers were injured, the source said, an account confirmed by another security official and a local government official.

    The 10 bodies had been brought back to the airport in Sevare, near the town of Mopti, by a helicopter from the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force, while the injured were taken to hospital, local officials said.

    The security source said the camp had been seriously damaged and the assailants had made off with lots of equipment.

    Tadayt, a propaganda outlet close to Al-Qaeda, claimed that the attack had been carried out by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), seen as the most dangerous of the many jihadist groups active in the Sahel region…”

  16. IS Attack Kills 19 in Central Syria: Monitor

    “Islamic State group jihadists killed 19 Syrian regime personnel and allied militia fighters in the central province of Hama on Wednesday, a Britain-based war monitor said.

    “Nineteen regime fighters and allied militia forces were killed in an IS attack, including 11 members of the Baqir Brigade,” a local Iran-backed militia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    The war monitor said the “surprise attack” on Wednesday morning targeted regime positions in eastern Hama, the site of recent clashes between regime forces and jihadists.

    Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman called it the deadliest IS attack this year.

    IS overran large parts of Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a cross-border “caliphate” in 2014, before multiple offensives in the two countries led to its territorial defeat.

    The group lost its last scrap of territory in Syria in March 2019, but in recent months it has ramped up attacks against regime forces, especially in the east of the country bordering Iraq.

    In December last year, IS killed nearly 40 Syrian troops in an ambush of a bus carrying soldiers travelling home for the holidays.

    According to the Observatory, IS attacks have killed more than 1,200 regime fighters and allied militia forces since March 2019.

    The war in Syria has killed more than 387,000 people since it started in 2011, the Observatory says.”

  17. Afghan Judge Shot Dead in Jalalabad Ambush

    “An Afghan judge was shot dead in an ambush in the eastern city of Jalalabad Wednesday, police said, the third court official killed in less than a month.

    Judge Hafizullah was attacked as he headed to work in a motor trishaw, said Farid Khan, spokesman for Nangarhar province’s police.

    Gulzada Sangar, a doctor at Jalalabad public hospital, said Hafizullah had multiple bullet wounds.

    The murder of Hafizullah, who like many Afghans goes by just one name, comes after militants shot dead two women judges working for the Supreme Court in Kabul on January 17.

    Several prominent Afghans — including judges, clerics, journalists, activists, and doctors — have been assassinated in often brazen daytime attacks.

    Targeted killings with remotely detonated bombs attached to vehicles, or drive-by shootings, have become favored tactics of insurgents, especially during the morning commute in big cities.

    Earlier Wednesday a policeman was killed and three others wounded in Kabul by a bomb attached to their vehicle.

    Four similar bomb blasts rocked the Afghan capital on Tuesday, including one that killed a prominent cleric.

    The murder of cleric Mohammad Atif was later claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group, according to the SITE monitoring group.

    IS has claimed some of the target killings in the Afghan capital, but government officials blame the Taliban for the murders.

    Separately, four security personnel were killed overnight by a car bomb at a military base in the restive southern province of Uruzgan, governor Mohammad Omar Shirzad told reporters.

    Deadly violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent months despite ongoing peace talks between the Taliban and government.”

  18. Taliban: US Airstrikes in Breach of Doha Deal

    “The US has violated the Doha agreement with the Taliban by launching aerial attacks in Afghanistan, Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Tasnim.

    In an interview with Tasnim, Mujahid said Americans have breached the Doha agreement by carrying airstrikes on Afghan territories, saying the US has bombed even the regions where there is no war.

    What has been signed by the Taliban and the US after the Doha talks has been violated by Americans, he said.

    Mujahid also rejected the Taliban’s involvement in attacks on civilians, saying the Taliban have always assumed responsibility for the attacks on the military and intelligence forces of the Kabul government with whom they are fighting directly, but have never had any role in the attacks targeting civilians, journalists, political and civil activists, or the other influential figures.

    Attacking civilians is not in the interests of the Taliban, the people, and Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

    On the intra-Afghan talks in Qatar for the peace process in Afghanistan, Mujahid said the Taliban consider ceasefire as a main topic that needs to be discussed at proper time, but the reason for the ongoing war must be first specified and addressed before an armistice.

    “Trust must be built before ceasefire, because all parties should make sure that the peace process will succeed without military pressures and the other party will be committed to peace,” he explained.

    The Taliban spokesman further criticized Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for putting the issue of ceasefire at the top of the agenda of the peace negotiations in order to maintain his position and get rid of the military pressures.

    “The process of peace negotiations could lead us to ceasefire, so this topic and the other issues had better not be used as obstacles and the negotiating teams should be allowed to proceed with their job,” Mujahid added.”

  19. Ayatollah Khamenei Decries Western Outlook on Women

    “Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei denounced the Western lifestyle and viewpoint on women, highlighting Islam’s respect for women’s dignity and their key role in the families.

    Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday attended a videoconference with a group of Iranian eulogists in an annual ceremony marking the birth anniversary of Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (PBUH), daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

    Highlighting the fundamental difference between the viewpoints of Islam and the West on women, the Leader said the Islamic Republic has high regard for women’s respect and dignity, while the typical Western outlook considers women as commodity and instrument.

    From the viewpoint of Islam, women and men are equal when it comes to divine and humanitarian values, the Leader added, stressing, “We are proud of Islam’s view, and are diametrically opposed to the West’s view on women and lifestyle.”

    Dismissing the Western propaganda about Islam and Islamic hijab’s restrictions on the growth of women as an “outright lie”, Ayatollah Khamenei said a clear evidence for the falsity of such claim is the status of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The Leader noted that before the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Iran has never had so many educated women involved in various social, cultural, political, scientific and economic fields.

    Islam’s view on women provides the foundation for the prominent role of mothers and families, Ayatollah Khamenei underlined, saying the strongest pillars of intellectual and spiritual education and the most genuine atmosphere of intimacy are formed within the family.

    The Leader finally deplored the attempts from the Western propaganda campaign and a number of Westernized individuals inside Iran to devalue or eliminate the key role of mothers in families.”

  20. Israel Accuses Iran of Planning to Attack its Embassies

    “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for an emergency meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday to discuss what he considered “a massive Iranian terrorist attack.”

    A source close to Netanyahu’s office said there were many indications that Iran has decided to avenge a series of operations carried out against it, including the assassination of the commander of al-Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and al-Qaeda No.2 leader Abu Muhammad al-Masri, who was hiding in Tehran.

    The Israeli authorities have recently uncovered plots by a group of Iranians, including Europeans of Iranian origin, who are working in an African country, to gather information about the US, Emirati and Israeli embassies.

    The informed source said that Iran has decided to carry out a series of terrorist attacks on Israeli embassies, consulates, representative offices and Jewish institutions in the world, and against Emirati and American embassies. The reports require a comprehensive evaluation, the source emphasized.

    Israeli sources confirmed that Israel, in cooperation with friendly intelligence networks, has managed to “thwart an Iranian plot to carry out a retaliatory operation against diplomatic targets of Israel, the UAE and the United States.”

    According to the official Israeli TV channel (Kan 11), the attack was set to target an Israeli embassy in an East African country.

    The channel quoted “informed Western intelligence sources” as saying that Iran has sent agents to an unidentified East African country, with the aim of gathering intelligence information on each of the Israeli, US and UAE embassies, and examining the possibility of attacking one of them.

    The sources added that some of these agents were arrested in the African country.

    An improvised explosive device detonated last Friday, near the Israeli embassy in the Indian capital, New Delhi. The accusation was initially directed at Iran, but Israeli and Indian security authorities ruled that out, saying that it was a primitive device, which could be placed by an individual or a group of extremists.

    Indian media reported, at the time, that a message was found at the scene of the explosion, saying that the device was “just an introduction to what will happen next” and including the names of Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh.”

  21. HRW Slams Turkey’s ‘Illegal’ Transfer of Syria Detainees

    “Human Rights Watch Wednesday condemned the “illegal transfers” to Turkey of more than 60 Syrians arrested by Ankara and its local proxies in Syria’s northeast in 2019.

    Turkey and its Syrian opposition proxies arrested the 63 Syrians between October and December 2019 in the border area of Ras al-Ain in Syria’s northeast, after seizing the region from Kurdish fighters, the rights group said.

    The men, Arabs and Kurds, are being held over their alleged links to Kurdish groups viewed by Ankara as “terrorists”, according to HRW.

    They have been charged with “undermining the unity and territorial integrity of the state, membership in a terrorist organization, and murder”, the rights group added.

    “Not only have these Syrians been illegally transferred to Turkey for abusive prosecutions, but in an extraordinarily cruel move, the courts have imposed the highest sentence possible in Turkey –- life without parole” — on at least five of them, said Michael Page, HRW’s deputy regional director.

    Turkey and its Syrian proxies seized control of Ras al-Ain during an October 2019 offensive that saw it wrest a 120-kilometer long strip of land from Kurdish forces on the Syrian side of its southern border.

    Turkish authorities have not produced evidence that the detainees committed crimes or were active fighters with Kurdish groups, AFP quoted HRW as saying.

    “Turkish authorities, as an occupying power, are required to respect people’s rights under the law of occupation in northeastern Syria, including the prohibition on arbitrary detention and on the transfer of people to their territory,” Page said.

    “Instead, they are violating their obligations by arresting these Syrian men and carting them off to Turkey to face the most dubious and vaguest of charges connected to alleged activity in Syria.”

    While HRW said it could only confirm 63 transfers, it said available evidence suggests the number of Syrians taken to Turkey could be almost 200.”

  22. US Seeks to Seize Suspected Iranian Oil aboard Foreign Tanker

    “The United States has filed a lawsuit to seize a cargo of oil it says came from Iran rather than Iraq, as stated on the bill of lading, and contravenes US terrorism regulations.

    The lawsuit filed with the US District of Colombia on Tuesday alleges that Iran sought to mask the origin of the oil by transferring it to several vessels before it ended up aboard the Liberian-flagged Achilleas tanker destined for China.

    Washington said the scheme involved multiple entities affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Quds Force, both of which have been declared by foreign terrorist organizations by the United States.

    “Participants in the scheme attempted to disguise the origin of the oil using ship-to-ship transfers, falsified documents, and other means, and provided a fraudulent bill of lading to deceive the owners of the Achilleas into loading the oil in question,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

    It said the Achilleas tanker was subject to seizure based on US terrorism forfeiture laws. The move to seize the cargo followed an investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security.

    A source at the tanker’s Greek operator Capital Ship Management said the Achilleas was now heading to the United States in full cooperation with US authorities, where the company has a trading license.

    The Achilleas’ last reported position was off the coast of South America. The US Gulf port of Galveston was its destination with a scheduled arrival on Feb. 15, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed on Wednesday.

    Iran has not commented on the tanker as yet.”

  23. Iraq: unknown attackers target oil tanker in territorial waters

    “Unknown attackers have stolen computers, money and communications equipment from an Iraqi oil tanker sailing in Iraq’s territorial waters, Anadolu has reported. The MV Al-Bariq was attacked on Monday evening, explained Kazem Fanjan Al- Hamami MP.

    The head of the Iraqi parliament’s Services and Reconstruction Committee added that the vessel was off the coast of Basra at the time of the attack, in an area belonging to the Iraqi National Oil Marketing Company SOMO. However, a source at the Iraqi Ports Company told Anadolu that the area where the ship was robbed is not covered by the Iraqi Navy or the Basra Operations Command.

    The source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, pointed out that the identity of the gunmen is unknown.”

  24. Ethiopia says it foiled attack on UAE embassy in Addis Ababa

    “Ethiopia has arrested 15 people over a plot to attack the United Arab Emirates’ embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s state news agency said on Wednesday, citing a statement from the intelligence service, Reuters reports.

    The group was working at the direction of foreigners, the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) reported. An unspecified amount of arms, explosives and documents were seized during the operation, the agency said.

    “The group took the mission from a foreign terrorist group and was preparing to inflict significant damage on properties and human lives,” it reported.

    The UAE’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    A second group of suspects was planning to attack the UAE’s diplomatic mission in neighbouring Sudan, the EPA said.

    Ethiopia’s National Intelligence Security Service was working with its Sudanese counterparts on that aspect of the plot, the agency said. There was no immediate comment from Sudanese authorities.

    Some of the 15 suspects arrested had been spotted near the embassy, EPA reported.

    Others had received cash from their sponsors, the news agency said, adding that one of the masterminds of the plot was arrested in Sweden.”

  25. FGM: 15-year-old girl rushed to hospital in Egypt after home op goes wrong

    “Egypt authorities have arrested a retired nurse and the father of a 15-year-old girl after a botched FGM operation that saw her being rushed to hospital for severe bleeding.

    The illegal operation was reported to the public prosecutor by the doctor who treated her at the hospital.

    FGM is banned in Egypt but critics say authorities turn a blind eye and fail to hold perpetrators to account, which encourages the operations to continue.

    In January the Egyptian cabinet approved harsher FGM penalties raising the maximum sentence to 20 years and stipulating jail time for anyone requesting the operation be carried out.

    The practice was banned in 2008 with stricter punishments put in place in 2016, yet it is still practiced widely by both Christians and Muslims indicating authorities have failed to put an end to the brutal practice.

    Besides being incredibly painful, the operation can cause childbirth complications, infertility and death from infection.

    According to UNICEF, almost 90 per cent of Egyptian women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have undergone FGM. It is one of the top four countries worldwide where FGM is carried out.

    In June last year, a father of three girls organised for his daughters to be cut after telling them they were having the coronavirus vaccination.

    Earlier that year, 12-year-old Nada Abdul Maksoud died after her parents forced her to undergo FGM and she bled to death.

    The doctor who carried out the operation was released immediately.

    Often women are circumcised without anaesthetic as doctors charge extra and often families cannot afford it or don’t want to pay. Doctors often charge high prices for FGM since the operation is illegal.

    Official figures put the number of women who have been impacted by FGM worldwide as 200 million, but rights activists say this is a huge underestimation.”

  26. Jobs in the Gulf: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman seek workforce of nationals

    “Jobs for citizens is a priority for all countries, and the GCC states are no exception. Over the years, Gulf states, especially those in which unemployment among nationals is a concern, have rolled out policies of nationalisation of jobs in various sectors. These policies have gathered steam over the years, especially in the course of the economic conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    ‘Saudisation’ presses ahead against the odds
    Initiated in Saudi Arabia in mid-1970s, “Saudisation” or “localisation” is a term denoting a policy adopted by successive governments in the kingdom replacing migrant workers with Saudi citizens.

    The policy has since sought to reduce the numbers of expatriates in the country, which is the world’s top oil exporter, with a view to curbing unemployment rates among the Saudis. The Saudisation drive has picked pace since King Salman Bin Abdulaziz ascended the throne in 2015 amid vigorous efforts to diversify the country’s oil-reliant economy.

    Labour disequilibrium in private sector
    Saudisation has already carved a niche in the public sector where Saudi employees make up around 96.3 per cent of the overall workforce, according to official figures.

    The situation is lagging behind in the Saudi private sector, where foreigners still constitute the vast majority of labour despite the fast-paced Saudisation efforts made in recent years.

    Foreigners account for about 80 per cent of the total employees in the kingdom’s private sector, according to official statistics.

    Saudis employed by the private sector stood at 1.7 million out of a total of 9.5 million workers in this sector in the first quarter of last year, the Saudi National Labour Observatory said. Foreigners were estimated at 7.8 million employees in that period.

    Work in domestic service and construction are still foreigners’ preserve in Saudi Arabia where many citizens see such jobs as menial. However, young Saudis have increasingly shown interest in commercial jobs and other professions.

    Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, an ambitious development scheme championed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, envisages reducing unemployment rates, now standing at 11 per cent, down to 7 per cent by 2030.

    Foreigners make up about 10.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 34.8 million.”

  27. Pakistan to get 17.2m doses from Covax programme

    “The Covax programme to ensure equitable worldwide access to Covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday published its first distribution list, with enough doses for countries to immunise more than three percent of their populations by mid-2021.

    The distribution plan comes with lower-income countries falling behind in the vaccination race — a problem Covax was set up to address.

    It broke down how the programme’s initial 337.2 million doses will be distributed, with first deliveries expected in late February.

    Some 145 countries are set to receive enough doses to immunise 3.3 percent of their collective population by mid-2021, Covax said.

    A statement said the initial distribution was in line with a target “to protect the most vulnerable groups such as health care workers” in the first half of the year.

    “Soon we’ll be able to start delivering life-saving vaccines globally — an outcome we know is essential if we’re to have any chance of being able to beat this pandemic,” Gavi chief executive Seth Berkeley told a news conference.

    Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

    Countries will receive doses in proportion to population size, with the most going to India (97.2 million), Pakistan (17.2 million), Nigeria (16 million), Indonesia (13.7 million), Bangladesh (12.8 million) and Brazil (10.6 million).

    Other big recipients are Ethiopia (8.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (6.9 million), Mexico (6.5 million), the Philippines (5.6 million) and Egypt (5.1 million).

    WHO immunisation programme coordinator Ann Lindstrand said priority was given to countries that had not started vaccinating, while health worker deaths in January were also factored in.

    For the 92 lower- and lower-middle income economies involved in Covax, funding is covered through donations, while for richer countries, buying into bulk purchases operates like a back-up insurance policy for their own vaccination programmes.

    The first wave distribution list includes 240 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, licensed to the Serum Institute of India; 96 million advance-purchased AstraZeneca-Oxford doses; and 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

    Both vaccines require two injected doses.

    Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine to have received emergency use approval from the WHO. Evaluation is under way for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

    Berkeley said though they were “impatient… to get these doses out, there are conditions that must be in place”.

    The Pfizer-BioNTech doses — requiring special ultra-cold storage — are destined for 18 countries by the end of March, with Colombia, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and Ukraine getting the most at 117,000 doses each.

    The other scheduled recipients are Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, El Salvador, Georgia, Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda and Tunisia.

    The first round list, including both vaccine types, is subject to change but should allow countries to plan ahead.

    Some wealthy self-financing countries were on the list, including South Korea (2.6 million doses), Canada (1.9 million) and New Zealand (250,000).

    Tuvalu is set to receive the smallest number of doses at 4,800, followed by Nauru and Monaco with 7,200 each.

    Around 190 countries are involved in Covax.

    Countries unlisted this time have either exercised their rights to opt-out, have not submitted vaccine requests, or have not yet been allocated doses.

    The United States under new President Joe Biden recently said it would be taking part in Covax.

    Covax aims to secure enough vaccines for at least the most vulnerable 20 percent in participating countries by the end of 2021.”

  28. Turkey becomes dominant force in eastern Mediterranean, says ex-Chancellor

    “Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stated in his latest book “Letzte Chance” (The Last Chance) that Turkey has become an “incontrovertible dominant force” in the eastern Mediterranean.

    “Europe should accept the fact that Turkey became a dominant force in the eastern Mediterranean. Whether they like this or not,” said the 77-year-old ex-chancellor in the book he wrote with Gregor Schöllgen, a history professor lecturing at the universities of New York, Oxford and London.

    Stressing the need for new world order, Schröder picked a special part for Turkey, China and Russia in his book.

    “A new world order, that we need, is a last chance for the West. Turkey, China and Russia are important actors in world politics. The West will lose if they act to these countries with the mentality of the Cold War,” Schröder noted.

    Reminding the history of the Turkey-EU relations, the former Chancellor highlighted the “mistakes of the Europeans.”

    “The contrast with Turkey and the West is the result of the European Union’s wrong politics. We Europeans, especially the Germans, saw this country [Turkey] and its citizens with a humiliating and pretentious manner,” he added.

    Schröder underlined that Germany was the only country in the EU that wanted Turkey as a member of the bloc.

    “Since the Ankara Agreement in 1963, no other country than Germany opened an EU membership perspective to Turkey. But except the last era of the [Social Democratic Party of Germany] SPD-Greens coalition, none of them were frank [to Turkey],” he said.

    According to Schröder, Europe’s “delaying tactics” for Turkey’s EU membership is inadmissible. “Asking Turkey to fulfill the conditions for the visa liberalization and delaying the important improvements at EU membership negotiations at the same means saying, ‘We do not want you.’”

    “If you [West] condemn Turkey for its presence and fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, then you should not pay Turkey to stop the migrants who come from warzones to enter Europe. This policy does not get on well with the West [which does not exist anymore] and its virtues, that it utters from time to time.”

    “Thinking that a new government that would come to power after [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, will review the country’s global politics and give up being a force in the eastern Mediterranean, is just ‘not knowing the chalk from cheese.’ Turkey will not do this.”

    Schröder, who was the chancellor of Germany between 1998 and 2005, remarks on the latest developments in Syria in his book.

    The war in Syria cannot be finished without Ankara’s and Moscow’s consents. Turkey has a key role in Syria, he said.

    “As the problems in Ukraine cannot be solved without Putin, it is hard to end the migration crisis without Erdo?an. The era of Turkish ministers and presidents standing in waiting rooms of Bonn or Berlin under humiliating circumstances is over,” he added.

    The Social Democrat also pointed to the former U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to “crackdown Turkey’s economy.”

    Erdo?an coldly met the threat, Schrider noted and listed the reasons.

    “Firstly U.S. army is dependent on the ?ncirlik and Kürecik bases. Secondly, Turkey has now a notable weapon industry. They produce and sell their own unmanned aerial vehicles. Ankara’s weapon industry and some countries’ dependence on these weapons make Turkey approach to its target of being a force in the eastern Mediterranean.”

    Schröder, a social democrat, is currently an advisor for Rothschild Investment Bank and the chairman of the German football club Hannover 96.”

  29. Details of Polish law protecting freedom of speech online

    “Per the proposed legislation, social media cannot remove posts or block the accounts of Polish users if their content does not break Polish law. Serious penalties will be issued to sites that break these rules.

    The new bill prepared by the Ministry of Justice is meant to protect the constitutional right to freedom of speech, as well as protect personal rights infringed upon by anonymous internet users.

    “Freedom of speech and freedom of debate are the essence of democracy. Their negation is censorship of expression, especially online, where the majority of political debate and worldview conflicts are being held. Social media users must have the assurance that their rights are being protected,” Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said while presenting the new laws.

    Much discussion was caused by the flagging and blocking of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media entries, as well as his eventual ban from social media at the end of his presidency. This new legislation of Poland’s almost precisely refers to the events associated with the blocking of Trump’s accounts.

    Freedom of Speech Council
    According to the proposed legislation, if an internet service bans an account or removes an entry, even though it does not break Polish law, a user will be able to file a complaint with the internet company that will have to be resolved within 48 hours. If it does not return the entry or maintains a ban, then the user may appeal to the Freedom of Speech Council, which will make a decision within seven days.

    If the Council considers the appeal justified, it may demand the immediate return of the removed content or account. The procedure will be conducted electronically to ensure swiftness and low costs.

    Depending on the Council’s decision, an appeal to a court of law will be possible. For not adhering to the verdicts of the Council or a court, the Council will have the right to impose an administrative fine on the social media site of between €11,100 and €11.1 million.

    In the new bill, it is emphasized that the Freedom of Speech Council is a public administration institution that oversees the adherence by internet services to the right of freedom of expression. The Council is comprised of a president whose rank is equal to a secretary of state, as well as four members chosen by parliament.

    The blind lawsuit
    Another goal of the legislation is to protect personal rights infringed upon by anonymous internet users. The law entails the introduction of a new instrument, the so-called blind lawsuit. This allows people to file a lawsuit concerning the protection of their personal rights without specifying the personal data of the defendant.

    All that is needed is the URL address of the post with the insulting content, as well as the date of publication and name of the defendant’s profile or user login.”

    • A Free Speech Council – to decide what is free speech
      A Hate Speech Council – to decide what is hate speech
      Blasphemy, soiled-virtue, and lies
      Speech will he monitored both sides

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