Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/8/2014

The United States Air Force carried out bombing attacks today against forces of the Islamic State in the Erbil and Sinjar regions of Iraq. Meanwhile, analysts say that ISIS is selling up to three million dollars’ worth of oil per day.

In other news, the World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak to be an international health emergency. The president of Nigeria has declared a state of emergency in his country for the same reason.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to Egghead, Fjordman, JP, LH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

USA
» Cheating in the US Military
» Hamas Tunnels Planned to Target Israeli Kindergartens. Oh by the Way, There Are Tunnels on the US Border Too.
» IRS Notches Legal Win Over Lost Tea Party Emails
» Is Thinking Now Obsolete? Thomas Sowell on Palestinian Civilian Casualties, Illegal Immigrants and the Minimum Wage
» Man Accused of Disrupting Ramadan at Bay Ridge Mosque
» Russian Strategic Bombers Conduct More Than 16 Incursions of U.S. Air Defense Zones
» Sovereign Citizens Seen as Top Terrorist Threat by US Law Enforcement
» Special Operations Commander to Head University of Texas
» Toddler Intruder at White House Alarms Secret Service
» Traffic Fatalities of Marijuana-Positive Drivers on Rise in Colorado
» Union of Medical Marijuana Patients Sues City
 
Canada
» Calgary — Politically Correct City of Swastikas and ‘Heil Hitler!’
 
Europe and the EU
» 900,000 Belgians Can’t Afford a Visit to the Doctor’s
» Belgium: Doel’s Nuclear Power Plant Sabotaged?
» Finland: Helsinki Airport Tracks You to Sell More, Reduce Jams
» Israeli Shopper in the Netherlands Horrified When Ralph Lauren Clerk Says Bnei Brak Not in Israel
» Israeli Columnist in London Probes Why UK is Fascinated With Hamas as Underdog, Its One-Sided Media and ‘Death to All Juice’
» Returning Jihadists Pose a Threat to Germany
» Sweden: Ex-French President’s Son in Riksdag Bid
» Sweden Funds Massive Boost in Jewish Security
» Sweden: Listen to the World’s First 3D-Printed Saxophone
» Switzerland Will Not Blindly Follow EU Sanctions Against Russia — Economy Minister
» The Black Flag of ISIS is Flying in London
» Tony Blair Will Advise on Controversial Gas Pipeline From Azerbaijan to Italy
» UK: ‘ISIS Flag’ Flying on London Council Estate, Breitbart London Investigates
» UK: ‘Jihadist’ Flag Flown in East London
» UK: Community “Feel Hopeless” Over Plight of Palestinians in Gaza
» UK: Nun Removes ‘Jihadi’ Flag From Gates of Tower Hamlets Housing Estate
» UK: North West Infidels’ Anti-Mosque Protest ‘Should Not Have Been Allowed in Residential Area’, Says Councillor
» UK: The Black Flag of ISIS is Flying in London
» UK: The Guardian View on Gaza and the Rise of Anti-Semitism
» UKIP Claim Castle by-Election Victory
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Facebook Friends Without Benefits: The Social Cost of Hamas’s War Against Israel
» Gaza Strip Conflict: Time to Face the Ugly Truth — The UN Encourages Terrorism
» Gaza Conflict: Violence Continues as White House Condemns Renewed Rocket Fire
» Stories From the Battlefield: Hamas Tunnels Used to Target Israel’s Kindergartens
» The West is Ignoring the Practitioners of ‘Disproportionate’ Violence
 
Middle East
» 13 Rebels Killed in Northern Syria
» Britain Considers Air Strikes to Avert Genocide in Iraq
» Iraq: Political Unity is Seen as Only Force That Can Halt Accelerating ISIS Offensive
» Iraq: Refugee Fleeing ISIS Massacre of Yazidis Laments World’s Focus on Gaza — ‘Save Gaza, Save Gaza’
» ISIS Makes up to $3 Million a Day Selling Oil, Say Analysts
» Saudis Calls in Pakistani Troops for Protection Against ISIS
» Shocking Moment British Jihadi Fighting With ISIS in Syria and Iraq Stands in Front of Beheaded Man and Boasts ‘It’s What People Want to See’
» The End of Days for Iraq’s Christians
» Turkey: Outcry as Erdogan Tells Female Reporter to ‘Know Your Place’
» U.S. Begins Strikes in Iraq, Pentagon Says
» US Air Strikes on Iraq Extremists
» US Military Launches Airstrikes on Terror Targets in Iraq
 
Russia
» 15 Ukrainian Troops Killed in Latest Confrontation With Insurgents
» Obama on Russia: Russia Doesn’t Make Anything.
» Two Young Spaniards Travel to Ukraine to Fight Alongside Pro-Russian Militia
» Ukraine’s Donetsk Becomes Ghost Town as National Forces Shell Separatists
» Ukraine: Three Civilians Killed and 10 Injured in Overnight Shelling of Donetsk
» Ukrainians Losing Faith in Kiev Leadership: More Than 700,000 Fled to Russia
» US Spy Plane Incident Raises More Questions Over MH17 Crash
 
South Asia
» Indonesian Family Finds Daughter Swept Away in 2004 Tsunami
» Indonesia Arrests ISIS Followers
» Malaysia Airlines Set for ‘Complete Overhaul’
» Roadside Bomb Claims 4 Lives, Afghan Forces Arrest 5 Taliban
» The U.S. Has Supplied 747,000 Weapons to Afghanistan. It Might Have a Difficult Time Figuring Out Where Some Ended Up.
 
Far East
» China’s July Trade Surplus Rockets to Record $47.3 Bln, Govt Data Shows
» WTO Confirms China Rare Earth Trade Limits Break Rules
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ebola is a ‘Global Emergency’ As Bodies Litter Streets
» Ebola — Hot Water and Salt Not a Cure, Nigeria Cautions Citizens
» Keita — ‘Mali Will Never be a Caliphate’
» Nigeria’s President Declares State of Emergency as Ebola Spreads Across the African Nation
» Nigeria Declares State of Emergency Over Ebola
» Nigeria: Boko Haram — Untold Tales of Death, Tears in Displaced Persons Camps
 
Immigration
» Greece: Samos Detention Center Overcrowded
» Greece: Athens Deporting Far More Irregular Immigrants
» Japan: Immigration Bureau’s New ‘Intelligence Center’ To Gather Data on Foreigners to Prevent Illegal Immigration and Terrorism
» Will Illegal Immigrant Kids Stay or be Sent Home? Depends if They Have a Lawyer
 
Culture Wars
» Czechia: Prague Pride Builds Bridges
» Official Quits Stamp Board, Accuses Postal Service of ‘Prostituting’ Program After Harry Potter Decision
 
General
» How Did Supermassive Black Holes Get So Big So Fast?
 

Cheating in the US Military

2 August 2014: [This article discusses the news that a former Montana Adjutant General, and now Senator, John Walsh committed plagiarism in his 14 page Army War College “thesis”. At the time of the plagiarism Walsh was holding the rank of colonel. He blames his failings on post traumatic stress disorder (what they called shell shock back in WWI). It also mentions that 92 nuclear missile launch officers in the Airforce cheated in proficiency tests.]

Alas, the real problem here isn’t personal integrity so much as national security institutions at risk. … Walsh raise[s] questions about the standards in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, the erosion of national military values like “duty, honor, and country.”

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Hamas Tunnels Planned to Target Israeli Kindergartens. Oh by the Way, There Are Tunnels on the US Border Too.

Who here in the United States would allow Mexican drug cartels to dig tunnels into the United States and attack border cities and schools? Oops, the tunnels already exist here. (Hm, I wonder where they got that idea?)

The system of tunnels [in Gaza and Israel] had to cost millions of dollars and the manpower required isn’t trivial, nor is the construction design. One just has to believe this is financed by Qatar and others, and militarily supported by Iran — to whom we are releasing more millions of dollars as sanctions are eased.

But how could John Kerry, knowing this battlefield intelligence, promise to give Hamas $47 million American taxpayer dollars? I can surely surmise that if Hamas is not completely destroyed, those funds will go to rebuilding these tunnels.

As previously reported here, this sophistication and know-how is being copied right now by Mexico-based Hezbollah agents along the southern US border.

[Egghead: Look up Beslan School Hostage Crisis on Wikipedia.]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

IRS Notches Legal Win Over Lost Tea Party Emails

True the Vote tried during a court hearing last month to argue that the loss of emails was “spoliation” and that it “will face irreparable injury to the fair adjudication of its claims — and consequently, its constitutional rights — if critical electronic information is not recovered and preserved.”

Spoliation is the purposeful destruction of evidence or failure to record information to hide something. The IRS denies that it has destroyed any evidence, blaming the lost emails on an accidental computer crash.

The judge essentially said there was no reason to suggest the IRS intentionally destroyed evidence: “Without a finding that spoliation previously occurred, there is little basis to conclude that the defendants will ‘continue’ spoliating potential evidence.”

Walton also said although it is in the public’s interest to find Lerner’s email, it’s not in the public’s interest to “allow … a third party, as requested by the plaintiff, to inspect IRS computers” because it would “necessarily result in the disclosure of tax returns and return information to that third party.”

“The searches would result in the disclosure of tax return and return information of individuals and entities that are not parties to this lawsuit in violation of” tax privacy law, he said.

He also noted that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is already investigating the matter using forensic experts — a probe that will simultaneously protect confidential taxpayer information.

[Egghead: But, ACORN workers hired as Obamacare Navigators can access your most intimate health details….]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

Is Thinking Now Obsolete? Thomas Sowell on Palestinian Civilian Casualties, Illegal Immigrants and the Minimum Wage

August 2014: [G]rowing evidence suggests that we are living in a post-thinking era. …

One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.

Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces? …

Has any other country, in any other war, been expected to keep the enemy’s civilian casualties no higher than its own civilian casualties? The idea that Israel should do so did not originate among the masses but among the educated intelligentsia.

In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.

It is much the same story in our domestic controversies. We have gotten so intimidated by political correctness that our major media outlets dare not call people who immigrate to this country illegally “illegal immigrants.”

Geraldo Rivera has denounced the Drudge Report for carrying news stories that show some of the negative consequences and dangers [such as spreading disease] from allowing vast numbers of youngsters to enter the country illegally and be spread across the country by the Obama administration. …

The attack against Matt Drudge has been in the classic tradition of demagogues. It turns questions of fact into questions of motive. Geraldo accuses Drudge of trying to start a “civil war.”

Back when masses of immigrants from Europe were entering this country, those with dangerous diseases were turned back from Ellis Island. Nobody thought they had a legal or a moral “right” to be in America or that it was mean or racist not to want our children to catch their diseases.

Even on the less contentious issue of minimum wage laws, there are the same unthinking reactions.

Although liberals are usually gung ho for increasing the minimum wage, there was a sympathetic front-page story in the July 29 San Francisco Chronicle about the plight of a local nonprofit organization that will not be able to serve as many low-income minority youths if it has to pay a higher minimum wage. They are seeking some kind of exemption.

Does it not occur to these people that the very same thing happens when a minimum wage increase applies to profit-based employers? They, too, tend to hire fewer inexperienced young people when there is a minimum wage law.

This is not breaking news. This is what has been happening for generations …

One of the few countries without a minimum wage law is Switzerland, where the unemployment rate has been consistently less than 4 percent for years. Back in 2003, The Economist magazine reported that “Switzerland’s unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9 percent in February.” The most recent issue shows the Swiss unemployment rate back to a more normal 3.2 percent.

Does anyone think that having minimum wage laws and high youth unemployment is better? In fact, does anyone think at all these days?

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Man Accused of Disrupting Ramadan at Bay Ridge Mosque

A Williamsburg man allegedly disrupted Ramadan for Muslim worshipers in Bay Ridge, after he repeatedly drove by their mosque blasting Israeli music, law enforcement sources said Friday.

The 20-year-old Chaim Weiss decorated his 2013 Honda with a handful of Israeli flags and pumped up the music as worshipers were inside a mosque at 68th Street and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge at 4 a.m. July 20, a criminal court document states…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Russian Strategic Bombers Conduct More Than 16 Incursions of U.S. Air Defense Zones

Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted at least 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days, an unusually sharp increase in aerial penetrations, according to U.S. defense officials.

The numerous flight encounters by Tu-95 Russian Bear H bombers prompted the scrambling of U.S. jet fighters on several occasions, and come amid heightened U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine.

Also, during one bomber incursion near Alaska, a Russian intelligence-gathering jet was detected along with the bombers.

[Egghead: It was reported back that NO intelligence was found. Snort!]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

Sovereign Citizens Seen as Top Terrorist Threat by US Law Enforcement

4 August 2014: The sovereign citizen movement is considered the top threat for domestic terrorism, according to a survey of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Islamist extremists and militia/patriot groups round out the top three threats to communities in the United States considered most serious by 364 officers of 175 state, local, and tribal law enforcement entities, according to a survey conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

The survey — “Understanding Law Enforcement Intelligence Processes” — found that “52 percent of respondents agreed and 34 percent strongly agreed that sovereign citizens were a serious terrorist threat” as opposed to 39 percent of respondents who agreed and 28 percent who strongly agreed that Islamic extremists were the most serious threat…

As for the generalized term, “sovereign citizen movement,” the researchers say that while it is often associated with right-wing groups, the ideology of sovereign citizens does not always fit with the association.

“Although most organizations group Sovereign Citizens with other right wing groups, they are quite unique. Sovereigns do not specifically share the ‘supremacist’ views of the Klan, etc. Their focus is not on individuals (e.g., minorities, Jews, etc.) rather their focus is on government dysfunction and abuse of authority. Their anti-government ideology is arguably more akin to left wing anarchists than right wing Klansmen.”

The survey found that cyberterrorism is perceived by officers as the most likely terrorism-related crime. Conventional Explosive Devices was considered second most-likely…

In addition, the officers said that the most valuable open-source materials they use to gather information are the Internet, human intelligence sources, and the media.

START was funded with an initial $12 million grant from the US Department of Homeland Security in 2005. The grant was renewed in 2008. It is supported by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and receives additional funding from various federal agencies, private foundations, and universities.

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Special Operations Commander to Head University of Texas

7 August 2014: The governing board of the University of Texas educational system last week unanimously selected Admiral William H. McRaven as its next chancellor. McRaven currently heads the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the military apparatus in charge of various elite commando units, and comprising some 60,000 personnel. He has zero experience in academic management. His selection as head of a prominent state university system represents a deepening integration of the US military brass into academia and its increasing grip on American public life in general.

McRaven served in the elite Navy SEAL force, earning notoriety for supervising the 2011 mission where special forces operatives illegally entered Pakistan and killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The special forces units under McRaven’s command are some of the deadliest military units on the planet, and some of the most secretive…

The University of Texas system encompasses nine university campuses and six hospital-related campuses. UT employs 90,000 workers and hosts a student body of 215,000. Its annual budget exceeds $14 billion. The UT system is governed by a board of regents, whose members are appointed by the state governor…

That an intellectual nonentity — McRaven’s closest possible claim to academic experience is authoring a book on commando tactics — has been selected to head one of the largest and most prestigious university systems in the world has political significance. Putting a man with a brutal background in the US dirty war machine in charge of a network of institutions of higher learning sends a definite signal to the UT academic community and student body: it is time to take orders, not talk back…

McRaven’s selection to head the UT system flows from the … fundamental needs and fears of the ruling class.

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Toddler Intruder at White House Alarms Secret Service

A toddler squeezed through the White House gates on Thursday evening, causing a brief security lockdown on Pennsylvania Avenue and amusing White House reporters awaiting late-breaking news on Iraq…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Traffic Fatalities of Marijuana-Positive Drivers on Rise in Colorado

Let’s look at the relevant data, and let the reader draw his own conclusion. A published academic peer-reviewed study and another thorough study set to be released next Monday show:

  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado since 2009
  • An increase in marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Colorado compared to non-”medical marijuana” states since 2009
  • Alcohol-related fatalities remained the same

The 2013 data from Colorado has not even been submitted to FARS, and will not be until late December 2014. The 2013 data is critical since it is the only data that reflects the impact of recreational legalization, since Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012.

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

Union of Medical Marijuana Patients Sues City

The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients has filed a suit about the way that the city of San Diego has authorized medical marijuana co-ops in the city by restricting the businesses to certain areas. The current set up allegedly does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

According to the suit, which names the Coastal Commission and the city of San Diego, the way the co-ops are zoned will cause patients to drive to get their meds, causing pollution and traffic..

The UMMP also alleges that some patients will now be forced to grow their own marijuana indoors, a tactic that will waste energy and contribute to global warming.

[Egghead: I do NOT want dopeheads driving around the city either, but then I would make the dope illegal.]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

Calgary — Politically Correct City of Swastikas and ‘Heil Hitler!’

4 August 2014: Last Friday night, swastikas, most of them backwards, were painted on at least five houses in Calgary SE. And, as in the case of the July 18 pro-Palestinian demonstration where the cops failed to show up while a family of pro-Israel demonstrators were punched, kicked, knocked to the ground and had their Israeli flags stolen, the police have once again downplayed what happened. … After the swastikas were discovered, another high-ranking Calgary police officer downplayed the incidents to the media… “Obviously, the swastika image has a number of different connotations so that will have to be investigated.”

In a further bow to political correctness, the inspector added there is no indication the painting of swastikas on at least five Calgary homes had anything to do with the recent Middle East conflict. …

The police will attempt to distract blame away from Muslims and onto neo-Nazis although one would hope that admirers of Hitler and the Nazi party would have enough pride in their beliefs to know not to draw a swastika backwards.

As bad as the police are, the Calgary media was even worse. … Erika Stark wrote an article in the Calgary Herald about the large pro-Israel rally held last week. The rally was held to protest the inaction of the police in the July 18 demonstration and the fact Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, refused to specifically condemn the beating of pro-Israel supporters, saying only “We must condemn all violence.”

There were a small number of pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrating against Israel. Of those people, Stark wrote one Palestinian supporter yelled, “Stop killing our kids. Give us food, give us water, give us shelter. Put religion and politics to the side. Kids are dying. That’s the main thing why we’re here.”

What Stark refused to put in her article and what was apparent in recordings of the Palestinians that appear on the Internet is that some of the pro-Hamas supporters were yelling “Heil Hitler!”

To right-thinking people and journalists who have even minimum reporting skills, yelling “Heil Hitler!” was the most significant factor in all the recent events in Calgary. These shouts definitively take what was said out of the realm of criticism of Israel’s war with Hamas and into unabashed anti-Semitism. And it’s not as if Stark didn’t hear it. …

[As one commentator wrote in response to this article: “One minute they’re calling the Jews Nazis (try to understand that logic), then they’re hailing Hitler. They make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Are they stupid or just plain evil?”]

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

900,000 Belgians Can’t Afford a Visit to the Doctor’s

Large-scale European research has revealed that almost 9 percent of the Belgians are postponing a visit to the doctor’s due to financial reasons. Belgium is not doing too well in this respect — the European study puts our country on number 20 of a list of 31 countries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Belgium: Doel’s Nuclear Power Plant Sabotaged?

The nuclear reactor Doel 4, near Antwerp, has probably been sabotaged. The reactor automatically came to a standstill on Tuesday, due to an oil leak. The first assumption was that this was due to a technical failure, but now it turns out the incident was the result of human intervention.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Finland: Helsinki Airport Tracks You to Sell More, Reduce Jams

29 July 2014: Helsinki’s airport will be the first in the world to track passengers to within feet. The plan is being hailed as a technological breakthrough — and is drawing scrutiny from privacy advocates.

Sensors will monitor all mobile phones with Wi-Fi access turned on from parking lot to takeoff, helping to observe crowding and prevent bottlenecks at the two-terminal airport which 15 million fliers pass through a year. Passengers opting in through an application will also receive offers from shops and restaurants, as well as gate and flight information.

While the technology has clear benefits, companies must tread carefully to adopt it as such systems can be perceived as enabling the monitoring of unwary people. …

“The fact that my movements are tracked is a scarier thought than someone knowing which websites I visit,” Antti Tikkanen, director of security response at software maker F-Secure Oyj (FSC1V), said in an phone interview. “I have a hard time believing location tracking is only left at statistics when the same technology makes so many other things possible.” …

The Helsinki airport operator… won’t see any personal information about the user or the device as all data stays in an aggregated form … The software also discards the unique identifiers of devices after pulling out the necessary data… .

About 150 white boxes the size of a Web router are set up around the airport to collect the unique identifier number called the MAC address from devices searching for Wi-Fi networks. They then scramble the information and send it onward to servers. …

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Israeli Shopper in the Netherlands Horrified When Ralph Lauren Clerk Says Bnei Brak Not in Israel

An Israeli shopper in the Netherlands was horrified when a clerk at the Ralph Lauren Factory Store wrote up his duty free slip and listed his address, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, as being in “Palestinian Territory.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Israeli Columnist in London Probes Why UK is Fascinated With Hamas as Underdog, Its One-Sided Media and ‘Death to All Juice’

By Joshua Levitt

Israeli columnist Dror Feuer jumped at the chance for a long-weekend in London as a break from war in Israel last week, but returned with astute observations about British adoration of Hamas as the underdog, a “one-sided media” that doesn’t even pretend to show the other side, and stories of Jews enduring tongue-in-cheek taunts, including an internet meme of ‘Death to All Juice.’…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Returning Jihadists Pose a Threat to Germany

A Salafist from Saxony, now based in Syria, has called for attacks on Germany. Authorities are alarmed as more and more supporters of the jihadist “Islamic State” plan their return to Europe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Ex-French President’s Son in Riksdag Bid

A 25-year-old man running for a seat in Swedish parliament revealed on Friday that he’s the son of former French president François Mitterrand. Hravn Forsne, 25, is aiming for a seat in Swedish parliament as part of the centre-right Moderate party.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden Funds Massive Boost in Jewish Security

In the face of rising religious tensions and increasing anti-Semitism, the Swedish government has approved a donation of two million kronor for increasing security for Jewish congregations.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Listen to the World’s First 3D-Printed Saxophone

3D printing is ready to jam thanks to this saxophone created by Olaf Diegel, a professor at Sweden’s Lund University. This 3D-printed prototype is made with more than 41 parts and weighs less than 25 percent as much as a traditional saxophone.

Diegel—who has already created multiple 3D printed instruments, including a guitar—says that his follow-up will be even better because 3D printing allows for shapes and structures that are not possible with conventional engineering. 3D printing could allow for instruments customized to individual players, he says.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Switzerland Will Not Blindly Follow EU Sanctions Against Russia — Economy Minister

4 August 2014: For Switzerland to copy and paste EU sanctions against Moscow is unwise, and would jeopardize the country’s role as a mediator, said Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

The Swiss government has no plans to follow in the EU’s footsteps and impose sanctions against Russia, Schneider-Ammann said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag.

Schneider-Ammann said that choosing a side would undermine the country’s neutrality in the matter.

“This role [as mediator] will be weakened, if we duplicate EU sanctions,” Schneider-Ammann said, adding that Switzerland holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which is vitally important for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Another main concern for Switzerland, home to many Russian nationals, is any economic blowback from sanctions. …

Unlike its European neighbors who are dependent on Russia for natural gas, Switzerland is financially tied to Russia. Switzerland is home to an estimated $15.2 billion in Russian assets as of 2012, and oil exchanges in Geneva account for 75 percent of Russian crude exports, Reuters reports. Many Russians live in the country. …

However, many European countries have been reluctant to target entire sectors of the Russian economy, understanding that it could hurt the EU since Russia is among Europe’s biggest trading partners.

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

The Black Flag of ISIS is Flying in London

Douglas Murray

There is a phrase used of, and by, jihadists: ‘First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.’ Well there’s a fine example of this on display at the moment in East London. Even the Guardian has picked up on it.

At the entrance to a council estate near Canary Wharf, amid the banners of the hilariously misnamed ‘Stop the War coalition’ (‘End the Siege on Gaza’) the Black flag of Jihad is flying. Yes, that’s right, at a major council estate in the East End of London the black flag of ISIS is flying.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Tony Blair Will Advise on Controversial Gas Pipeline From Azerbaijan to Italy

2 August 2014: News that Britain’s former prime minister is to advise the consortium behind the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the final leg of a 2,000-mile gas pipeline that will run from Azerbaijan across much of central eastern Europe, has sparked uproar among people living close to its ultimate destination in the heel of southern Italy. …

[E]nvironmentalists claim that Puglia, which boasts two Unesco world heritage sites, will still suffer as a result of the pipeline’s rollout. There are fears — which are rejected by the consortium — that the pipeline will contaminate fresh water supplies. … while the habitat of the local Mediterranean monk seals — one of the most endangered mammals in the world — will be threatened.

But TAP says it will not work on the beach in the summer months and that construction work will cease during the seals’ mating season. It has also pledged to replant the olive groves belonging to some 150 families in the region. But because some of the trees are up to 2,000 years old, the olive-growers fear the groves will not survive replanting.

“The plan to build such a pipeline in one of the most pristine areas of the Mediterranean is absurd,” said Elena Gerebizza from Re:common — an Italian organisation opposing the pipeline. “Tony Blair is standing against communities that want to protect their land, sea, natural resources, and leave a future to their children.”

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

UK: ‘ISIS Flag’ Flying on London Council Estate, Breitbart London Investigates

by Raheem Kassam and Andre Walker

TOWER HAMLETS, London, UK — Yesterday the Guardian reported that the black flag most commonly associated with terrorist organisation ISIS, or the Islamic State, was flying outside an East London council estate. Rajeev Syal reported on the issue from the block of government housing in one of London’s most highly Muslim-populated areas…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: ‘Jihadist’ Flag Flown in East London

Flag flown outside housing estate on Poplar High Street

A black flag with white Arabic writing, similar to those flown by jihadist groups, was flying at the entrance of an east London housing state near Canary Wharf.

In a highly provocative gesture, the emblem was planted on top of the gates of the Will Crooks estate on Poplar High Street, and is surrounded by flags of Palestine and slogans…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Community “Feel Hopeless” Over Plight of Palestinians in Gaza

Senior mosque figures in Waltham Forest have written to Number 10 calling on the government to condemn Israeli attacks in Gaza.

The Waltham Forest Council of Mosques (WFCOM), which represents nine of the largest mosques in the borough, sent the letter to Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg following concerns raised in the community.

The two-page letter outlines these concerns over the thousands of Palestinian deaths and the government’s perceived “encouragement” of Israel by emphasising the country’s right to defend itself…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Nun Removes ‘Jihadi’ Flag From Gates of Tower Hamlets Housing Estate

A nun has taken down a black flag similar to those flown by jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria after it was spotted flying at the gates of an east London housing estate.

The controversial flag sparked outrage after it was pictured flying above the Will Crooks estate in Tower Hamlets, alongside a number of Palestinian flags and slogans in support of Gaza.

But when council officers went to the site, in Poplar High Street, they were told the flag had been removed by Sister Christine Frost, a Roman Catholic nun who runs a charity supporting vulnerable residents in the area…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: North West Infidels’ Anti-Mosque Protest ‘Should Not Have Been Allowed in Residential Area’, Says Councillor

THE North West Infidels’ anti-mosque protest should not have been allowed in a residential area, a councillor claims.

Cllr Guy Harkin said he and his Crompton ward colleagues were “profoundly unhappy” that protesters from outside of Bolton were bussed in by coaches to the area for the demonstration on Saturday.

But police said they offered other locations to protesters — but they were adamant that they would protest close to the mosque…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: The Black Flag of ISIS is Flying in London

by Douglas Murray

There is a phrase used of, and by, jihadists: ‘First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.’ Well there’s a fine example of this on display at the moment in East London. Even the Guardian has picked up on it…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UK: The Guardian View on Gaza and the Rise of Anti-Semitism

Attacks on synagogues, Jewish shops and individuals — even children — are rising. They are inexcusable

The board of London’s Tricycle Theatre delivered an ultimatum to the organisers of the UK Jewish Film Festival, which it has hosted for the last eight years: either cut your ties with the Israeli embassy, which gives a £1,400 subsidy to the festival, or find another venue.

UK Jewish Film refused that instruction, along with the Tricycle’s offer to make up the financial shortfall, and is now looking for a new home. No doubt the Tricycle believed it was taking an admirably principled stand on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which flared anew after the truce that had held for nearly 72 hours broke down. But the theatre has made a bad error of judgment…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

UKIP Claim Castle by-Election Victory

A BY-election triggered after a Lib Dem councillor was dismissed for non-attendance has been won by UKIP (Friday, August 8).

Former mayor Charles James won by a majority of 83 votes from the Conservatives, announced at the count at Palatine Park Football Centre at around 11pm yesterday…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Facebook Friends Without Benefits: The Social Cost of Hamas’s War Against Israel

Bat-sheva Hass, a new immigrant from Holland who lives in Jerusalem, posted a short clip of herself on Facebook ducking at a bus stop while a siren rips through the air. Naturally, the comments she received — many of which were from friends back in the Netherlands — were mostly concerned with her wellbeing…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Gaza Strip Conflict: Time to Face the Ugly Truth — The UN Encourages Terrorism

by Anne Bayefsky

As the terrorist organization Hamas breaks yet another ceasefire, it operates with the firm belief that it will be protected on the international stage. That’s because the modern United Nations has become an instrument of war, just seven decades after it was founded “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Gaza Conflict: Violence Continues as White House Condemns Renewed Rocket Fire

Despite hopes of continued peace in the region, rockets continued to be fired by both sides

Violence between Israel and Hamas erupted again on Friday after the collapse of efforts to renew a 72-hour ceasefire.

A barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel was met with heavy air, naval and artillery strikes, causing thousands of people in the besieged coastal enclave to flee their homes again…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Stories From the Battlefield: Hamas Tunnels Used to Target Israel’s Kindergartens

Unbelievably, Kerry actually proposed in his latest “cease-fire proposal” — none of which have been honored by Hamas so far — that Israel refrains from degrading remaining attack tunnels. This mind-boggling concept would necessarily be rejected by any sane government, of any country.

Israeli security sources, citing information acquired in interrogations of captured brigands, described a scenario under which hundreds of heavily armed Hamas fighters would have spilled out into Israel in the dead of night and within 10 minutes been positioned to infiltrate essentially all Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Waiting then in hiding until schools and kindergartens were occupied, the terrorists would then attempt to kill the children first, and then kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible. The plot was set to take place during Jewish New Year, on September 24.

Israeli military officials reported that the tunnels are stocked with tranquilizers, handcuffs, syringes, ropes and other materials used for subduing abductees, civilians and soldiers. The tunnels also had fantastic quantities of explosives and additional military materiel meant to be used in the up-coming mega attack. Much of these explosives had already been placed underneath Israeli kindergartens.

[Egghead: Look up Beslan School Hostage Crisis on Wikipedia.]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

The West is Ignoring the Practitioners of ‘Disproportionate’ Violence

by Charles Moore

It’s Hamas and Isis who are willingly sacrificing the lives of men, women and children — not Israel

‘Disproportionate” is the key word deployed against Israel over Gaza. Israel is criticised because so few Israelis have died compared with the number of Palestinians. Israel is held more morally culpable because its Iron Dome anti-rocket defence system actually works. Would it be better if hundreds of Israelis had died?

It is true — and terrible — that Israel has killed many Palestinian civilians. But why has this happened? Israeli carelessness — or callousness — might not be the only factor. You might think that if a militarily inferior force (Hamas) fires rockets at its powerful neighbour (Israel), and digs tunnels so that its fighters can pop out and murder or kidnap that neighbour’s citizens, it is asking for trouble. Being a democracy, Israel won’t stand idly by when its demos — its people — are attacked…

Hamas is a child of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood are huge disseminators of the poisonous global message of which hatred of Israel is a lead-indicator. At present, Sir John Jenkins, the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is conducting a government inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood, across the globe and in Britain. It is expected to report next month. It is not expected to report all quiet on the Western front.

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

13 Rebels Killed in Northern Syria

DAMASCUS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — At least 13 rebels were killed on Friday when the Syrian troops pounded their positions in the country’s northern region of Jisr al-Shughur, according to the state news agency SANA.

The Syrian army forces targeted “terrorists’“ positions near the town of Tal al-Dahab in the mountainous region of Jist al- Shughur in Idlib province, said SANA, adding that some of the killed militants were foreigners…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Britain Considers Air Strikes to Avert Genocide in Iraq

UK could join America in launching military strikes against Islamist extremists in Iraq should the situation descend into genocide

Britain could join America in launching military strikes against Islamist extremists in Iraq should the situation descend into genocide, government sources said.

US forces began raids against fighters in northern Iraq on Friday after Barack Obama pledged to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

Two F/A18 Hornets from an aircraft carrier in the Gulf dropped laser-guided 500lb bombs on a mobile artillery piece used by the jihadists. The attacks were announced by Mr Obama, who said “America is coming to help” the thousands of Christian children at risk of genocide from Islamist jihadists…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Iraq: Political Unity is Seen as Only Force That Can Halt Accelerating ISIS Offensive

Many believe the political vacuum among the Sunni communities in Syria and Iraq needs to be addressed in order to defeat Isis

The spread of the Islamic State’s dominance across the map of the Syria and Iraq has come at such an explosive speed, obliterating the barriers put in its way, that it has spread panic from Washington to Iran…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Iraq: Refugee Fleeing ISIS Massacre of Yazidis Laments World’s Focus on Gaza — ‘Save Gaza, Save Gaza’

New Yorker writer George Packer returned to Karim, the subject of a recent feature, to learn his frustration that while ISIS gets closer to a true genocide of the ancient Yazidi people, the world ignores his pleas for help because of the misplaced saturation reporting on Gaza…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS Makes up to $3 Million a Day Selling Oil, Say Analysts

2 August 2014: For two weeks, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad have been battling for control of the Shaar gas field, one of Syria’s largest, near the landmark city of Palmyra. On July 19, it was reported that the Sunni militant group had killed 270 regime fighters, taking control of the field in what was reportedly one of the conflict’s deadliest 48-hour periods to date.

As ISIS steams further into Syria, analysts say a significant portion of its financial resources come from the crude oil it sells on the black market; accordingly, oil fields have become prime targets in the fight. So do gas fields like Shaar, where disruption of lines lead to electricity shortages and power cuts in regime-controlled areas as far as Damascus. …

Officials from the Iraqi oil industry have said that ISIS reaps $1 million per day in Iraq in oil profits and that if they get the Syrian fields in [areas where they’re advancing], the total would be $100 million per month for both Iraq and Syria combined. They sell it for $30 a barrel because it’s a black market. It’s not pegged to international standards for oil prices, which are over $100 a barrel. The oil is bought through Turkey from Syria, and it’s sold to black market traders who function throughout the Levant. …

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Saudis Calls in Pakistani Troops for Protection Against ISIS

4 August 2014: As ISIS members say they want to ‘sack the holy city’, Riyadh calls in military assistance from its close allies to shore up the porous 500-mile border.

Saudi Arabia has deployed thousands of troops from Egypt and Pakistan along its frontier with Iraq, amid fears of invasion by the al-Qaeda splinter group that has declared a radical Islamic state across the border.

Panicked by the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Riyadh has taken the drastic step of calling in military assistance from its close allies to shore up the porous 500-mile border, Gulf security sources said.

Saudi Arabia spent an estimated £35 billion on defence last year, leapfrogging Britain as the world’s fourth-largest military spender. This massive outlay highlights Riyadh’s unease about whether its defences would hold if the jihadists launched a direct attack. …

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Shocking Moment British Jihadi Fighting With ISIS in Syria and Iraq Stands in Front of Beheaded Man and Boasts ‘It’s What People Want to See’

A British ISIS fighter poses gleefully in front of a decapitated soldier strung up and murdered in Syria.

Abu Abdullah Al-Habashi, 20, who fled the UK for the Middle East nine months ago, has ‘no sympathy’ for the executed man and said ‘people love to see heads on spikes’.

The Muslim convert is among the hundreds of people who have fled to UK to fight in ISIS and says ‘there is no going back’…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

The End of Days for Iraq’s Christians

In the lands of the Old Testament, an endangered religious minority is being wiped out by the brutal Islamic State.

“It is no longer possible for Christians to live in Iraq,” Rania says.

“All of Iraq’s Christian are trying to get out of the country,” she said. “The only possibility is to go somewhere else and build up something new.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Turkey: Outcry as Erdogan Tells Female Reporter to ‘Know Your Place’

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced new questions on Friday over his attitude to the media and women after he branded a prominent female journalist a “shameless woman” and told her “to know your place.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

U.S. Begins Strikes in Iraq, Pentagon Says

American warplanes struck Sunni militant positions in northern Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon said in a statement, confirming the first significant American military operation since ground troops left Iraq in 2011.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, said that two F-18 fighters dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery target near Erbil. Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, Admiral Kirby said in a statement.

The strike followed President Obama’s announcement Thursday night that he had authorized limited air strikes to protect American citizens in Erbil and Baghdad, and, if necessary, to break the siege of tens of thousand of refugees stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

[Return to headlines]
 

US Air Strikes on Iraq Extremists

The United States has carried out its first air strikes on Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq as Britain prepared to launch air drops to assist starving refugees forced to flee the militants.

The Pentagon said US warplanes hit Islamic State artillery positions which had been firing on Kurdish forces defending the city of Irbil, close to where American personnel are based.

Following a meeting in Whitehall of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain was ready to provide “technical assistance” to support US humanitarian operations in the region…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

US Military Launches Airstrikes on Terror Targets in Iraq

U.S. fighter jets launched a “targeted” airstrike on Friday against Islamic militants in Iraq, just hours after President Obama authorized military action to protect U.S. personnel and Iraqi civilians.

The strike took place near the city of Irbil, after IS used the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending the city where U.S. personnel are located, the Pentagon said.

The strikes mark the deepest U.S. engagement in the country since the troop withdrawal in late 2011.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

15 Ukrainian Troops Killed in Latest Confrontation With Insurgents

KIEV, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Fifteen Ukrainian troops have been killed and 79 wounded in fierce clashes with independence-seeking insurgents over the past 24 hours, a military spokesman said Friday.

“There were seven Ukrainian soldiers and eight border guards among those dead,” Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, told reporters during a media briefing.

According to Lysenko, Ukrainian forces had clashed with rebels 44 times over the past day in eastern regions not far from the Russian border…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Obama on Russia: Russia Doesn’t Make Anything.

2 August 2014: Obama: “I think President Putin represents a deep strain in Russia that is probably harmful to Russia over the long term, but in the short term can be politically popular at home and very troublesome abroad.

But I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything. Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking. And so we have to respond with resolve in what are effectively regional challenges that Russia presents. We have to make sure that they don’t escalate where suddenly nuclear weapons are back in the discussion of foreign policy. And as long as we do that, then I think history is on our side.”

[Hugh Fitzgerald of New English Review commented as follows: The engineering and scientific base of Russia is large, and its graduate schools of mathematics and science are full of Russians, not people from East Asia. And among those things Obama thinks Russia doesn’t make, because according to him “Russia doesn’t make anything” are weapons, of all kinds. Source: www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/55590/Obama%2D%2D%2D%2DQuite%2DUnnecessarily%2D%2D%2D%2DTaunts%2DRussia%2DAnd%2DRussians ]

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Two Young Spaniards Travel to Ukraine to Fight Alongside Pro-Russian Militia

The pair, both members of far-left youth groups, view the conflict as akin to the Spanish Civil War

Two young Spaniards have travelled to the east of Ukraine to join the pro-Russian militia known as the Vostok Batallion. Rafael Muñoz Pérez, 27, and Ángel, 22, reportedly form part of one of the most violent and feared groups, which the Kiev government blames for some of the worst atrocities of the conflict so far.

Pérez is a former social worker from Madrid, now based in Gijón (Asturias), where he has been a member of the youth wing of the United Left group since 2010. Ángel, meanwhile, is from Murcia, and belongs to the youth wing of a branch of the Spanish Communist Party.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ukraine’s Donetsk Becomes Ghost Town as National Forces Shell Separatists

Residents of this eastern Ukrainian city are fleeing in droves as national forces step up mortar attacks aimed at dislodging the pro-Russian separatists who are clinging to control of a city once populated by 1 million people.

An eerie calm has descended over the nearly deserted city center and suburbs alike, the silence broken only by the sporadic shelling that becomes heaviest at night. Those Donetsk residents who have remained are on edge, as forces sent by Kiev have stepped up efforts to root out the separatists by using heavier artillery, taking aim at downtown and lobbing fire during daylight hours.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ukraine: Three Civilians Killed and 10 Injured in Overnight Shelling of Donetsk

Man says his godmother died as artillery barrage hit four apartment buildings in east Ukraine rebel stronghold

At least three civilians have been killed and another 10 wounded in overnight shelling of the main rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine besieged by government forces, officials said.

Local people said a rebel rocket launcher recently seen in the area may have been the target…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Ukrainians Losing Faith in Kiev Leadership: More Than 700,000 Fled to Russia

MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) — More than 117,000 people are now displaced inside Ukraine, according to the latest United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) study, while about 730,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia amid growing violence since the beginning of this year.

“In the past seven days more than 6,200 people have been forced from their homes,” said Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

US Spy Plane Incident Raises More Questions Over MH17 Crash

6 August 2014: Confirmation that a US reconnaissance plane was forced to cross into Swedish airspace on July 18 raises more questions over the crash of Malaysian flight MH17 in east Ukraine just one day before, with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew.

The incident, which was reported in the Swedish media, has only now been confirmed by American military officials…

These incidents raise new questions as to the conditions under which flight MH17 was shot down, including whether it could have been mistaken for a spy plane seeking to enter east Ukrainian or Russian air space.

The US surveillance plane, a military version of a Boeing 707, looks very similar to civilian aircraft. …

In the recent weeks, NATO has significantly expanded its use of reconnaissance aircraft in the region, as part of a military build-up against Russia. According to an August 1 briefing from the US Defence Department, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby said that US forces “continue to exercise in Central and Eastern Europe to reassure allies of America’s commitment to the region…

“US troops, aircraft and ships have been continually rotating in and out of the region, Kirby said.”

It is only one of a number of scenarios, however. Russia has said that video shots made by its Rostov monitoring centre show the presence of a Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 in the vicinity of MH17 at the time it crashed. The Su-25 attack jet is equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km.

Russia’s Defence Ministry states that a US satellite was over the area of eastern Ukraine at the time of the crash and has urged Washington to publish the photos and data it captured.

None have been forthcoming. Despite the insistence of the US and the European powers that Moscow is responsible for the crash, they have not produced any credible evidence to back up their assertions. More than two weeks on, there is still no report from the investigations into the black boxes recovered from the site.

This is all the more remarkable given that the US was heading a 10-day NATO exercise, Sea Breeze, which concluded the day MH17 was downed.

Warships and aircraft from seven NATO countries… took part in the Black Sea drill which involved commercial traffic monitoring and “reaction to asymmetric threat warnings, anti-submarine warfare and artillery firing.” But the presence of sophisticated electronic intelligence in the vicinity has apparently yielded nothing as to the circumstances surrounding MH17’s crash.

What is certain is that US-led warmongering against Russia is directly responsible for the July 17 tragedy. …

The question is posed, as the World Socialist Web Site raised previously, as to whether the US wants a war with Russia.

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Indonesian Family Finds Daughter Swept Away in 2004 Tsunami

An Indonesian girl swept away in the 2004 tsunami has been found a decade after she was given up for dead, according to her family.

“God has given us a miracle,” said Jamaliah, the mother of Raudhatul Jannah, who went missing when she was four.

Jannah and her seven-year-old brother were carried off when huge waves struck their home in West Aceh district on 26 December 2004.

Jamaliah, 42, and her husband survived the tsunami that killed tens of thousands in Aceh on western Sumatra island. They had long ago given up hope of finding either of their children alive.

But in June Jamaliah’s brother spotted a girl in a village walking home from school who bore a striking resemblance to Jannah.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Indonesia Arrests ISIS Followers

by Abu Hanifah

JAKARTA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Indonesia takes firm moves to crackdown and pursue citizens joining the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after it banned the international notorious radical group from developing in the country.

On Friday, the national police’s anti-terror squad of Detachment 88 arrested two members of ISIS linked to an Indonesian radical Muslim group led by Santoso, which is still active in Central Sulawesi province’s city of Poso…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Malaysia Airlines Set for ‘Complete Overhaul’

Malaysia Airlines is planning to take its struggling stock off the exchange and become fully state-owned. The troubled air carrier has suffered two high-profile and unprecedented incidents this year.

The airline was already in serious financial trouble before the two major incidents it suffered this year.

Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian ocean, but no wreckage has so far been found. A search remains underway.

Last month, Flight MH17 was downed in an apparent surface-to-air missile attack over eastern Ukraine, where government forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists. All 298 people on board were killed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Roadside Bomb Claims 4 Lives, Afghan Forces Arrest 5 Taliban

KABUL, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — A roadside bomb organized by Taliban militants in Taliban former stronghold the southern Helmand province claimed four lives and injured few others including a district governor on Friday, a local official said…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

The U.S. Has Supplied 747,000 Weapons to Afghanistan. It Might Have a Difficult Time Figuring Out Where Some Ended Up.

28 July 2014: The Pentagon has supplied 747,000 weapons and auxiliary equipment, most via federal contractors, to the Afghan National Security Forces during the last decade. And according to a new report, it might have a hard time figuring out where a fair share of them ended up.

The Department of Defense maintains information on weapons purchased — valued at $626 million since 2004 — for the ANSF in two information systems: the Security Cooperation Information Portal, or SCIP, which personnel use to track weapon shipments from the U.S., and the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database, or OVERLORD, which is used for tracking the receipt of weapons in Afghanistan.

A comparison of the data in the two systems, which are not linked and both require manual data entry, found that the databases did not always match, that some records were duplicated, and that some records were incomplete.

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

China’s July Trade Surplus Rockets to Record $47.3 Bln, Govt Data Shows

China’s monthly trade surplus leaped to a record $47.3 billion in July, nearly tripling year-on-year, official data showed on Friday, as the world’s second-largest economy saw export growth accelerate while imports surprisingly shrank.

The surplus, which compared with one of $17.8 billion during the same month last year, beat China’s previous record monthly surplus of $40.1 billion in November 2008 and far exceeded the median forecast of $27.7 billion in a Wall Street Journal survey of 15 economists.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

WTO Confirms China Rare Earth Trade Limits Break Rules

(GENEVA) — The World Trade Organization on Thursday upheld its ruling that China had violated global trade rules by restricting exports of rare earths, used in hi-tech goods like mobile phones and televisions.

Beijing had appealed a decision by a WTO panel in March that its use of export duties, quotas and control over who could export the metals had skewed global commerce.

That panel of independent trade and legal experts backed a complaint lodged with the WTO by the United States, the European Union and Japan in 2012.

They claim China was limiting exports in a bid to drive up prices and gain market advantage for domestic producers with cheaper access to the raw materials.

China accounts for 95 percent of global production of rare earths, a term covering 18 metals vital for the production of smartphones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, steel and low-energy light bulbs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ebola is a ‘Global Emergency’ As Bodies Litter Streets

The World Health Organization has today declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international public health emergency. In separate meetings, witnesses describe bodies lying in the street in Liberia, and US health authorities say cases will continue to rise.

The WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern when an outbreak crosses borders and poses an unusual threat. It has made such a declaration only twice before: for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and the polio resurgence in Pakistan.

Today’s declaration, triggered by an expert panel that met via teleconference with WHO officials over the last two days, asserts that “a coordinated international response” is required to stop further spread of Ebola, because of “weak health systems in the most at-risk countries”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ebola — Hot Water and Salt Not a Cure, Nigeria Cautions Citizens

The Nigerian Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, on Friday debunked rumours that bathing with hot water and salt solution can be used to prevent Ebola virus infection…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Keita — ‘Mali Will Never be a Caliphate’

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is confident that his government and the rebels in the north will achieve sustainable peace in the near future. Rebels have taken up the struggle again and made territorial gains…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Nigeria’s President Declares State of Emergency as Ebola Spreads Across the African Nation

Nigeria’s president declared a national state of emergency on Friday over Ebola as the deadly virus spread across the Africa’s most populated nation.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Nigeria Declares State of Emergency Over Ebola

Nigeria’s president has declared a national emergency over the Ebola outbreak, while the World Health Organization says the epidemic now constitutes an international public health emergency…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Nigeria: Boko Haram — Untold Tales of Death, Tears in Displaced Persons Camps

By Kareem Haruna

Weeks after they were chased out of their homes by the rampaging Boko Haram sect, the over 5000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Damboa currently taking refuge in camps far away from their homes, are still in grave danger. They may have to keep running to avoid being killed by cholera, or any of a number of the other problems they currently face.

LEADERSHIP Friday has it on good authority that the IDPs, especially in Biu and Gombe towns, are on a daily basis haunted by the fear of two lethal realities — one, the fear of further attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, who have vowed to kill them even in the camps and two, the fear of being killed by cholera…

           — Hat tip: JP [Return to headlines]
 

Greece: Samos Detention Center Overcrowded

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, AUGUST 8 — Police on Samos have warned that a migrant reception center on the Greek eastern Aegean island is seriously overcrowded, posing a risk to the safety and health of police and immigrants as daily Kathimerini online reports.

In a letter to Greek Police Chief Dimitris Tsaknakis, the island’s police union said that the migrant center is accommodating 682 people, more than double the maximum of 285 it is designed to hold. Describing the situation as “tragic and dangerous,” the union said only four officers are available at any given time to guard the migrants.

It added that the influx is relentless, with 419 migrants having arrived on Samos so far this week.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Greece: Athens Deporting Far More Irregular Immigrants

A shortage of space at migrant detention facilities near Athens has prompted Greek authorities to intensify deportations.

Officials say that the spike was a result of accelerating the repatriation process for migrants from North African states such as Libya, Egypt and Algeria. However, most of the people being sent back were forced to return to Albania, Pakistan, Algeria, Egypt and Georgia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Japan: Immigration Bureau’s New ‘Intelligence Center’ To Gather Data on Foreigners to Prevent Illegal Immigration and Terrorism

5 August 2014: The Justice Ministry will establish an “intelligence center” in the Immigration Bureau to comprehensively manage information on foreign persons… .

The new center was conceived as a measure for maintaining security in consideration of an expected rapid increase in the number of foreign travelers to Japan due to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games. Its aim is to prevent illegal immigration and terrorism. To this end, the ministry has decided to request a budget appropriation of about ¥220 million for fiscal 2015, according to informed sources.

The Immigration Bureau keeps a variety of information on foreign persons.

In addition to collecting the names, nationalities, photographs and fingerprints of foreign persons entering the country, it also retains the fingerprints of those who are deported. Airline companies provide it with passenger lists. Domestic and overseas organizations furnish it with information on terrorists and those on international wanted lists.

However, more than one division has been managing all the information, without a sufficient number of officials in charge. As a result, the bureau has failed to utilize the information effectively.

To remedy the situation and reinforce foreign immigration checks, the ministry decided to concentrate its information about foreign persons under one roof and create the center. The number of officials in charge is likely to be about 20, and operations will start within the next fiscal year if the budget is approved…

Tests of facial recognition for immigration control at Narita and Haneda airports started on Monday.

           — Hat tip: LH [Return to headlines]
 

Will Illegal Immigrant Kids Stay or be Sent Home? Depends if They Have a Lawyer

What a difference a lawyer makes.

As the immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border deepens, a review of deportation hearings for minors caught crossing reveals stark disparities depending on their legal representation. If they’ve got an attorney, they stand a fairly good chance of staying in the U.S. Without one — they’re probably getting sent home.

That is, if they show up at court at all.

The differences are detailed in a recent report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The report traces the status of more than 100,000 cases involving juveniles clogging the system.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Czechia: Prague Pride Builds Bridges

Fourth edition of the annual celebration of the LGBT identity portrays Golden City as gateway between East and West

“Rise Up” the social realist posters proclaim above two men looking up toward an unseen ball of light, proudly holding a flag aloft, their features immediately recognizable as inspired by Soviet-era art. Then, in slightly smaller lettering, beneath the headline: “Against Homophobia.”

A more careful glance at the poster reveals the flag contains a rainbow, and the two men are holding hands. Prague Pride week runs Aug. 11—17, and its target is clear: the region behind the former Iron Curtain, and Russia in particular, which last year enacted the infamous “anti-LGBT propaganda law” (literally, a “legislative ban on the propaganda of homosexualism,” calling to mind former Czech President Václav Klaus’ equally awkward phrasing).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Official Quits Stamp Board, Accuses Postal Service of ‘Prostituting’ Program After Harry Potter Decision

A former postmaster general reportedly has resigned from the U.S. Postal Service committee that decides what images go on stamps, complaining that the agency is “prostituting” its stamp program by honoring pop culture subjects.

The chairman of the committee, though, told the Post: “The Postal Service is asking us to do more in the way of pop culture. We’re trying to get a lot of young people interested in stamps.”

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]
 

How Did Supermassive Black Holes Get So Big So Fast?

Black holes may have grown incredibly rapidly in the newborn universe, perhaps helping explain why they appear so early in cosmic history, researchers say.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/8/2014

  1. “China accounts for 95 percent of global production of rare earths, a term covering 18 metals vital for the production of smartphones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, steel and low-energy light bulbs.”

    The implication here is that the rare earths are necessary for ‘green’ energy – which leads to the conclusion that, at best, the USA is trading our present foreign energy master (OPEC) for our future energy master (China) – of course, that assumes that ‘green’ energy actually produces any energy – which is highly debatable….

    The idea that China controls the rare earths is particularly galling considering that, as I recall reading, the Obama administration has allowed China to ‘mine’ the rare earths in Afghanistan to sell back to the USA.

    So, USA soldiers have been tortured and murdered to make Afghanistan safe for China to control future EPA-mandated ‘green’ energy – and high technology products that are necessary to control our modern computerized weapons systems?

    “The importance of REEs to the global economy cannot be overstated. They are essential to the manufacture of a host of modern technologies, including cell phones, televisions, hybrid engines, computer components, lasers, batteries, fiber optics, and superconductors. Congressional findings have called rare earth elements “critical to national security,” and understandably so. REEs are key to the production of tank navigation systems, missile guidance systems, fighter jet engines, missile defense components, satellites, and military grade communications gear.

    “The supply of REEs and similar minerals is critical to today’s technology-dependent economy, which is highly dependent on a reliable supply chain. Regrettably, the main supplier of REEs, China, has proven itself undependable.

    “Make no mistake: China can play an important and constructive role in Afghanistan. Development in Afghanistan can be aided by foreign investment, and Beijing has the resources to make crucial investments in Afghanistan’s future. But given China’s stranglehold on the REE market — and the West’s commitment in blood and treasure to Afghanistan’s future — allowing China to stroll in and harvest Afghanistan’s rare earth riches seems both unwise and unfair. Before they withdraw, ISAF nations should use their considerable leverage not to secure sweetheart deals for Western investors and developers, but to ensure a level playing field for any firm willing to take a risk on developing Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.”

    http://www.american.com/archive/2013/august/afghanistans-rare-earth-element-bonanza

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/afghanistan-holds-enormous-bounty-of-rare-earths/

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