Several Arab countries have declared their willingness to join the United States in carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. British Prime Minister David Cameron, however, has refused to join the operation, even after a British hostage was beheaded by ISIS.
In other news, the anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) has done well in elections in Thuringia (10%) and Brandenburg (12%), allowing it to take seats in both parliaments for the first time.
To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.
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.
(Reuters) — Asian stocks stumbled to their lowest in five weeks on Monday after a batch of weak data out of China raised the spectre of a sharp slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy.
The Australian dollar, considered a liquid proxy for China plays, also took a hammering and slumped to a six-month low.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS dipped 0.8 percent to levels last seen on Aug. 8. The index has fallen almost 4 percent in a little over a week, from a near seven-year peak.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO shed 0.7 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI .KS11 fell 0.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng .HSI slid 1.1 percent. Mainland Chinese shares .CSI300 were 0.6 percent lower.
Japanese financial markets were shut on Monday for a public holiday…
|[Return to headlines]
BLOOMING GROVE, Pa. — A Pennsylvania state trooper who was injured when a gunman ambushed him and killed another trooper outside a police barracks is conscious and talking for the first time since he underwent surgery, a spokesman said Sunday.
State police spokesman Trooper Tom Kelly said investigators hope to soon interview Trooper Alex Douglass to get additional information on the attack.
The troopers were ambushed around 10:50 p.m. Friday as one of them was leaving the barracks and another was arriving. Cpl. Bryon Dickson of Dunmore was killed.
Kelly said in an emailed statement Sunday that police are getting a large number of tips, and some are “fantastic.”
He said they are keeping details of the investigation quiet to preserve the integrity of the leads.
Investigators on Sunday returned to scour the woods across from the barracks where they were ambushed.
Troopers also set up a checkpoint near the site where they were stopping motorists to ask if they had seen anything that could help with the case, Kelly said…
|[Return to headlines]
The euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has taken big strides forward in regional elections in two eastern German states. Results are emerging from votes in Thuringia and Brandenburg.
Results of exit polls released just before the close of voting on Sunday showed the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which was founded only last year, had gained 10 percent of the vote in Thuringia and 12 percent of the vote in Brandenburg, meaning it has won a place in the parliaments of both states for the first time.
A fortnight ago the AfD was elected to the regional parliament in another eastern German state, Saxony.
CDU wins in Thuringia
While the governing party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democrats (CDU), won the most votes in Thuringia with 34.5 percent, they may let lose the leadership of the state if their junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), switch sides.
Pre-election talk was of the possibility of the Left party, which came second on 28 percent, forming an alliance with the third-placed SPD on 12.5 percent and the Greens, who just made it over the five-percent threshold on 5.5 percent. It would give the Left party its first state premiership, with Bodo Ramelow (pictured above casting his vote).
Status quo in Brandenburg
In Brandenburg, the government looks to remain the same, with the Social Democrats winning 32.5 percent of the vote and likely to continue with the Left party, which won 19-percent, as junior partners.
The CDU came out with 22 percent of the vote.
|— Hat tip: C. Cantoni||[Return to headlines]
There are more Muslim children than Christian growing up in Birmingham, figures show.
The latest statistics, extracted from the 2011 Census, give an insight into the fast pace of demographic change across Britain.
They pinpoint several parts of the country where traditional religious beliefs are being eclipsed for the first time.
In England’s second city of Birmingham, of 278,623 youngsters, 97,099 were registered as Muslim compared with 93,828 as Christian. The rest were of other faiths such as Hindu or Jewish, or none.
A similar trend has emerged in the cities of Bradford and Leicester, the towns of Luton, in Bedfordshire, and Slough in Berkshire, as well as the London boroughs Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, where nearly two-thirds of children are Islamic.
Last night experts said more must be done to ensure that society does not become polarised along religious lines…
|— Hat tip: Steen||[Return to headlines]
Several Arab countries have offered to carry out airstrikes against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a senior State Department official said Sunday.
The offer was disclosed by American officials traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry, who is approaching the end of a weeklong trip that was intended to mobilize international support for the campaign against ISIS.
“There have been offers both to Centcom and to the Iraqis of Arab countries taking more aggressive kinetic action,” said the State Department official, who used the acronym for the United States Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East.
|[Return to headlines]
LONDON/EDINBURGH: Britain on Sunday resisted pressure to join the United States in announcing air strikes against Islamic State after the militant group beheaded David Haines, a British hostage.
Speaking after chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee in London, Prime Minister David Cameron said his government was battling IS on numerous fronts but was not, for now, launching air strikes.
“As this strategy intensifies we are ready to take whatever steps are necessary to deal with this threat and keep our country safe,” he said in a TV statement from his office.
“Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle, and ultimately destroy ISIL (IS) and what it stands for. We will do so in a calm deliberate way, but with an iron determination.”
Britain has in the past often been the first country to join US military action overseas, but war-weary public opinion, the parliament’s rejection last year of air strikes on Syria, and sensitivities surrounding Scotland’s independence referendum on Thursday mean Cameron is reticent this time round…
|[Return to headlines]
Islamic State’s head-chopping barbarity is not different from everyday Islamic cruelty, says Prof. Rafi Israeli.
By Shimon Cohen, Gil Ronen
Professor Rafi Israeli, an expert on Islam and the Arab world, told Arutz Sheva Sunday that while the world is appalled by Islamic State’s decapitation murders of western journalists, we must not forget that Islam kills hundreds of people daily in various hotspots throughout the globe.
“We ignore this cruelty which is an everyday occurrence,” said Israeli. In the genocide at Dafur, for instance, “Muslims killed other Muslims. They do it to their own people by the thousands. There is nothing new here.”
Prof. Israeli said that the basis for these acts is the fact that Islam has a basic disregard for human life. “For them it is not sacred, like it is for us.”
The Koran, he noted, calls on Muslims to spread terror among their enemies without specifying who they are. In effect, this statement commands a Muslim to kill and terrorize all those he perceives as enemies, including fellow Muslims. The Muslims who act upon this are fanatics who are convinced that only their beliefs are true, and everyone else is wrong — and can therefore be killed.
“Every day in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Darfur, Iraq or Yemen, they kill hundreds,” explained Israeli. “Nowhere is there such disregard for human life, like in Islam. For the Sunnis, Shiites are worse than the Jews.”
Muslim law determines that a person who was a Muslim and left the faith should be killed. Thieves’ hands are cut off, and disrespect for the prophet Mohammed is a cause for mass murder.
At the core, he added, Islam is a religious faith that lacks self confidence. Because of this, any offense to it can rattle the faith of the Muslim and therefore requires a harsh, violent and cruel reaction…
|— Hat tip: RL||[Return to headlines]
President Obama’s eve of 9/11 speech in which he declared ‘war’ on the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, contained a commitment to arm and support so-called moderate Syrian opposition to assist in “degrading and ultimately destroying” the Salafist Jihadist self-declared Caliphate. He may have been referring to the Free Syrian Army. But which Free Syrian Army (FSA)? One group has been headed by American -Syrian members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have dominated the Syrian National Council like Louay Safi with access to the White House. Moreover, as we have learned tragically, it is this Free Syrian Army, with a Supreme Military Command in Erdogan’s Ankara, that purportedly sold American Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were barbarously murdered by ISIS. Those graphic beheadings deliberately conveyed on videos aroused American public opinion demanding action that prompted Obama’s televized address to the nation. In August 2014, President Obama dismissed the moderate Syrian opposition as a group of “bankers, doctors and pharmacists”. Dramatically, one leader of the “moderate” Syrian opposition Dr. Kamal al-Labwani, a veteran Syrian secular opponent of the Assad regime, surfaced in Israel this week at the annual International Counter Terrorism (ICT) Conference in Herzliya. According to the Times of Israel , who interviewed him, he is in Israel for 10-days on what Labwani “ described as ‘academic’ and ‘exploratory’ and stated he was prepared to meet with Israeli policymakers “whenever they want.” Labwani’s attendance at the ICT conference may reflect the outreach by the other FSA led by the Syrian Opposition Coalition headquartered near embattled Aleppo composed of ex-Assad military including Alawites, Christians and Sunni tribal leaders currently battling ISIS inside Syria. My colleague Ilana Freedman estimates through her sources that there could be as many as 50,000 Syrian opposition fighters in this ‘other FSA’. Listen to a discussion of President Obama ISIS Strategy and Syria with Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Dr. Walid Phares and Jerry Gordon, a Senior editor of the New English Review on the Lisa Benson Show today at 4PM EDT…
|— Hat tip: Jerry Gordon||[Return to headlines]
Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council fined a Kurdish TV channel for showing the historical Holocaust film “Pianist” today.
Turkish Government’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) considers Pianist as brutal. The Supreme Council fined Gün TV (a Kurdish TV Channel) for showing the drama film that is telling the story of a Jewish pianist who survived concentration camps. CHP Deputy (from Main Opposition Party) condemned the decision and said this is ridiculous…
|— Hat tip: KGS||[Return to headlines]
North Korea’s Supreme Court on Sunday sentenced US citizen Matthew Miller to six years’ hard labour for “hostile” acts, two weeks after he and two other detained Americans had pleaded for help from Washington.
Miller becomes the second American serving a hard labour prison term in the North amid accusations that Pyongyang is using them to extract political concessions from Washington.
The 24-year-old was arrested in April after he allegedly ripped up his visa at immigration and demanded asylum.
“He committed acts hostile to the (North) while entering the territory of the (North) under the guise of a tourist last April,” the state-run KCNA news agency said in announcing Sunday’s court ruling.
Pictures published by KCNA showed a sombre-looking Miller, dressed in a black polo neck and black trousers, sitting and standing in the courtroom dock, flanked by two uniformed guards.
A photo of the evidence table showed what appeared to be Miller’s ripped-up visa, as well as his US passport, a tablet computer and a smartphone…
|[Return to headlines]
Scientists have declared a new record has been set for the extent of Antarctic sea ice since records began.
Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometres covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent.
Jan Lieser from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) said the discovery was made two days ago.
“This is an area covered by sea ice which we’ve never seen from space before,” he said.
“Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we’ve never seen that before, that much area.
“That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia.”
The formation of sea ice around Antarctica every year is one of the biggest seasonal events on Earth.
The ice is generated in what scientists refer to as “sea ice factories” or polynia — areas of the ocean surface where currents and wind patterns combine to generate sea ice.
“As soon as sea ice is produced in these polynias it is actually transported away from that so more sea ice can be produced,” Dr Lieser said.
As the area covered in sea ice expands scientists have said the ice on the continent of Antarctica which is not over the ocean continues to deplete.
CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns.
“The extent of sea ice is driven by the winds around Antarctica, and we believe that they’re increasing in strength and part of that is around the depletion of ozone,” he said…
|— Hat tip: Vlad Tepes||[Return to headlines]
POLICE have significantly escalated their search for five rocket launchers believed to be buried in Sydney bushland by a terror cell linked to Islamic State savages Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar.
NSW and federal police have ramped up their search for the lethal rocket launchers, following the government’s decision to raise the national terror alert level to “high” and ahead of the November G20 meeting in Brisbane.
The Daily Telegraph can also reveal members of the Pendennis Nine terror cell — who planned to attack high-profile Sydney targets and are serving long jail terms — have refused to tell police where the rocket launchers are hidden.
A NSW Police spokesman said officers were “actively” searching for the five rocket launchers, which were among 10 stolen by former Army captain Shane Della-Vedova from a military facility in Orchard Hills in 2002…
|— Hat tip: Vlad Tepes||[Return to headlines]