Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/29/2014

Demonstrations continued today in Hong Kong, with even more participants taking to the streets in multiple locations. The use by police of tear gas, pepper spray, and batons against yesterday’s peaceful pro-democracy protesters caused widespread public outrage, prompting the new demonstrations.

In other news, the Turkish army deployed tanks and armored vehicles along the Syrian border opposite Kobani, after ISIS artillery fired rounds into Turkey.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Charlie Marteau, Insubria, RR, 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.

Financial Crisis
» EC Vice President Says Europe at Risk of Third Recession
» Greece: Reduced Births Due to Economic Crisis, Doctors Say
» Italy: Yields Mixed at Treasury 5-Year, 10-Year Bond Auctions
» Italy: Renzi Reasoning on Labour ‘Extravagant’ Says Bersani
» Italy: Accenture Palermo Call Center Employee Goes on Hunger Strike
» Fired Oklahoma City Nursing Home Worker Threatened Beheading, Police Say
» Intruder Got Deep Into White House, Official Says
» The Other Oklahoma Beheading Suspect, Kenyan Muslim Immigrant Jacob Mugami Muriithi
Europe and the EU
» Cyprus: Wealthy Kykkos Monastery Declares Bankruptcy
» Four Arrested in French Opposition Funding Probe
» Greece: Prime Minister Samaras Eyes Constitutional Reforms
» Italy: Director of Rome’s Israelite Hospital Being Investigated
» Italy: Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli Facing Tax Probe
» Italy is on ‘Very High Terrorism Alert’, Says Interior Min
» Judges Accuse Italian Premier of Misrepresenting Them
» Madrid to Challenge Catalan Independence Referendum in Court
North Africa
» Algeria: Gourdel’s Beheading Harms Sahara Tourism
» Egypt: IS Affiliate Set Up, Threatens Christians and US
» Egyptian Lorry Drivers Held Hostage in Libya
Middle East
» Turks Deploy Armoured Force on Syrian Border
» Tweet Confirms Kuwaiti Qaeda Chief Fadhli Dead
» UAE PM Calls for ‘Intellectual Battle’ Against Islamic State
» US Strikes ‘Ineffective’, Islamic State Fighter Tells CNN
» Yemen: Sanaa: Shiite Suicide Bomb Attack Leaves 15 Dead and Over 50 Injured
Far East
» Don’t Interfere in Hong Kong China Warns US
» Hong Kong Protests: Police Violence “A Boomerang Against the Government”
» Hong Kong: Day Two of Occupy Central. Police Violence Comes Under Fire
» Phillipines Kidnapped Germans Issue Appeal
» Italy: Freighter Carrying 500 Migrants Docks at Crotone
» A Nigerian Prince Called Islam

EC Vice President Says Europe at Risk of Third Recession

Crisis hit Europe “worse than any other region in the world”

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — The Eurozone “is not safe from the risk of a third” recession, European Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia said Monday at the Foro Nueva Economia in Madrid.

Almunia, who is also in charge of EC competition policy, said economic crisis hit Europe “worse than any other region in the world,” “has suffered two recessions”, and “is not safe from the risk of a third”.

“It is difficult to maintain competitiveness not only for the emergence of new economies, but also because large European industrialized countries have shown smaller productivity growth and more rigidity,” added Almunia.

Almunia warned that Europe could face a political crisis in the near future — a development that should be avoided, in his opinion.

“This feeling of alienation and de-legitimization opens the door to populism and generates tensions,” Almunia said.

“And you begin to hear voices that call into question the very foundations of parliamentary democracies”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Greece: Reduced Births Due to Economic Crisis, Doctors Say

Both planned and unplanned pregnancies down in recent years

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 29 — After more than six years, the crisis in Greece has even spread to the bedroom, scientists claimed on Friday, with sexual activity listed as the latest victim of the economic malaise as Ana-Mpa reported.

Obstetricians and gynaecologists at a press conference for World Contraception Day (Wcd) reported that both planned and unplanned pregnancies were fewer in Greece in recent years, but not because of an increased awareness of contraception but as a result of less action between the sheets. “The reduction in abortions is not due to awareness about contraception but a reduction in the Greek population’s sexual activity,” said Professor of Obstetrics-Gynaecology at Athens University and head of the Aretaio Hospital Obstetric and Gynaecological Clinic Dr. Georgios Kreatsas. He said that this was a direct result of the psychological impact of the crisis and an increase in stress, anxiety and insecurity that reduced the libido.

According to Kreatsas, the lack of proper sex education and awareness of contraception in Greece was reflected by the findings of a survey conducted by Athens University, in which 48% of young people said they obtained their information on sexual issues from the Internet, 32% from friends and only 7% from health professionals. Deputy Health Minister Katerina Papakosta also addressed the press conference, focusing on preventative medical care for women and noting that Greek society was still plagued by taboos and prejudices surrounding sex education matters. She asked for the assistance of the Church to overcome these and to convince Greek women of the necessity of screening tests, such as mammograms and smear tests for cervical cancer. Established in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Yields Mixed at Treasury 5-Year, 10-Year Bond Auctions

Demand high for Italian paper, spread widens

(ANSA) — Rome, September 29 — The Italian Treasury sold 5.5 billion euros of bonds due in 2019 and 2024 Monday.

About 2.5 billion euros in five-year bonds due in 2019 were sold at an average yield of 1.06%, down four basis points from the previous issue.

Another three billion euros worth of 10-year paper, due in 2024, was sold with an average yield of 2.45%, up six basis points from the previous auction in late August.

Demand was high for the Italian bonds.

Meanwhile, the spread between Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond and its German counterpart rose to 146.5 basis points after the auction, up from the day’s opening spread of 143.5%.

The spread is a measure of financial market confidence in the Italian economy, compared with what is generally seen as the very safe German market.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Reasoning on Labour ‘Extravagant’ Says Bersani

‘The party will stand by him, but the facts won’t’

(ANSA) — Rome, September 29 — Democratic Party (PD) dissenter Pier Luigi Bersani slammed Premier Matteo Renzi’s labour reform as “extravagant”. Renzi says “we have few employed and too many unemployed, so let’s get rid of Article 18 (of the 1970 Workers Statute). Germany has high employment, and they have Article 18,” Bersani told Radio Deejay in an interview. The PD likely won’t push the premier out, but reality will, Bersani added. “Loyalty to the firm usually prevails, but the facts will give (Renzi) a rude awakening,” Bersani warned.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Accenture Palermo Call Center Employee Goes on Hunger Strike

Among 262 employees protesting for fear of job loss

(ANSA) — Palermo, September 29 — An Accenture employee on Monday chained himself to the gates in front of the multinational company’s Palermo call center and stopped eating, ANSA sources said.

Giuseppe Palazzolo, a 38-year-old with two daughters, is one of 262 Accenture employees who have been staging protests for the last two weeks over fear of losing their jobs, after British Telecom recently announced an early termination of its Accenture outsourcing contract at the Palermo call center.

On Monday some employees also climbed onto the call center roof.

A meeting is planned on Monday afternoon in Rome at the Ministry of Economic Development to mediate the dispute.

The case has become a social-media phenomenon among Italian celebrities and media personalities, using the hashtag #262acasa, implying that 262 workers would be sent home for good.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Fired Oklahoma City Nursing Home Worker Threatened Beheading, Police Say

Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, a native of Kenya, was arrested Friday in Oklahoma City on a terrorism complaint.

In a bizarre coincidence, a fired Oklahoma City nursing home employee was arrested Friday after a co-worker reported he threatened to cut her head off.

Jacob Mugambi Muriithi Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, 30, is being held in the Oklahoma County jail on a terrorism complaint. His bail is set at $1 million.

“We take these threats very seriously,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

The arrest came on the same day police in Moore revealed fired Vaughan Foods worker Alton Alexander Nolen beheaded a co-worker after he was fired Thursday. Nolen is a Muslim convert.

Muriithi was identified as a native of Kenya who is living in Oklahoma City. He worked at Bellevue Nursing Home in northwest Oklahoma City, police reported.

The co-worker reported Muriithi threatened her while they were both working at the nursing home Sept. 19, a police detective wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit.

The woman was not identified.

She said Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim and said he “represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians,” the detective told a judge in the affidavit. The two had not worked together before.

ISIS is a reference to Islamic State militants responsible for highly publicized beheadings in the Middle East.

The woman said she asked him why they kill Christians and he replied, “This is just what we do,” the detective reported.

“The victim said Jacob asked her what time she got off work and she replied by asking him in a joking manner if he was going to kill her,’ the detective wrote. “Jacob told the victim, ‘Yes,’ he was going to cut her head off. The victim asked Jacob what he was going to cut her head off with and he said, ‘A blade,’ then told her after he did it he was going to post it on Facebook.

“The victim said Jacob was serious when speaking and never made any statements that he was joking or playing around.”

The woman reported Muriithi repeated the threat as she left work, saying in front of another employee that he was going to use a blade, the detective reported.

The FBI said Friday about the tragedy in Moore that there is no current indication of any additional threat to residents of Oklahoma related to that incident.

[Return to headlines]

Intruder Got Deep Into White House, Official Says

A man who jumped the White House fence this month made it far deeper into the president’s home than previously disclosed, overpowering a female Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance and running through the East Room before he was tackled, according to a congressional official familiar with the details of the incident.

The man, Omar J. Gonzalez, was finally stopped as he tried to enter the Green Room, the official said. Earlier, Secret Service officials had said Mr. Gonzalez, 42, had only made it steps inside the North Portico after running through the front door.

The new development, first reported by The Washington Post, will create an explosive hearing on Tuesday when a bipartisan panel of lawmakers intends to grill Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, about whether a lax and undisciplined culture inside the long-heralded agency has badly eroded its ability to protect the president and his family, several members of Congress said Monday.

[Return to headlines]

The Other Oklahoma Beheading Suspect, Kenyan Muslim Immigrant Jacob Mugami Muriithi

Alton Alexander Nolen, aka Jah’Keem Yisrael was not the only Muslim arrested for threatening a barbaric murder the beheading a fellow employee. Nolen, according to a report from his home town newspaper in McCurtain, Oklahoma may have been fired for misogynist arguments with female workers about stoning women under Islamic Sharia. On Friday, September 26th, Jacob Mugami Muriithi, a Kenyan Muslim immigrant , was arrested for threatening a fellow Oklahoma City nursing home worker on September 19th with beheading. Muriithi was arrested with bail set at $1 million on a terrorism compliant and currently is being investigated. The Oklahoman published the details in a report on Sunday, September 28th, “Fired Oklahoma City nursing home worker threatened beheading, police say.”We know that Nolen’s social media was redolent of such hatred and support of ISIS’ barbarity. We await further details on the investigation of the beheading threat by Muriithi to determine if he was similarly influenced by social media or by the preaching of radical local Imams among the 18 Mosques in Metro Oklahoma City serving the estimated 18,000 Muslims in the Sooner State. With Muriithi’s arrest, the beheading murder by Nolen appears not to be an isolated workplace violence incident. We will be shortly publishing an interview in the October NER with Dr. Michael Welner, noted forensic psychiatrist and expert witness in major criminal and terrorism cases.

           — Hat tip: Lurker from Tulsa [Return to headlines]

Cyprus: Wealthy Kykkos Monastery Declares Bankruptcy

After racking up 50 million euros in debt

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, SEPTEMBER 29 — The ancient Greek Orthodox monastery Kykkos, historically the richest and most important on the island of Cyprus, is the latest victim of the economic crisis the country has been suffering from since last year. Local daily Alithia reports that the monastery has accumulated about 50 million euros in debt and been forced to lay off 40 to 50 of its staff. Bishop Nikiforos told the media that he had made the decision “with great sadness”. Due to a drop in revenue — mostly due to non-payment of rent by inhabitants of monastery property holdings — the ancient abbey will be forced to suspend some of its programs, including a center for social and spiritual support, a scientific foundation for international studies on religion, a research center, a Greek-Cypriot language school and the museum administrative offices. Nikiforos said that Kykkos could get European funds to prevent its shutting down entirely, and that the monastery had suffered a severe financial blow in March 2013 after the Eurogroup’s decision (implemented by the Nicosia government) to cut all bank deposits of over 100,000 euros by 50%. The Kykkos Monastery bank account was one of those affected.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Four Arrested in French Opposition Funding Probe

(AGI) Paris, Sept 29 — Four people were arrested in a scandal involving events and communications company Bygmalion in France on Monday. The company is accused of using false invoices for at least 11 million euros to divert funds from the centre-right UMP party. The arrests, which include former CEO of Bygmalion, Bastien Millot, are likely to cast a shadow over the candidacy for the presidential primaries announced by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He has always denied being aware of any irregularities, but Bygmalion ran his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2012 and it is suspected that false invoices were used to create secret funds.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Greece: Prime Minister Samaras Eyes Constitutional Reforms

Including a change to the electoral system

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 29 — Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to unveil plans for constitutional reform, including a change to the electoral system and the way the Greek president is elected, once the troika has completed its review of the country’s adjustment program, as Kathimerini online reported. Troika inspectors are due in Athens today and the coalition hopes that the review will be completed by the end of November or early December. This would allow the government to concentrate on winning over MPs before they have to vote for a new president to succeed incumbent Karolos Papoulias early next year. The government believes that the promise of major constitutional changes could help sway some of the 180 MPs it needs to elect Papoulias’s successor. Among the changes being considered are for the president to be elected by voters rather than Parliament, thereby putting an end to the threat of opposition parties forcing elections every five years if the government cannot muster the required votes to elect a new head of state. Also, the coalition is considering enhancing the president’s powers. In terms of the electoral system, there are a number of ideas being discussed within the government, particularly changing the way the 50-seat bonus is awarded to the party that wins national elections.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Director of Rome’s Israelite Hospital Being Investigated

Ten under investigation in alleged health fraud

(ANSA) — Rome, September 29 — Ten people, including Israelite Hospital Director Antonio Mastrapasqua, are under investigation in a probe into an alleged major fraud of Italy’s national health system, officials said Monday.

Seven of the people being investigated are Israelite hospital employees, and two are Lazio regional government employees.

Police searched offices at the regional government and the health authority as well as at the Rome hospital on Monday and seized documents related to the probe.

The Israelite hospital has historic ties to Rome’s Jewish community but serves people of all religions and ethnicities.

The probe relates to receipts issued between 2006 and 2009, officials said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli Facing Tax Probe

Authorities complain of tax avoidance by couple

(ANSA) — Milan, September 29 — Prosecutors have requested a six-month extension of their probe into past taxes involving designer Miuccia Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of Italian fashion house Prada, the company said Monday.

The investigation follows complaints from Italy’s tax revenue agency alleging tax avoidance through a subsidiary company whose registered office is in Amsterdam.

About 470 million euros are involved.

An investigating judge will decide whether to allow the probe to continue.

Prada SpA said that both Miuccia Prada and Bertelli had made voluntary disclosures last January to the national tax agency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy is on ‘Very High Terrorism Alert’, Says Interior Min

Some 50 Italians fighting with ISIS, new strict measures ready

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS — Italy is on an extremely high level of alert for possible terrorist attacks even though no specific threats have been made, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Monday.

Italy is supporting the international campaign to combat the ISIS Islamist militant group in Syria and Iraq, but is not conducting air strikes.

“The alert for Italy is high, even in the absence of a specific threat,” Alfano said at a sidelines of a security conference in Brussels.

“This is because Italy is part of the big international coalition that is combatting terrorism, because it is the seat of Christianity (in Rome) and because of other important decisions that parliament has made in recent months.

Alfano added that he had prepared “very strict rules” and was ready “to bring them before the government and parliament”. One “regards tight police control over persons who may be considered at risk,” Alfano said. The norm would better specify preventive measures “that are now applied to the Mafia” but also “fill the gap in the law which makes it very difficult to punish those who want to go abroad to fight, although they are not the recruiter.”

“I believe we need to strengthen passenger registration in the Schengen area for flights and transit to better monitor the possibility that some Europeans go on those theaters of war to fight, and maybe, after being further radicalized, come back with the intention of carrying out the strategy of ‘a thousand cuts’ needed to bleed the enemy, as Islamic State theorists argue.”

A senior police official said Monday that around 50 Italian nationals were fighting alongside the ISIS Islamist militant group in Syria and Iraq. “A consolidated list has been created that enables us to know the exact size of the phenomenon and all of its various nuances,” Claudio Galzerano, the head of the International Antiterrorism Division of preventative policing unit UCIGOS, told Sky television. “When you count all the people involved, we are under 50. “We have a precise count of how many Italians have gone to fight with ISIS because there is an excellent level of osmosis in the Italian security community, with the intelligence side on one hand and law enforcement on the other”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Judges Accuse Italian Premier of Misrepresenting Them

(AGI) Rome, Sept 29 — Italian judges have accused Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of misrepresenting them. The National Association of Magistrates said on Monday: “During the popular television show ‘Che tempo che fa’ broadcast yesterday evening Sept 28, [he] repeated statements regarding the actions of the National Judges Association and the actual functioning of Italian judicial offices that do not correspond to the facts of the matter.” The association said it noted this “with deep regret”.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Madrid to Challenge Catalan Independence Referendum in Court

Rajoy, referendum unconstitutional

(ANSAmed) — MADRID — The Spanish cabinet on Monday approved a move to challenge a Catalan decree setting a referendum on independence November 9.

The Spanish cabinet decision means it will appeal the Catalan vote on independence in the Spanish Constitutional Court. “The consultation on self-determination wishes to make the (regional government) Generalitat president be attentive to the rights of all the Spaniards. The Constitution is based on the insoluble unity of Spain,” said Premier Mariano Rajoy, at the end of the cabinet meeting.

“I have always maintained dialogue with (Catalan President) Artur Mas. I am willing to negotiate, but the Generalitat is still continuing politics of fait accompli and unilateral decisions,” said Rajoy.

“The consultation” convened for the decree signed Saturday by Artur Mas “is neither compatible with the constitution in subject matter nor procedure,” said the leader of the conservative People’s Party (PP). Rajoy said the government “is obliged to present an appeal before the Constitutional Court in defence of all Spaniards, including Catalans”.

Rajoy left the door open to constitutional reform.

“The first thing is to defend the constitution. Then we will talk about reforming it,” he said.

Despite the distance in positions between Spain and Catalonia, Rajoy also offered “dialogue within the law” to Artur Mas, to whom he said, “We are still in time to straighten the course”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Algeria: Gourdel’s Beheading Harms Sahara Tourism

Mass cancellations feared

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 29 — Years of efforts and hefty investment to launch and consolidate Algerian desert tourism on international markets were swept away in only a few hours by French Alpine guide Herve Goudel’s killing by an alleged local Islamic State (IS) affiliate. The incident came as a surprise, in light of the tight control keenly sought by Algerian security forces and army as part of anti-terrorism efforts across the entire country and especially so in the Kabylie. The region has long suffered from social and political problems that over the years have led to the rise of armed Islamic extremist movements, initially linked to Al-Qaeda and now to IS.

Four years ago Algeria, faced with the kidnapping of tourists (such as in Tamanrasset in 2010), opted to close the Ahaggar natural reserve, which until then had attracted thousands of visitors and was seen as a success of Algiers’ bid to attract more foreign tourists. Possibly by coincidence, Gourdel’s kidnapping and decapitation occurred almost on the eve of the official beginning of the tourism season for the Algerian Sahara. The season began on Sunday, and tour operators are well aware of how difficult it will be for the damage done to be rectified in the short term. Authorities’ statements underscoring that the area has been secured have made little difference. Sahara tour operators are concerned that, over the coming hours, bookings will be cancelled in mass, nullifying much hard work and months of fairs and promotional events. The warnings put out by Western embassies for their citizens to be careful of countries in which Islamic terrorism has been seen also have an effect. Faced with a potentially catastrophic season, the sole hope harbored by hoteliers and Sahara tour operators is that of domestic tourism, still relatively active in the country. But it is not, alas, enough to replace what was lost by the tragedy of Gourdel’s death.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egypt: IS Affiliate Set Up, Threatens Christians and US

Arrival in Sinai and contact with Ansar Al-Sharia ‘traced’

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 29 — A group calling itself ‘Jund al-Khilafah (the soldiers of the caliphate) in the Land of Kinana (Egypt)’ has announced its allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), reported the Site jihadist monitoring service on Monday. The group has threatened to strike American interests and those of the ‘worshippers of the Cross’ in Egypt.

Speculation had been heard in Cairo in recent days on the possible announcement of the creation of an official Egyptian IS affiliate, and security sources had told ANSA they had “traced” the arrival in the country — most likely from its eastern border in the Sinai peninsula — of “elements connected with IS, veterans of (the ongoing conflict in, Ed.) Iraq and Syria”. Over the summer, contacts and operative links had been discovered with the various Egyptian jihadist groups, including the largest, Beit al Maqdis, which has been behind a growing number of attacks over the past year. Egyptian fighters also allegedly acted as a “bridge” with the Ansar Al-Sharia forces in Benghazi, who are trying to set up a ‘caliphate’ and who an IS spokesman called on in recent days to join the larger group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Lorry Drivers Held Hostage in Libya

(AGI) Cairo, Sept 29 — At least 70 Egyptian lorry drivers were kidnapped on Monday by Libyan militants in the Ajdabiya area, south of Benghazi. The militants are demanding the release of Mohammed Salama, held in Egypt for smuggling arms and ammunition across the Libyan border, in exchange for the drivers, the leader of a lorry drivers’ association in the Nile Delta region, Gamal Own, told the newspaper Al Masry al Youm.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Turks Deploy Armoured Force on Syrian Border

(AGI) Mursitpinar, Sept 29 — Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles have taken up positions on the Syrian border opposite the Kurdish town of Kobane after two Islamic State artillery rounds landed in Turkish territory. Kobane has been a battlefield between Kurdish and Islamic State forces for days.

The Turks have deployed 15 tanks and are near a base northwest of Kobane.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Tweet Confirms Kuwaiti Qaeda Chief Fadhli Dead

DUBAI: A jihadist Twitter account said the leader of the Al-Qaeda-linked Khorasan group was killed in a US air strike in Syria, SITE monitoring service said yesterday after several days of uncertainty over whether he survived the raid. A US official said on Sept 24 the United States believed Mohsin Al-Fadhli, a senior Al-Qaeda operative, had been killed in a strike a day earlier, but the Pentagon said several hours later it was still investigating what had happened to him. In a tweet posted on Sept 27, a jihadist offered condolences for the death of Kuwaiti-born Fadhli, otherwise known as Abu Asmaa Al- Kuwaiti or Abu Asmaa Al- Jazrawi, said SITE, a US-based organisation that monitors militant groups online.

In Washington, Tony Blinken, deputy White House national security adviser, said US officials could not yet confirm the death. “We want to make sure that he’s not trying to, in effect, fake his death and go underground,” Blinken said on “Fox News Sunday”. “But there are serious indicators he was removed.” US officials have described Khorasan as a network of seasoned Al-Qaeda fighters with battlefield experience mostly in Pakistan and Afghanistan that is now working in league with Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front…

           — Hat tip: RR [Return to headlines]

UAE PM Calls for ‘Intellectual Battle’ Against Islamic State

‘Fight ideology, foster development and good governance’

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, SEPTEMBER 29 — Force alone will not defeat the Islamic State (IS) and the other breeds of fanaticism the world is currently up against, Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al-Maktoum wrote in an editorial appearing in the emirate’s largest daily on Sunday. The UAE vice president and prime minister said that the international community should use a ‘holistic approach’ focusing on “winning the intellectual battle, upgrading weak governance, and grassroots human development”.

The UAE is one of the first Arab nations to have taken part in the US-led airstrikes on IS positions last week. While using force within the international coalition — and just as the jihadists of Jabhat Al-Nusra (also targeted by the strikes in Syria) began threatening US allies — Maktoum explained the UAE government policy. “Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalised threat requires a globalised response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders; indeed, ISIS has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities,” he wrote.

“With its twisted religious overtones, this pre-packaged franchise of hate is available for any terrorist group to adopt,” he said, calling IS “a barbaric and brutal organisation. It represents neither Islam nor humanity’s most basic values. Nonetheless, it has emerged, spread, and resisted those who oppose it. What we are fighting is not just a terrorist organisation, but the embodiment of a malicious ideology that must be defeated intellectually.” “The destruction of terrorist groups is not enough to bring lasting peace. We must also strike at the root to deprive their dangerous ideology of the power to rise again among people left vulnerable by an environment of hopelessness and desperation,” he said. “Credit is due to our neighbours in Saudi Arabia in this field for their successes in de-radicalising many young people through counseling centres and programmes.” Governing well and providing citizens with services is the second ‘ingredient’ to defeat the various breeds of fundamentalism, in his view. “It should be clear to everyone that the rapid growth of ISIS (another name for IS, Ed.) was fuelled by two governments’ failings: the first one made war on its own people, and the second one promoted sectarian division,” he wrote, referring to Syria and Iraq. “The final component is to address urgently the black holes in human development that afflict many areas of the Middle East. This is not only an Arab responsibility, but also an international responsibility,” he said.

With its over 200 million young people, the region has “a critical need for long-term projects and initiatives to eliminate poverty, improve education and health, build infrastructure, and create economic opportunities” in order to wear down hate-driven ideologies fostered by a sense of impotence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

US Strikes ‘Ineffective’, Islamic State Fighter Tells CNN

HQ moved before; French fighters ‘the most extreme’

(ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 29 — An Islamic State (IS) fighter told CNN on Monday that US-led airstrikes on IS positions were ineffective. “We’ve been ready for this for some time,” the fighter, who asked to be called Abu Talha, said. “We know that our bases are known because they’re tracking us with radars and satellites, so we had backup locations.” On the issue of airstrikes on mobile oil refineries under IS control, he said that “we have revenues other than oil. We have other avenues, and our finances are not going to stop just because of oil losses.” The interviewee was videotaped in such a way that his face was not seen by the camera. In recent days, US, Saudi and UAE fighter jets have bombed about a dozen oil refineries, facilities with which the Pentagon estimates IS was able to produce between 300 and 500 barrels of oil per day. The oil is then smuggled through Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. “They thought they knew everything. But thank God, they don’t know anything,” added Abu Tahla. The fighter said even if coalition attacks impede ISIS, they’re not enough to stop IS’s ‘mission’ of creating an Islamic state in the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria.

“They hit us in some areas, and we advance in others,” Abu Talha said. “If we are pushed back in Iraq, we advance in northern Syria. These strikes cannot stop us, our support or our fighters.” The precautions taken by fighters ahead of the airstrikes were confirmed by an IS deserter as well, who spoke to CNN form Turkey with his face covered. “They almost entirely emptied out the headquarters,” the defector, using the name Abu Omar, told CNN’s Arwa Damon in Turkey. “Some equipment they hid in civilian neighborhoods.

Some they hid underground.” On the issue of foreign fighters, Abu Omar said that the French are “even more extreme than we are”. The former IS fighter said that he still aspires to see a ‘caliphate’ in the region but that he had been thinking about leaving IS for a long time. “I saw a 70-year-old sheikh killed in front of me,” he said. “The ‘Islamic State’ can’t continue like this. … There are a lot of youth who are joining — 14, 15 years old. Maybe my voice can make them think again.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Yemen: Sanaa: Shiite Suicide Bomb Attack Leaves 15 Dead and Over 50 Injured

The bomber struck a hospital, used as a base of operations by the rebel group, in the town of Majzar, in the province of Maarib, east of the capital. Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia linked to al Qaeda behind attack. Saudi Arabia says political instability in Yemen poses a global threat.

Sanaa (AsiaNews / Agencies) — the death toll from a suicide bombing that took place yesterday in the town of Majzar, in the province of Maarib, east of Sanaa, capital of Yemen has risen to 15. A suicide bomber linked to al Qaeda, on board a car packed with explosives, hit a hospital used as a logistics and operational base by the rebel Shiite Houthi movement, which have laid siege to the capital in recent weeks and obtained the formation of a new government.

On 21 September, the rebel group conquered large areas of Sanaa and several buildings of strategic importance, including government offices and state television at the end of four days of fighting with the Sunni Islah troops. In spite of an agreement signed with the Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to become part of the new coalition government, the Shiite militiamen do not intend to abandon the capital.

The Sunni Islamist movement affiliated to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have issued a statement claiming “dozens of dead and wounded,” from the Houthi group. It was an “act of martyrdom” by an “Ansar al-Sharia” militant who blew himself up “in a car packed with explosives.”

The Islamist group adds that the goal was the hospital of Al-Jafra, transformed by the Houthi fighters into a base of operations in the province of Maarib. According to some local tribals in the area, in addition to the 15 deaths there are more than 50 injured, some in serious condition. At present there have been no official statements from the Houthi leader.

After targeting US military and civilian posts, the Sunni militiamen of Ansar al-Sharia diverted their attention on Shiite rebels, branded as heretics. Last week, they attacked Houthis in the northern province of Sadaa, considered a stronghold of Shiite rebels.

In a Middle Eastern context marked by outbreaks of violence and war, Washington and the Arab countries see Yemeni stability as a priority, given its closeness to Saudi Arabia and the presence of maritime trade routes (through the Gulf of Aden) of strategic importance ..

In a speech at the UN yesterday Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, said that the situation in Yemen represents an “unprecedented challenge” and constitutes a “threat” to international security. He added that the agreement on the creation of a new government foundered because the Houthis have refused to “abandon the controlled areas of the capital.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Don’t Interfere in Hong Kong China Warns US

‘Illegal rallies’ says Beijing

(ANSA) — Rome, September 29 — China on Monday warned the US and other countries not to interfere in the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

The protests are an internal affair, the ministry told the South China Morning Post.

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters are blocking Hong Kong’s streets, shutting down its business hub and ignoring appeals to leave.

The demonstrations have spread to other areas including a shopping district and a residential area.

Riot police withdrew on Monday after overnight clashes in which they used batons and fired volleys of tear gas to try to disperse the crowds.

China has warned other countries not to support the “illegal rallies”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hong Kong Protests: Police Violence “A Boomerang Against the Government”

A Catholic source in the city tells AsiaNews that “police behaviour shocked people”. Increasingly, Hongkongers want democracy. “Now the only way out is for Leung to resign” and open channels of communication.” Protest turnout is increasing. Kowloon Peninsula is blocked.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — Police violence against students “has turned out to be a boomerang for the government. The sight of agents charging young people, all peaceful with hands raised, has shocked people. Ordinary people are now joining in the protests, not only in the central part of the city, but also at crucial points on Kowloon Peninsula, which has been blocked by protesters,” said a Catholic source in Hong Kong, anonymous for security reasons.

According to the source, police and local authorities “thought they could settle everything between Saturday and Sunday night, mopping things up cleanly and painlessly. Instead, today protests got underway with even greater resolve. Kowloon, Nathan Road, Mong Kok, and Central are occupied. No single group is behind it. There is no single organisation. It is the voice of the people in the streets.”

Occupy’s resumed its peaceful protests after the National People’s Congress on 1 September effectively ended all chances real democratic reform in Hong Kong.

The group’s call for action were heeded by the Hong Kong Student Federation, which led a week-long class boycott starting on 22 September, heeded even by high school students.

After the police forcefully removed and arrested some student leaders, Occupy leaders decided to take to the streets to show their support, an action that police met with more violence.

The authorities in Beijing, the source said, “established a set of rules for Hong Kong that leave no room for manoeuvre or negotiation. However, what has angered people the most was the behaviour of the chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, who acted in a contemptuous manner towards the students and the protesters.”

“Now the only way out is for Leung to resign. China might sacrifice him to save face and pacify the situation.” Still, this leaves little hope for the future.

“I do not think Beijing can back off on reform; however, it has to give something to the people. Leung could not or would not properly assess the local situation. This is why if he quit, this could lead to peaceful negotiations.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Hong Kong: Day Two of Occupy Central. Police Violence Comes Under Fire

The downtown streets are closed: Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay. In Kowloon, Nathan Road, Mong Kok and Argyle Street closed. Schools and banks closed. The teachers union joins the strike. Overnight police used batons, spray, tear gas to disperse protesters, who are demanding the resignation of Leung Chun-ying. Beijing slams the movement as “illegal”.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — Tens of thousands of demonstrators continue to occupy the main streets of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon on day two of the Occupy Central campaign demanding full democracy the territory’s elections.

Last night, protesters occupied the area of Admiralty, near the government offices. Police in riot gear attempted to disperse the crowd with batons, pepper spray and tear gas, but it has had the opposite effect: many Hong Kong inhabitants on seeing this use of violence, joined the protesters, occupying wider areas. Late in the night, in addition to Admiralty, there were occupations of Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, a part of Nathan Road, Mong Kok and Argyle Street.

This morning, commuters had to find alternative routes. Over 200 buses were canceled; the tram service suspended, some subway stations were closed.

Many banks, at least 17, based in Central are closed until further notice. The meetings at the Legco (Hong Kong parliament) are suspended.

All schools in the city center are closed because the teachers’ union — which has 90 thousand members — decided to go on strike for a “real universal suffrage” and until the chief executive Leung Chun-ying steps down.

Trade unionists, politicians, ordinary people were shocked by the violence used by police against unarmed students and peaceful demonstrators.

The Hong Kong authorities have condemned the demonstrations as illegal, and are demanding their dissolution. Occupy Central is now also seeking Leung’s resignation for having manipulated information passed to Beijing on the desire for democracy in the region and for not wanting to meet with students on strike last week, indirectly fuelling police violence.

Images and news reports on the events in Hong Kong are spreading through social networks to China. Some of these, such as Instagram, which posts pictures, seems to have been blocked.

Xinhua and the Global Times, a newspaper close to the People’s Daily, rather than reporting on events on the ground have simply republished the statements of Hong Kong’s Executive and China response in claiming that the Occupy Central movement is “illegal” and “undermines the international image of Hong Kong, presenting a turbulent image of the city to the world “.

But public opinion in Hong Kong is the exact opposite. Anson Chan, former secretary general of the executive, said: “This is a sad day for Hong Kong. Images of police throwing tear gas and pepper spray in the face of unarmed demonstrators shames our government in front of the whole world”.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Phillipines Kidnapped Germans Issue Appeal

‘Free us,’ they ask German govt

(ANSA) — Berlin, September 29 — Two German tourists kidnapped by Islamists in the Philippines on Monday appealed to the German government to make “every effort” to free them.

The Abu Sayyaf group has demanded that the German government stop supporting US action against Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria and wants a ransom paid for the captives. It says it will behead one of them if the demands are not met by 10 October.

“Hopefully, our government will do all they can to get me free,” a male captive, who identified himself as a medical doctor, told a radio station based in Zamboanga City. “We were sailing on our sailboat and unfortunately I was taken hostage,” he said, adding that he was concerned for his health.

According to media reports, the two Germans were seized at gunpoint from a yacht between Malaysian Borneo and the southern Philippines in April. They have previously been identified by Philippine military officials as Stefan Okonek, a doctor in his early 70s, and Henrike Dielen, in her mid-50s.

In the radio broadcast, a female captive appealed to the authorities to get them out soon, saying that “living in the jungle is also very dangerous because we can contract any tropical disease”.

“I would also like to address the Philippine and German governments to do all they can because we are living in a difficult situation,” she said. “I really wish to see my family again…The situation here is very, very stressful.” Abu Sayyaf rose to prominence in the early 2000s by kidnapping foreigners. It has links with al-Qaida, although analysts and Philippine security sources say it has recently focused on obtaining ransoms and other criminal activities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Freighter Carrying 500 Migrants Docks at Crotone

Merchant vessel intercepted by authorities off Calabrian coast

(ANSA) Crotone, September 29 — A freighter carrying 500 illegal immigrants arrived at this southern port Monday after being intercepted by Italian authorities, maritime officials said.

The merchant ship, towed by a tug and escorted by coast guard vessels, docked at the port of Crotone and began disgorging its human cargo.

Hospital workers, civil protection staff and volunteers were on hand to help the migrants as well as police.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A Nigerian Prince Called Islam

Say that you get a tempting offer from a Nigerian prince and decide to invest some money in helping him transfer his vast fortune from Burkina Faso or Dubai over to the bank across the street. The seemingly simple task of bringing over the 18 million dollars left to him by his father hits some snags which require you to put in more and more of your own money.

Eventually you have invested more than you ever would have ever done up front just trying to protect the money that you already sank into Prince Hussein Ngobo’s scheme. And to protect your self-esteem, you go on believing that no matter what Prince Ngobo does, he is credible and sincere. Any failings in the interaction are either your fault or the fault of some third party. Anyone who tells you otherwise must be a Ngobophobe.

Now imagine that Prince Ngobo’s real name is Islam…

           — Hat tip: Charlie Marteau [Return to headlines]

6 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/29/2014

  1. I don’t think Hong Kong or China will ever reach the perfect status of democracy. For a country to be truly democratic it has to try and promote Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt or at home, to ask Turkey and Saudi Arabia to print their text books, appoint six consultants from Muslim Brotherhood to shape the democracy’s foreign and domestic policies, to purge the military from loyal ones and replace them with Nidahals and Haassans and Muhammads, let the universities’ curriculum dictated by islam, insist that islam is a religion of peace even after holding the head in the left hand, hate one’s culture and promote islam, replace one’s laws with shariah, justify muslim crimes, . . . etc.

    Now that’s true democracy. Anyone to join?

  2. >> Merchant vessel intercepted by authorities off Calabrian coast <<

    Why does Italy pretend to have a navy, a coast "guard," or even a government if all it can do is roll out the red carpet for "illegal" immigrants?

    Or did I just wake up in the middle of a remake of "Rocky Horror Picture Show"?

    • Colonel Bunny,
      The most clever observation of Italy’s pretense. What can Italy do? It is choked, as every other European country by a Satan called EU. If Italy takes the right decisions to protect itself, it will be blamed by other European countries, who also have the same problem, and it will be punished like a bad child by the EU.
      EU seems to be founded by Lucifer: EU rejects God, Christianity, Judaism, embraces islam, and does everything to promote islamic death culture and tries everything to weaken their own people and nations.
      It is sometimes difficult to think that one day Italy and other European countries has courageous men and women who stood in the face of injustice and executioner and never compromised on their honor and principles, and did battles: Garibaldi, the Irish martyrs, whose courageous speeches I never tire of perusing.
      Today “democracies” pretend to be democracies : They go to war to “sow the seeds of democracy” to convince and blind their own people that “democracy” is superior.
      Democracy is excellent if people and politicians are normal and if they don’t have the instinct of “I don’t know I don’t care”

      Western democracy is limited to electing the dumber one.
      And because there is so much bitterness and hatred between the “democratic” parties, they do anything to get elected even detrimental things to their own people and nations.
      By importing millions of jihadis western countries have reversed to Third World Countries in every aspect.
      Any muslim is perfect, nice, calm, polite and normal, until he beheads “an infidel”. Once he does that authorities know how to deflect the due blame and claim that the “jihadi” has nothing to do with islam and that he is crazy and needs more of our money and help.
      To hell with you perverted minds.

      • Hmm… Garibaldi was an admirer of Christian ideals, but also anti-clerical and a freemason. Why do some Christians assume that those of us who don’t share their faith are the enemy?

        • Hi Mark H,
          Enmity based on difference of faith is utter stupidity, unless that “faith” or philosophy, encourages you to hurt others.
          Nowhere in my reply did I embed any enmity to anyone, except for criminal behaviour.
          I just mentioned some noble people who believed in some noble principles, e.g. unification of their country, or standing their ground in defence of their country’s independence.
          In the past anyone who colluded with an enemy against his own country was called high treason. In the west it is called diversity and enriching your culture.
          You have to sort out all the signals sent to you by the media, politicians, . . . etc. You have to have a stand or a position for or against the different winds that blow around you. The media, politicians and academia have a stance: it is the one of crawling, creeping, trembling, grovelling prostrate to islam. Is that bad if I don’t share their “faith”?
          Blessed be those with open minds and solid principles of love and cooperation, and respect for all people who improve humanity’s conditions.

          • A gracious reply, Murad. When I see people referring to “Satan” I infer fundamentalism of some sort, but I daresay you were being rhetorical?

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