Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/17/2014

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the three MiG fighter jets captured from the Syrian air force by the Islamic State are now being flown by ISIS pilots. Witnesses report seeing the planes in the air being piloted by men who were trained by defectors from the Iraqi air force.

In other news, a transgender student at Wellesley College is being strongly opposed as a candidate for class diversity officer. Born a female, now that she has become a he the candidate is a white male and thus considered unsuitable for the position, since he would only help to perpetuate the patriarchy. And no, I am not making any of this up.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Diana West, Egghead, Fjordman, Insubria, Jerry Gordon, Phyllis Chesler, Vlad Tepes, 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
» Greek Banks to Receive Up to 15 Bln Euros From ECB
» Italy: Regions Lead Backlash Against Renzi Budget
» Political Wrangling Pushing Greece Back to the Edge
» Barack Hussein Obama: US is ‘One of the Biggest Muslim Nations’
» Obama Picks Ebola ‘Czar’: Ron Klain: Former Biden Aide President
Europe and the EU
» British Officials Uncover Hundreds of New Cases of Female Genital Mutilation in the UK
» European Car Sales Grow, Fiat-Chrysler Registrations Up 6%
» France Moves Closer to New Anti-Terror Powers
» Germany: Diverse Berlin Could Get First Mayor ‘With Accent’
» Greece: Evidence Exposes Golden Dawn’s Mystical Personality Cult
» Italy: Appeals Court Says Sex Was Sold at Berlusconi’s Parties
» Italy: Renzi Tells Regions to Cut Waste, Not Public Health
» Italy: Putin Sees Old Friend Berlusconi on Milan Visit
» Italy’s Islamic Center: Islam is Not Terror But Religion of Peace
» Sweden: Jimmie Åkesson on Sick Leave for Exhaustion
» UK: Terror-Related Crime ‘Stretches Police’ — Scotland Yard
Israel and the Palestinians
» Caroline Glick: There Should be No Palestinian State
» Palestine Resolution: USA Requests Delay, PLO Says No
Middle East
» Dead Jihadist in Syria Was Former Tunisian Footballer
» Did ISIS Perpetrate the Damascus Sarin Gas Attack in 2013?
» ‘Dragon’s Egg’: Marines Who Guarded Saddam’s Mysterious Bunker Fear Weapons Unleashed
» Dubai: Husband Divorces Wife Possessed by Djinn
» ISIS Gets Support of Yemeni-Saudi Branch of Al Qaida
» Islamic State Leader is a Former Muslim Brotherhood Member
» Islamic State ‘Training Pilots to Fly Fighter Jets’
» Islamic State Flying Three Jets in Syria: Monitor
» Kerry: Islamic State Not Due to Islam, But Due to Israel and Climate Change
» Saudi Arabia: Riyadh Sentences Shia Cleric to Death for 2011 Riots
» ‘Three Captured MiGs being Flown by ISIS in Syria’
» Turkey: Clashes Between University Students After Protest Against Attacks on Atatürk Statues
» UAE: Man Divorces Wife ‘Possessed by Genie’
Far East
» German Hostages Freed in the Philippines
» HK Government Ready to Talk With Occupy But on Beijing’s Terms
» Nuclear Reactors Near Active Volcanos in Japan Called Unsafe
» Philippines German Hostages Freed
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ebola in Lagos: Second Female Doctor Infected by Patrick Sawyer Survives; Tells Full Story
» Nigeria Schoolgirls to be Freed in Boko Haram Deal
Latin America
» Belize: Carnival Cruise Passengers Flagged for Ebola
Culture Wars
» Italy: Rector Orders Crucifix Count at Florence University
» Students: Transgender Woman Can’t be Diversity Officer Because She’s a White Man Now
» Did Jesus Save the Klingons?
» Saturn’s Moon Mimas Might Have Its Own Subsurface Sea

Greek Banks to Receive Up to 15 Bln Euros From ECB

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 16 — The European Central Bank (ECB) will further lower a “haircut” imposed on bonds offered as collateral by Greek banks for their borrowing from the Eurosystem, as Ana-Mpa reports today from Bruxelles. The Bank of Greece on Thursday confirmed that during a communication between Greek central banker Yannis Stournaras with ECB’s president Mario Draghi, the ECB expressed its intention to “loosen” the framework covering Greek banks’ borrowing with the aim to boost their liquidity. In its framework, the ECB is expected to lower a “haircut” imposed on securities offered by Greek banks as collateral to borrow from the Central Bank. According to reports, Stournaras and Draghi have come to an agreement to provide Greek banks with further funding worth 12 to 15 million euros. According to the latest figures, Greek banks’ borrowing from the European Central Bank totaled 42.6 billion euros in September.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Regions Lead Backlash Against Renzi Budget

Bill features 18 billion euros in tax cuts

(ANSA) — Rome, October 16 — Italy’s regional governments on Thursday led the backlash against Premier Matteo Renzi’s 2015 budget bill. The bill, which Renzi presented Wednesday, features a 36-billion-euro budget adjustment, with 18 billion euros in tax cuts and 15 billion in spending reductions.

The regional governments, which have seen their budgets cut severely in recent years as part of austerity measures, are being asked to collectively stump up four billion euros of those spending cuts, with another 1.2 billion coming from city councils. “The budget is unsustainable for the regions, unless you address health spending,” said Piedmont Governor Sergio Chiamparino, who is also chair of the conference of the regions.

Governors have also spoken of the possibility of having to raise local taxes.

Renzi, on the other hand, hailed the package as “the biggest tax cut in the history of the (Italian) republic” to help put the struggling economy back on the path to recovery.

He also hit back at the governors.

“We’ll meet the presidents of the regions. But let’s not fool ourselves,” Renzi said via his Twitter account, @matteorenzi.

“If we want to cut taxes, everyone has to reduce spending and demands”.

He also told the regions to “start with their waste, rather than threatening tax increases”. Chiampiarino retorted: “Those w3ords are offensive, can’t there be some waste to be found in ministries?”. The budget bill features an extra two billion euros for the national health system fund for 2015.

But it also has a “health-cut” clause for regional governments that warns if they fail to find the four billion euros in savings, the national government will cut health budgets.

Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Thursday that the 2015 budget will start tackling Italy’s jobs crisis, with unemployment over 12% and the jobless rate for under-25s over 40%. “The budget law will create jobs,” Padoan told the Radio Anch’io station. “There is money for those on low incomes”.

Five billion euros of the tax cuts will go to the abolishment of the labour-tax component of regional business tax IRAP. The bill also scraps social contributions for new workers hired on open-ended contracts for their first three years with a company up to a limit of 6,200 euros a year, according to a draft version of the bill seen by ANSA on Thursday.

Around 9.5 billion euros of the tax cuts will go to finance the 80-euro-a-month income tax bonus for low earners that Renzi introduced earlier this year.

Consumer groups and trade unions shared the regional governments fears about the budget on Thursday. The “recessionary” measures in the budget “hide a sting on consumers,” by forcing regional and local government to raise levies on health care and other services, said a statement from Elio Lannutti, president of ADUSBEF, and Rosario Trefiletti, president of the Federconsumatori.

Susanna Camusso, the head of the CGIL, Italy’s largest trade union federation, said the measures “do not respond to a real emergency in the country which is to create jobs”. Unions representing public-sector workers said the budget includes “wicked” cuts that will bring the public sector “to its knees” and lead to higher taxes at the local level.

In contrast Giorgio Squinzi, head of industrial employers’ Confindustria, said the budget featured “a whole series of measures that firms have been waiting for, for years”.

While the domestic front is in ferment, there is speculation that the European Commission may not see the budget plan as compatible with the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact and ask for corrections.

Renzi said that around 11 billion euros of financial coverage for the cuts will come from allowing Italy’s deficit-to-GDP ratio to drift up towards the 3% threshold allowed by the EU.

But the EC may decide that this means Italy is most doing enough to bring down its massive public debt of over two trillion euros.

Renzi, who has been leading calls for the EU to focus more on growth after years of painful austerity and wants greater flexibility in the application of the EU’s budget rules, appeared to anticipate possible criticism from Brussels.

The said the new lineup of the European Commission must be able to adapt policies to the current economic situation. “The new heads (of the Commission) must not just simply be new names, they must also interpret a new period,” Renzi told the Asia-Europe Business Forum in Milan ahead of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of leaders in the northern city. “We either get out of this together or there’ll be no winners of the crisis”. Italy has told the European Commission that it will reduce its “structural” deficit by 0.1% of gross domestic product between 2014 and 2015 in the draft budgetary plan it sent Brussels.

According to some reports, the EC wants a much bigger reduction in the structural deficit, which, unlike the nominal budget deficit figure, is adjusted for the business cycle. The draft budgetary plan said that the structural deficit will come down by 0.5% of GDP in 2016. Renzi’s government recently said in the revised version of its three-year economic blueprint, the Economic and Financial Document (DEF), that it will not be able to balance the budget in structural terms until 2017, one year later than its previous target.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Political Wrangling Pushing Greece Back to the Edge

Instability ever more of a risk, economy affected

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, OCTOBER 16 — Following a short-lived pause when international political and economic observers seemed convinced Greece was finally on firm ground, there is once more talk of risks to Greek stability due to the political system.

The government, after polls showing that the parties in it (Nea Dimokratia and PASOK) were losing ever more support, is now rushing to gain greater backing, make concessions, free itself of international creditors (IMF, EU and ECB) and get back onto international markets through ignoring the recommendations of the IMF and its European allies, who feel it is too soon for the country to get back onto the markets and that the required structural reforms have not yet been carried out. On the other side are opposition parties — and especially the radical leftist Syriza — which are taking advantage of the imminent presidential elections (Karolos Papoulias’s term ends in February 2015) to insist on calling early parliamentary elections, which would inevitably lead to a lengthy period of political instability. The Athens stock exchange has dropped below the psychological threshold of 1,000 points, interest rates on 10-year government bonds has risen above 7% and is thus back to March 2012 levels, sovereign wealth funds are shifting their money elsewhere and investors seem deeply concerned that the country may leave the agreements with international creditors early and about the risks that early elections would pose to the national economy. The government and opposition continue nonetheless to trade accusations in order to reach the “magic” number of MPs: 180 for the coalition government to be able to elect the head of state and to prevent early elections, and 121 for the opposition, which would pave the way for them.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Barack Hussein Obama: US is ‘One of the Biggest Muslim Nations’

Barack Hussein Obama gave an interview just days ago with the French television channel Canal+. In that interview, Obama echoed the words of his former DHS advisor Mohamed Elibiary when he said that Americans should be better educated about Islam, noting that the US could and should be regarded as a Muslim county. Obama called the US “one of the biggest Muslim nations.”

[Note from Egghead: For those who wonder whether Obama is more Muslim or Marxist, please note that Obama did NOT say that the United States is one of the biggest Marxist countries…]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]

Obama Picks Ebola ‘Czar’: Ron Klain: Former Biden Aide President

Obama on Friday appointed Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as Ebola “czar” to manage the government’s response to the deadly virus as anxiety grew over its possible spread, according to a White House official.

[Return to headlines]

British Officials Uncover Hundreds of New Cases of Female Genital Mutilation in the UK

by Phyllis Chesler

The British National Health Service— in a first-of-its-kind, just released study— has documented 467 “newly identified cases” of girls and women who had been genitally mutilated. Half live in London.

Previously, 1, 279 such girls and women were known to be receiving post-mutilation treatment. However, estimates suggest that up to “170,000 women and girls living in the UK may have undergone FGM.”

This is simply not acceptable.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not at all like male circumcision. Not only is the capacity for sexual pleasure destroyed, complications are routine and include bleeding, painful urination, cysts, dangerous and recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, the growth of scar tissue that make marital intercourse a nightmare and that turns childbirth into an experience of danger and torture. It increases the likelihood of newborn deaths. In addition, some girls and women develop fistulas and become incontinent. They are doomed to defecate and urinate without control. Absent effective surgery, this is a life-long condition which leads to the woman being shunned by her family.

And then there is a life-long post-traumatic stress disorder that normally accompanies the experience of having been forced into such suffering, usually by your mother or grandmother, and at the hands of a female specialist.

This is a grim picture indeed. But matters are far worse in non-Western countries. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization estimated that 125 million women have been genitally mutilated. They confirmed that this hellish procedure renders absolutely no health benefit and, on the contrary, harms its victims beyond measure and violates their human rights. As we know, the practice is common in 29 countries: in the Arab Muslim Middle East and in parts of Muslim, Christian, and animist Africa. According to UNICEF, “91% of married Egyptian women between 15-49 have been subjected to FGM.”

           — Hat tip: Phyllis Chesler [Return to headlines]

European Car Sales Grow, Fiat-Chrysler Registrations Up 6%

13th consecutive increase in September

(ANSA) — Turin, October 17 — The European automobile market grew for the thirteenth straight month in September, the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) said Friday.

Vehicle sales rose 6.1% in September, year on year, to 1.27 million in the 28 member countries of the European Union (EU-28) plus European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Vehicle registrations soared by 26.2% in Spain. They grew 6.3% and 5.6% in France and the United Kingdom, respectively. September figures for Germany and Italy were up 5.2% and 3.3%. There were 9.91 million vehicle deliveries in the first nine months of the year, a 5.8% increase over the same period in 2013. Meanwhile, the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) registered 68,837 vehicles for the month of September in Europe, up 6% over the same month in 2013. It’s market share remained stable at 5.4%. In the first nine months of the year, FCA delivered 588,371 vehicles, marking 2.6% growth over the same period in 2013.

FCA’s market share of vehicle deliveries slipped 0.2% to 5.9%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France Moves Closer to New Anti-Terror Powers

France could soon have stringent new powers to crackdown on would-be jihadists after its controversial anti-terrorism bill passed another crucial hurdle this week. The law however, has been criticised by civil liberties groups.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Diverse Berlin Could Get First Mayor ‘With Accent’

For more than a decade, Berlin has been governed by an openly homosexual mayor. But is the city, renowned for its tolerance, ready for a leader from a Palestinian background? It may have to be.

Berlin SPD parliamentary leader Raed Saleh only needs to open his mouth to stand out from the crowd. Saleh came to Berlin at the age of five with his Palestinian parents, and although his German is beyond reproach, he speaks the language with a distinct Arabic twang.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greece: Evidence Exposes Golden Dawn’s Mystical Personality Cult

Evidence regarding the criminal activity of neofascist Golden Dawn, which is contained in a 700-page report submitted to a council of judges by prosecutor Isidoros Doyiakos, exposes a Nazi-inspired mystical personality cult centered around the figure of party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, Kathimerini understands.

“Loyalty to the leader,” says the prosecutor based on confiscated footage and testimonies taken from five protected witnesses, “was sealed with a mystical oath-taking ceremony in a state of quasi-religious devotion.” These ceremonies were allegedly organized by senior members in the hierarchy, and took place during the spring and winter solstices.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Appeals Court Says Sex Was Sold at Berlusconi’s Parties

Reasons for acquitting ex-premier says prostitution did happen

(ANSA) — Milan, October 16 — An appeals court judge in Milan said prosecutors had demonstrated that women sold sex at Silvio Berlusconi’s “bunga bunga” parties in a document filed Thursday explaining why the ex-premier was cleared of criminal charges related to sex with an underage Moroccan dancer known as Ruby the Heartstealer. “The acts of sexual nature publicly consumed during the evenings and at Arcore can be regarded as having achieved certain proof as licentious performances” such as “strip dances”, “lap dances”, “simulation of sexual acts”, “touching of the breast, buttocks or other intimate parts (covered or naked), group dips in the pool, kisses”, the judge wrote. These sexual acts, which included “flirting”, for the “way and circumstances in which they were carried out, were clearly directed at stimulating the sexual lust of the owner of house (and his eventual male guests) and to procure favours in the form of donations or other benefits (payment of rents and bills, purchase of automobiles, jewelry; financing slush funds or work opportunities in show business”. The “greater earning power of staying the night” in Berlusconi’s company was “particularly coveted by the girls”, the court found.

The sexual acts must be seen “juridically within the typology of sexual acts for payment which constitutes prostitution”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Tells Regions to Cut Waste, Not Public Health

Premier responds to regional fears over 2015 budget

(ANSA) — Rome, October 16 — Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Thursday told regional governments to prune waste rather than cut public healthcare to meet new financial discipline in the state’s 2015 budget. “Cutting health services is unacceptable. Aren’t there too many managers or head physicians? Is it impossible to save on procurement or regional councilors?” wrote Renzi in a post on the social network Twitter.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Putin Sees Old Friend Berlusconi on Milan Visit

Putin meets Angela Merkel, both attend meeting on Ukraine

(ANSA) — Milan, October 17 — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night visited the Milan home of his old friend, former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi. The reunion was delayed by an hour due to Putin’s prior meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her hotel. Putin and Merkel were in Milan for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and attended a meeting on the Ukrainian conflict Friday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, French President Francois Hollande and British Premier David Cameron.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy’s Islamic Center: Islam is Not Terror But Religion of Peace

Boldrini at Rome grand mosque, no to violence in God’s name

(ANSAmed) — ROME, — “No to violence in the name of Islam”, “no to terrorism, Islam is a religion of peace”, are among the determined appeals made Friday by the Italian Islamic Cultural Center of the grand mosque in Rome and by Italian institutions represented by Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini. The Muslim community in the Italian capital and authorities together gathered to say no to the violence of extremists from the Islamic State (ISIS) and make the right distinctions between “terror and the Muslim religion”.

ISIS, Boldrini said, “is not only a threat to the West and the entire world, it is most of all a threat for the Muslim world”. Those who are damaged are “Muslim civilians, targeted in their souls by those using Islam to exercise power”. “They are discredited, making the lives of millions of people difficult”, said the House speaker.

Boldrini spoke determined words when addressing participants including several ambassadors of Muslim countries to Italy, a few MPs — from Khalid Chaouki to Senator Luigi Manconi, and former Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno — and several members of the Muslim community in Rome gathered at the center, the only Muslim entity legally recognized in Italy on the day of Friday prayers.

Many outside the mosque in Rome’s upscale Parioli district condemned ISIS’s violence and demanded the media and the Italian public opinion to make the distinction between terrorists and Muslims.

And the center’s leaders harshly condemned terrorism. “It is our duty to have a clear and non-negotiable position against anyone favoring these threats, anyone fostering conflict or aiding terror”, said secretary general, Abdellah Redouane. The phenomenon of “foreign fighters is alarming”, he admitted. “There are thousands of people who left Europe to go fight in Syria. But 20 million Muslims have instead remained home with their families in Europe, which is their home and which they want to protect with all those who live here. We have to be the ones to preserve it”.

There will never be “room for those who sow hatred”, Redouane concluded. “Our religion does not recognize itself in this violence. We must take a stance but we must be the first to be aware and have the intellectual honesty to recognize the genetic mutation that has occurred in some minorities”.

This concept was also stressed in a message by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. “A religious community that sees a not indifferent number of followers from different ethnic groups and various countries commit in its name inhuman, criminal and odious acts, cannot fail to reflect on the reasons why its members strayed”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Jimmie Åkesson on Sick Leave for Exhaustion

Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the nationalist Sweden Democrat party, has taken sick leave for exhaustion. Mattias Karlsson will take the reins in his absence.

The party became the Sweden’s third biggest after the national election in September, winning 12.9 percent of the country’s votes.

In his letter, Åkesson said: “Of course the work itself is wearing — all the travel, stress, constant homesickness — but mainly there have also been so many other things going on that have stolen energy and taken a toll physically and, not least, mentally.” Åkesson also said he had been ground down by his “opponents’ constant attempts to block” the party’s successes, media’s “often despicable campaigning journalism” and “the inexhaustible hatred of extremists”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Terror-Related Crime ‘Stretches Police’ — Scotland Yard

Police are being “stretched” by an “exceptionally high” number of inquiries into Islamist-related extremism, Scotland Yard has said. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley also said “dozens” of UK families had sought police help in stopping relatives travelling to Syria.

He spoke of a “step-change” in counter-terrorism as foreign conflicts such as the one in Syria attract UK nationals. Mr Rowley said the challenge for police would “run for years”.

Mr Rowley — Scotland Yard head of counter-terrorism — added that the threat featured a “new dimension”, amid growing fears over the influence of Islamic State (IS). He said officers were foiling several attack plots each year, including what he describes as “complex conspiracies” and “spontaneous yet deadly attacks”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: There Should be No Palestinian State

The New York Times online debating forum Room For Debate asked me to participate in an online forum regarding the rationale for recognizing the non-existent state of Palestine.

Here’s what I wrote:

When Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced his decision to recognize the non-existent state of “Palestine” earlier this month, he inadvertently gave the game away.

Lofven said, “A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful coexistence. Sweden will therefore recognize the State of Palestine.”

The Palestinians refuse to recognize or peacefully coexist with the State of Israel.

Like his coalition partner Hamas terror master Khaled Mashaal, and despite his sweet talk to Western audiences, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas has pledged, repeatedly, over decades that he will never, ever recognize Israel. During his speech to the UN General Assembly last month he reverted to PLO language from the 1970s, referring to Israel repeatedly as “the occupying Power,” and “the racist occupying State.”

So when Lofven recognized “Palestine,” he joined the Palestinian campaign to destroy Israel. He used the language of the “two-state solution,” to reject the Jewish state…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

Palestine Resolution: USA Requests Delay, PLO Says No

Rabbo, we will submit it to the UN by the end of October

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV — American Secretary of State, John Kerry, asked Palestinians to postpone the presentation of the United Nations Resolution for the recognition of Palestine until November and therefore after US elections, according to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, cited by the Palestinian press.

“I don’t intend to argue with Washington or any other international party but the Palestinian leadership is adamant that it must present its case to the Security Council” said Mahmoud Abbas who also assured Kerry that the conflict in Gaza would not resume.

Palestinian authorities intend to submit the Resolution on the Recognition of the Palestinian state to the United Nations by the end of October, despite the fact the United States asked them to postpone the bid, Abed Rabbo, PLO executive committee secretary, told the press in Ramallah.

“There is no excuse for a delay” stated Rabbo adding that he hoped the US would not use its veto power in the Security Council.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Dead Jihadist in Syria Was Former Tunisian Footballer

Selmi had joined Isis ranks, had played for Etoile Sahel

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCT 17 — The former Tunisian national football team player, Nidhal Selmi, was killed in Syria Thursday while fighting with Islamic State jihadi combatants, according to radio Shems, which spoke to the family of Selmi’s brother who also joined Isis’s ranks. Nidhal Selmi had a successful footballing career playing for teams such as Etoile Sahel, one of the most cherished clubs of Tunisia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Did ISIS Perpetrate the Damascus Sarin Gas Attack in 2013?

by Ilana Freedman and Jerry Gordon

When we posted on the special MERIA report by Jon Spyer on the probable ISIS Chemical Weapons (CW) attack that killed Kurdish YPG fighters in the village of Avdiko near Kobani, Syria, we referenced the mid-2013 gassing that killed 1,500 in the suburbs of Damascus “by the Assad regime”. However, there is evidence indicating that the horrific sarin attack in August 2013 may not have been perpetrated by the Assad regime at all, but rather it may have been the work of ISIS. Recent experience with ISIS demonstrates their willingness to behave far beyond the capabilities of any other terrorist organization. Moreover, the situation in Syria is complex, to the point of being bewildering to the Western mind. To oversimplify the events that take place in this strange and deadly war is both foolish and dangerous.Connect the dots. Was ISIS involved with gas attacks in spring 2013 and the August 2013 sarin attacks in Damascus? In addition, there is Spyer’s MERIA report of a mustard gas attack that killed Kurdish YPG fighters in July 2014. Did the ISIS attackers used Mustard gas looted from the Al-Muthanna complex as cited in the NP report by a British expert?

Whatever the history of ISIS’ learning curve, it is clearly rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. In only a few short years, ISIS has acquired a formidable capability to undertake genocidal attacks in both Syria and Iraq akin to that perpetrated against Kurds in Halabja in 1988. The choice which now faces the West is not whether to stop ISIS on its deadly rampage against civilization, but how to do so effectively and permanently? To do otherwise will be to unleash ISIS against targets worldwide and put our civilization as we know it at terrible deadly risk.

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

‘Dragon’s Egg’: Marines Who Guarded Saddam’s Mysterious Bunker Fear Weapons Unleashed

The U.S. Marines who guarded the sprawling complex in northwest Iraq where Saddam Hussein’s 1980s war machine churned out some of the most deadly chemical and biological weapons known to man had a name for one especially mysterious bunker: The Dragon’s Egg.

With reports that Islamic State fighters may have used chemical weapons to attack the Syrian city of Kobani earlier this summer, Hartley also wonders if the contents of the mysterious bunker known as Dragon’s Egg have been unleashed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dubai: Husband Divorces Wife Possessed by Djinn

A court granted a divorce to a man after he discovered that his wife was possessed by a djinn and refused to go to bed with him.

The man lodged a divorce case against the woman after she repeatedly refused to have sex with him and her family informed him that she was possessed by a djinn.

The man’s lawyer, Hamda Makki, told the court: “The woman and her family cheated my client. They should have been honest and clear about the fact that the wife was possessed by a djinn. He was only told about the djinn after the problem escalated. The woman does not deserve any allowance.”

The Dubai Appeal Court upheld the divorce. However, it cancelled the primary court’s decision pertaining to the Dh40,000 in alimony.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ISIS Gets Support of Yemeni-Saudi Branch of Al Qaida

Calls for attack on U.S. and support for ISIS battle

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, OCTOBER 17 — The Yemeni-Saudi branch of Al Qaida — Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ((AQAP) — on Friday expressed support for “fighters in Iraq and Syria” bombarded by the anti-ISIS coalition. The terror network called for an economic and military attack against America because Washington has inspired the new military campaign, SITE reports.

The Yemeni-Saudi branch of Al Qaida, along with calling on militants to hit the US and back fighters in Syria and Iraq, also asked all Muslims to “support their brothers, with their souls, money and words in their battle against the crusaders”.

AQAP also called for the unity of fighters against the Coalition that has launched a campaign against “all of Islam”.

This is the first time Al Qaida is openly backing anti-Coalition fighters, and thus ISIS indirectly.

Its leader Ayman Al Zawahiri disavowed a few months ago the group led by al Baghdadi, although jihadist cells and armed groups have progressively embraced the Islamic State’s black flag. The setting up of an Indian branch of the organization, announced by Al Zawahiri in a recent video after a long silence, appeared to many observers as an attempt to tone down ISIS’s growing success, also in the media.

Ever since the death of Osama bin Laden, growing rivalries among the terror network’s various leaders have emerged.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Islamic State Leader is a Former Muslim Brotherhood Member

In a new video interview, Shiekh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most respected clerics in the Muslim community and spiritual father of the Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed that the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was once a member of the Brotherhood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Islamic State ‘Training Pilots to Fly Fighter Jets’

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets, according to a UK-based activist group that monitors the conflict.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said witnesses had seen the planes being flown around a military airport in Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces have launched an attack on IS militants near Tikrit.

The city was among the areas in Syria and Iraq seized by IS this year.

Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the SOHR, said IS was using Iraqi officers who were pilots under ex-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to train fighters in Syria.

“People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back,” he said…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Islamic State Flying Three Jets in Syria: Monitor

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air.

The group, which has seized swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report and U.S. Central Command said it was not aware of Islamic State flying jets in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kerry: Islamic State Not Due to Islam, But Due to Israel and Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday night rejected any link between Islam and extremism practiced by the likes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), pointing instead to factors such as poverty among youthful Mideast populations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and climate change.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia: Riyadh Sentences Shia Cleric to Death for 2011 Riots

Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was arrested two years ago for causing unrest in the oil-rich, Shia-majority Eastern Province. Shias accuse Sunni authorities of discrimination. During the arrest, police shot him four times in the leg. Days of violent rioting followed.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) — A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced to death an influential Shia cleric for “sowing discord” and “undermining national unity”.

Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr strongly supported anti-government protests in the country’s Eastern Province in 2011, during Saudi Arabia’s “Arab Spring”. His brother confirmed the news.

Arrested by Saudi authorities two years ago, he was shot by police in the leg four times in disputed circumstances as they detained him after a car chase in Eastern Province’s Qatif district.

His arrest prompted days of Shia protests.

However, his family disputed the allegation, claiming that he supported only peaceful protests and eschewed all violent opposition to the government.

The oil-rich Eastern Province is home to a Shia majority that has long complained of marginalisation at the hands of the Sunni Wahhabi royal family.

Protests began there in February 2011 after the start of a pro-democracy uprising in neighbouring Bahrain, which has a Shia majority and a Sunni royal family.

For their part, Saudi authorities deny discriminating against Shia and blamed Iran at the time for stirring up discontent.

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

‘Three Captured MiGs being Flown by ISIS in Syria’

Iraqi pilots who deserted from Baghdad air force

(ANSA) — Beirut, October 17 — Islamic State (ISIS) has captured three MiG fighter planes from the Syrian air force east of Aleppo and they are being flown by Iraqi deserter pilots in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Clashes Between University Students After Protest Against Attacks on Atatürk Statues

Clashes erupted between rival student groups on Oct. 17 at Ege University in the Aegean province of Izmir. A group of students had gathered at the campus to condemn attacks on Atatürk statues and Turkish flags during protests against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that recently erupted across the country.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UAE: Man Divorces Wife ‘Possessed by Genie’

A court in Dubai has granted a divorce to a man who says his wife is possessed by spirits and refuses to have sex with him, reports suggest.

After persistently denying him sex, the woman finally told her husband to discuss the issue with her parents, the Gulf News daily reports, without naming the couple.

They told the man that his wife was, in fact, possessed by a jinn, and that several religious scholars had unsuccessfully tried to exorcise the spirit, the paper says.

In Arabic mythology, jinns — or genies — are spirits able to take human and animal forms and to exercise supernatural influence over humans.

The court awarded the husband the divorce, but asked him to pay around 40,000 dirhams (almost 11,000 US dollars or 6,800 UK pounds) in maintenance to his ex-wife.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Hostages Freed in the Philippines

A German couple held hostage for six months by an Islamist group in the Philippines has been freed, according to a military spokesman. The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf has claimed they received the demanded ransom.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

HK Government Ready to Talk With Occupy But on Beijing’s Terms

For the protesters, talks are “useless” because of the government’s pre-conditions. The authorities want to destroy and suppress the movement. Clashes between police and students take place over night. Seven police agents seen in video beating a defenceless protester are suspended.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — Hong Kong’s government is ready to talk with Occupy protesters but only on terms set by Beijing, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (pictured left) said at a press conference this afternoon. The meeting could be scheduled for next week but many Occupy Central members and students have already rejected the proposal as “useless”.

For two weeks, the protest movement has occupied some central areas in Hong Kong, demanding full democracy for the territory. In 2004, Beijing had promised democratic elections for 2017. At the end of last August, China’s National People’s Congress decided that Hong Kongers would be able to vote for a new chief executive, but reserved the right to choose who and how many would run.

The long sit-in by students and pro-democracy groups has had the effect of rejecting precisely the conditions set by China. At the same time, protesters have been calling on Leung to resign for his inability to represent the city’s wishes vis-Ã -vis Beijing.

Over the past year, some 800,000 people have taken part in other protests, voted in a referendum and read publications by Occupy Central movement. And yet, Leung never mentioned this in his meetings with Beijing.

For Siu Kam-To, 19, student at Hong Kong University, “They’re saying that they want to negotiate without any preconditions from us, and yet they just set one — the framework from the National People’s Congress. If the government insists on sticking to what the National People’s Congress says, then I don’t really see what negotiations can achieve.”

Another very strange thing is that the chief executive is ready to talk with the Student Federation, but not with other student organisations, or with members of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement, that is the same groups that have actively participated in the sit-in and worked for years on the issue.

According to another student, Leung “is just wearing the protesters out so that in the end, when the crowd lessens, he can crack down on us hard.”

Indeed, in the past two weeks, police have engaged in gratuitous acts of violence against peaceful and helpless demonstrators.

Two days ago, a pro-democracy activist, Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, was beaten for several minutes, and then arrested. A video gone viral clearly shows such police brutality. In this case, seven police officers have been identified and suspended from duty.

Early on in the sit-in, hundreds of police agents attacked a group of students with batons, tear gas and pepper spray.

In Mong Kok, groups of thugs — including members of the Chinese mafia — attacked demonstrators as the police looked on.

Last night, clashes pitted police and youth trying to re-occupy an area the police had cleared yesterday.

The Catholic Church in Hong Kong supports calls for democracy and acknowledges the value of civil disobedience. Card Joseph Zen himself expressed his closeness to the students, including their nighttime sit-in.

However, he, like many other activists and pro-democracy advocates, believes that the time has come to end the occupation in order to fight for democracy by other means. Having mobilised so many Hong Kongers around the issue is already a great achievement.

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

Nuclear Reactors Near Active Volcanos in Japan Called Unsafe

A prominent volcanologist disputed Japanese regulators’ conclusion that two nuclear reactors were safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying Friday that such a prediction was impossible.

A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanos surrounding the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan could not only hit the reactors but could cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, head of a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Philippines German Hostages Freed

Held by Abu Sayyaf since April

(ANSA) — Berlin, October 17 — Two German hostages held by Philippines Islamist group Abu Sayyaf since April were freed Friday, German news agency DPA said citing a local radio station.

An Abu Sayyaf member said Germany had paid a ransom.

Last month the jihadist group threatened to kill the hostages unless Germany stopped supporting United States air strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria and Iraq.

Germany replied that its anti-ISIS strategy would not change.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ebola in Lagos: Second Female Doctor Infected by Patrick Sawyer Survives; Tells Full Story

Dr. Ada Igonoh of First Consultants Hospital, one of the doctors who attended to the late Patrick Sawyer who brought in Ebola into the country, has finally spoken.

In her inspiring piece sent to Bellanaija, the doctor disclosed how she got infected with the virus but miraculously survived it.

“This was a battle for my life but I was determined I would not die. Every morning, I began the day with reading and meditating on Psalm 91.”

[Note from Egghead: Good to read to know the progression of symptoms and treatment without drugs (namely excessive hydration to replace lost body fluids).]

           — Hat tip: Egghead [Return to headlines]

Nigeria Schoolgirls to be Freed in Boko Haram Deal

Ceasefire agreed

(ANSA) — Rome, October 17 — Scores of Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militant group Boko Haram are to be freed as part of a ceasefire deal reached Friday with the Lagos government, the BBC reported.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Belize: Carnival Cruise Passengers Flagged for Ebola

There is a major developing story in the Belize harbor this evening — and it is that two cruise ship passengers who have been flagged as possible Ebola cases — are on a boat tender trying to come into Belize City tonight for movement to the PGIA where an air ambulance is reportedly waiting. But, our information says Belizean authorities are currently refusing them entry to Belize so that they can get to the airport. Those authorities are asking that they be sent back to the cruise ship. That’s where it is at this hour — and there is no official information — though we have been trying to reach multiple senior persons in the ministry of health. The tender reportedly remains in the harbor — between the cruise ship and Belize City — with US authorities seeking assistance of Belizean authorities to grant them passage. It is reportedly a couple. Again, no confirmation at this hour but more than one credible report.

We’ll keep following this and have more tomorrow…


           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

Italy: Rector Orders Crucifix Count at Florence University

Census follows request from students to have them removed

(ANSA) — Florence, October 16 — The rector of the university of Florence, Alberto Tesi, on Thursday ordered the crucifixes on display in the institution’s lecture theatres and other spaces to be counted pending examination of a request to have them removed.

The application comes from a group of left-wing students and has been lodged with the academic senate.

It will be this body, and not the rector in person, that will decide on the matter, Tesi explained. “This is the body appointed to rule on such things, the decision is collegial and will be reached when the time is right,” Tesi said. The presence of crucifixes in public institutions has long been a subject of heated debate in Italy, which is officially a secular state but where the Catholic Church and the Vatican wield strong influence.

In March 2011 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the display of the Christian symbol did not breach non-Catholic families’ rights.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Students: Transgender Woman Can’t be Diversity Officer Because She’s a White Man Now

A student who was born female felt perfectly comfortable identifying as a man at Wellesley College — until people said he shouldn’t be class diversity officer because he is now a white male.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Did Jesus Save the Klingons?

If or when we make contact with extraterrestrials, the effect on our religious sensibilities will be profound, says astronomer David Weintraub

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saturn’s Moon Mimas Might Have Its Own Subsurface Sea

There’s more to Mimas than meets the eye. The wobbles of one of Saturn’s smallest moons hint at an unusual make-up below the surface — perhaps even an ocean of water hidden underground.

Mimas isn’t the first of Saturn’s moon to show signs of being soggy. Enceladus spouts plumes of water at its south pole, perhaps seeded by a subsurface ocean. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is known to have rivers and lakes — albeit filled with liquid ethane and methane instead of water.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/17/2014

  1. Deconstructing the deconstructors

    Saving “Suicidal France”
    – Is the revolution near? Eric Zemmour doesn’t think so, but by his book he is hoping for a speedy awakening.

    “The goal of my book is to deconstruct the deconstructors, in order to accelerate the awakening.” Eric Zemmour, French journalist (No jornolist!)

    “Writing at Le Figaro, historian Jean-Louis Thiériot finds much to admire and much to deplore in Zemmour’s book. He praises him for his description of the hardships endured by the French people who live marginalized by massive immigration, globalization and the construction of Europe.”

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