Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/3/2014

A ship carrying illegal migrants from Turkey towards Greece capsized off Istanbul, and at least 24 would-be refugees drowned. Seven were rescued, and the Turkish Coast Guard is still searching for other survivors.

In other news, two Syrian rebel groups that were trained and armed by the USA surrendered to the Al-Nusra Front. The rebels reportedly turned over their American-supplied weaponry, including TOW missiles, to the al-Qaeda affiliate.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, 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
» 22,000 More Migrants Employed, 500,000 More Italian Jobless
» Another Aid Package for Greece Likely
» Greece: Government in Difficulty, Country at Risk Again
» Kohl: Mistake to Allow Greece Into Eurozone
» More Than 3.2 Million Italians Unemployed
 
USA
» Archeology: Evidence Scant for Ancient Muslims in America
» Britain’s Spy Chief Says US Tech Firms Aid Terrorism
» First Tenants to Move Into One World Trade Center
» NYC Ax Attacker Was Consumed by Desire to Strike U.S. Authority Figures, Police Say
» U.S. Fines 2 Korean Automakers for Misstating Mileage
» UNC Students Blame Capitalism, White Supremacy for Academic Scandal
» US Midterms: ‘A Nation Drawn Apart’
» US Supreme Court to Decide “Jerusalem, Israel” Passport Case
 
Canada
» Hollande Begins Trade-Boosting Trip to Canada
 
Europe and the EU
» Berlin Wall is Truly History: Free Market East is Overtaking West
» Boy Killed by Puck at French Hockey Match
» Comet Emits Cosmic Stench, Rosetta Spacecraft Reveals
» Dutch Jihadi Suspects Appear in Court
» Europe Has 421 Million Fewer Birds Than 30 Years Ago
» France: Foiled a Terrorist Attack in Paris
» France: Scores Arrested in Paris Protest for Dead Activist
» French See Le Pen as Most Effective Hollande Opponent
» Italy: Renzi Scathing of Conservatists in Democratic Party
» Italy: Flavian Amphitheatre Restoration a Good Idea, Says MP
» Italy: ‘On the Bride’s Side’ Proves Box-Office Success
» Norway is World’s Most Prosperous Country
» Podemos Party Revolutionizes Spanish Politics
» Ponta Wins First Round in Romanian Presidential Elections
» Professors Advocate Global Swedish-Style Carbon Tax
» Several ‘Planned Terrorist Attacks’ Foiled in France
» Sweden: A Spin in a Stockholm Therapy Taxi
» UK: Gambian Diplomats Used Their London Embassy as Front for Selling Duty Free Tobacco in £5million Scam
» Veteran Kohl Urges Europe to Persist
 
Balkans
» Fyrom: Athens and Skopje “Nowhere Near a Solution”, Says FM
 
North Africa
» Army Spokesman Says Fighting in Eastern Libyan City of Benghazi Sets Oil Tanker on Fire
» Egyptian Army Helicopters Attack Jihadists in Sinai
» Egypt’s Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis Swear Allegience to Islamic State
» ISIS ‘To Set Up Islamic Caliphate in Sinai’
» Libya: Violent Clashes for Benghazi Seaport
» Pro-Goverment Forces Advancing on Benghazi
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» Denmark Sends Emergency Help to Gaza
» Israelis Cracks Down on Stone-Throwing
» Netanyahu-Abdullah Secret Meeting in Amman on Al Aqsa
» Woman Sentenced to House Arrest for Defecating on Israeli Flag
 
Middle East
» Al Qaeda Forces in Syria Amass Near Turkey Border Crossing
» Al-Nusra Advances in Syria’s Idlib Area, Pushing Back Moderates, Activists Say
» Egypt, Gulf Arab Allies Discussing Anti-Extremist Military Alliance With Possible Joint Force
» Escape From Iran: Mother of Imprisoned Pastor Flees After Repeated Threats
» ‘I Have to Check Her Teeth’: Chilling Footage Shows ISIS Fighters at Slave Girl ‘Market’ Bartering for Young Women… With Green-Eyed Teens Fetching the Highest Price
» Iraq Anti-ISIS Offensive Planned, Syrian Rebels Suffer Blows
» ISIS Seeks ‘Ideologically Suitable’ Oil Expert to Run Fields
» Jordan Tourism Grows by 9 Percent
» Nurse Says She’s Tired of Treating ISIL Terrorists
» Saudi Activist Arrested Over Muhammad’s Beard
» Sex-Slavery and Sharia in the Islamic State
» Syrian Rebels Armed and Trained by US Surrender to Al-Qaeda
» Syria: Ship With Fuel for is Intercepted Off Cyprus, Reports
» Turkey’s Defense Spending Touches USD 13 Billion Mark
 
Russia
» Ukraine to ‘Re-Examine’ Strategy for Dealing With the Rebels
 
South Asia
» Another Death Ruling Puts Bangladesh Into Chaos
» More Than 60 Dead and 200 Wounded in Taliban Attack on Pakistani/ Indian Border
» Pakistan Border Attack Shows Islamists’ Strength
» Taliban Trying to Destabilize Region Beyond Afghanistan
 
Far East
» China to Quarantine Ebola Doctors Returning From West Africa
» Chinese Officials Arrested for Buying Corpses to Meet Government Cremation Quota
» Taiwan: Taipei: More Food Scandals: Industry Giant Tinh Hsin in Trouble
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» ‘Boko Haram’ Suicide Bomber Kills 20 in Nigeria
» Many Mysteries Still Surround Ebola
» Nelson Mandela’s Daughter to Become New South African Ambassador to Denmark
» Sierra Leone Loses Fifth Doctor to Ebola
 
Immigration
» At Least 24 Drown in Migrant Boat Sinking Off Istanbul
» Merkel: UK Exit Better Than Restricting Free Movement
» Turkey Searches Waters After Deadly Migrant Boat Capsizing
 
Culture Wars
» Abortion is Illegal and Wrong for Indonesian Muslim Leaders as Well
» Harvard University Workshop to Teach Students How to Have Anal Sex
» In the Land of Make-Believe, Racial Diversity is a Fantasy
» Italy: Principal to Investigate ‘Gay is Illness’ Lesson
» New York Times: Should Black and Hispanic Men be Banned From Chatting Up White Feminist Women?
» Russian Memorial to Steve Jobs Dismantled Because Tim Cook is Gay
» Sweden: Transsexual Woman Refused Police Training
» Where Are the White Men?
 
General
» Your Car is Watching You
 

22,000 More Migrants Employed, 500,000 More Italian Jobless

According to immigration 2013 report, jobs mainly low-scale

(ANSA) — Milan, November 3 — Employment has grown among immigrants in Italy, with 22,000 more finding a job in 2013, according to the 20th annual report on immigration drafted by the Ismu Foundation — Institute for the study of multiethnicity — and presented Monday in Milan.

However, the report said, 501,000 Italians lost their job last year, bringing the number of employed down to 20,064,000.

According to data released by Eurostat, jobs offered to immigrants are mainly low-scale with 29% of foreigners employed in a menial job — against 7% of Italians.

Also, 52% are skilled workers, 13% are white-collar workers and only 5% have a managerial position against 35.9% of Italians.

According to the Ismu study, less than one in 10 foreigners with a high school or college degree has a skilled job.

Over four out of 10 are overqualified for their job, a percentage which climbs to 50% for female workers.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Another Aid Package for Greece Likely

A senior EU official has said Greece will not be able to do without foreign financial aid next year either. He said the crisis-hit country would not be allowed to exit its current rescue program at short notice.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Greece: Government in Difficulty, Country at Risk Again

(ANSAMed) — ATHENS — Negotiations impasse between the Greek government and representatives the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank is proof that the Greek government has many difficulties to overcome, European Commission Vice-President, responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs Jyrki Katainen said to Ansa.

Katainen cited progress including the primary surplus in the state budget two years ahead of schedule — some of which has already been redistributed — and positive results from bank stress tests that will strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy and pave the way for the return of the country to international markets.

Athens must first convince creditors that is serious and working on the basis of a concrete plan, as creditors fear that, once control is losend on the implementation of the recovery plan, the political system will be tempted to return to the systems of the past. One concern is fueled by the fact that Greece has been for the past months in a long campaign by opposition parties that asks for an earlier return to the polls.

This is one of the factors that induce the representatives of the EU, IMF and ECB to ask the Greek government for “concrete proposals” to return to Athens and take control.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Kohl: Mistake to Allow Greece Into Eurozone

It was a fundamental mistake to allow debt-mired Greece into the eurozone, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl says in his new book “Out of Concern for Europe”. He is to present it Monday alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Frankfurt, German media reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

More Than 3.2 Million Italians Unemployed

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 31 — The unemployment rate in Italy rose to a record level of 12.6% in September, while the rate for youth under age 25 fell slightly, national statistical agency Istat said Friday.

The figures suggest the Italian economy continues to be roiled by its worst period of extended weakness since the Second World War, with some 3.26 million Italians officially unemployed in September.

That is the greatest number of jobless individuals searching for work in a decade, since the statistical agency began its current system of calculations in 2004.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Archeology: Evidence Scant for Ancient Muslims in America

Richard Francaviglia, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., argues that claims about pre-Columbian Muslims in the Americas, which have become increasingly popular since 9/11, provide a sense of ethnic pride for some contemporary Muslims. In an article in the current issue of the journal Terrae Incognitae, he writes, “The once seemingly esoteric subject of pre-Columbian Muslim exploration of the New World is now front and center in the so-called ‘Culture Wars’ of the early 21st century.”

The evidence for the presence of Muslims in America before 1492 is underwhelming.

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           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Britain’s Spy Chief Says US Tech Firms Aid Terrorism

Technology giants such as Facebook and Twitter have become “the command and control networks of choice” for terrorists and criminals but are “in denial” about the scale of the problem, the new head of GCHQ has said.

Robert Hannigan said that Isil terrorists in Syria and Iraq have “embraced the web” and are using it to intimidate people and inspire “would-be jihadis” from all over the World to join them.

He urged the companies to work more closely with the security services, arguing that it is time for them to confront “some uncomfortable truths” and that privacy is not an “absolute right”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

First Tenants to Move Into One World Trade Center

Thirteen years after 9/11, One World Trade Center is opening its doors for the first time. The building, which is now America’s tallest building, is welcoming publishing giant Condé Nast as its first tenant.

One World Trade Center, a 104-storey skyscraper, cost $3.9 billion to build, according to AP’s report. Much like the iconic Twin Towers that were destroyed in 2001, it now dominates the Manhattan skyline.

The 540-meter high tower was initially set to open in 2006 but became fraught with delays and political squabbles. For many, it symbolizes hope and a resurgence of the New York City skyline and the American society in general.

“The New York City skyline is whole again,” Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that owns both the building and the World Trade Center site, told AP. “The opening of this iconic building is a major milestone in the transformation of Lower Manhattan into a thriving 24/7 neighborhood,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

NYC Ax Attacker Was Consumed by Desire to Strike U.S. Authority Figures, Police Say

In the days since the brazen Oct. 23 daylight ax attack on NYPD cops, investigators have pieced together the final days and weeks in the life in attacker Zale Thompson, 32, who was shot and killed by police defending themselves.

Two sources briefed on the case tell ABC News that Thompson’s history paints the picture of a man consumed by jihadi philosophy and a desire to attack U.S. government and authority figures, egged on by the brazen attack on Canada’s parliament a day before.

“As of last Thursday, detectives had found 277 sites he visited within last nine months that had something to do with al Qaeda, ISIS, beheadings or jihad,” said one police source. “He’s been all over the charts.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

U.S. Fines 2 Korean Automakers for Misstating Mileage

The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that the Hyundai Motor Company and the Kia Motors Corporation would pay a combined $100 million penalty as part of a settlement for overstating vehicle fuel economy standards on 1.2 million vehicles, a violation of the Clean Air Act.

The penalty is the largest ever paid for violation of the Clean Air Act, government officials said.

“This type of conduct quite simply will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “The Justice Department, he added, “will never rest or waver in our discrimination to take action against any company that engages in such activities.”

[Return to headlines]
 

UNC Students Blame Capitalism, White Supremacy for Academic Scandal

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill blamed racism and heteropatriarchal capitalism for the recent academic scandal that has plagued the university.

Gathering Wednesday afternoon, members of the Real Silent Sam coalition gathered to share their response to the recently released “Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” which found that certain classes in the former African and Afro-American Department were created simply to keep athletes grade-eligible.

“In this space, we will not bend to the will of oppression! We will lift our voices to the administration and the world. We will reclaim our space in higher education. This is your space!” UNC senior Taylor Webber-Fields said to the crowd gathered on the front steps of one of the administrative buildings.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

US Midterms: ‘A Nation Drawn Apart’

Washington has been stricken by political deadlock and partisan rancor in recent years. With the Republicans tipped to win a majority in the Senate in this week’s midterm elections, will the situation get even worse?

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

US Supreme Court to Decide “Jerusalem, Israel” Passport Case

The US Supreme Court is about to decide Monday in the Zivitofsky vs. Hillary Clinton case, that involves a demand by a US citizen to have his birthplace denoted as “Jerusalem, Israel” on his passport.

At the center of the struggle between the Congress and the presidency is Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 to two American parents.

His passport says “born in Jerusalem” but his parents want “Israel” added to the place of birth, putting them at odds with the State

Department.

Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, but most of the international community refuses to recognize it as such.

Shortly before Menachem’s birth in 2002, lawmakers passed new provisions urging the president to take steps to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and allowing Americans born in Jerusalem to have their place of birth listed as Israel.

However, when then-president George W. Bush signed the law in 2002, he said he wouldn’t follow it because it “interferes with the president’s constitutional authority to conduct the nation’s foreign affairs.”…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Hollande Begins Trade-Boosting Trip to Canada

France’s president François Hollande began the first visit to Canada by a French leader in a quarter of a century on Sunday, when he flew to the country’s oil-rich west hoping to drum up trans-Atlantic trade.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Berlin Wall is Truly History: Free Market East is Overtaking West

Warsaw, Prague and Bratislava are all now significantly wealthier than Vienna.

Twenty-five years on, many of the capitals of Eastern Europe are now richer than their counterparts in the West. With freer markets, lower levels of state spending and debt, and mostly outside a dysfunctional eurozone, they look set to easily outstrip them. Since the Wall came down, most of the East has been moving in the right direction, and the West in the wrong one, with a dramatic impact on prosperity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Boy Killed by Puck at French Hockey Match

An eight-year-old boy died on Sunday as a result of injuries received when he was struck by a puck while watching the second tier French championship ice hockey match between Dunkirk and Reims.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Comet Emits Cosmic Stench, Rosetta Spacecraft Reveals

What does a comet smell like? A pungent cocktail of rotten eggs, horse pee and formaldehyde, apparently.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft caught up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Aug. 6 and has been taking measurements of the icy object ever since. The Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis instrument, or ROSINA, has detected some pretty stinky fumes coming from the comet’s coma, the fuzzy cloud around its core.

Comet 67P’s rotten-egg smell comes from hydrogen sulfide, and the horse-stable odor comes from ammonia. These scents are blended with the fainter almond smell of hydrogen cyanide, the vinegarlike odor of sulphur dioxide and the sweet-smelling scent of carbon disulphide, researchers said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Dutch Jihadi Suspects Appear in Court

A 23-year-old man accused of trying travel to Syria with a 16-year-old girl should be given 240 hours community service and a three month suspended jail sentence, the public prosecutor told a court in The Hague on Monday.

Imad el O is accused of taking the girl to Zaventem airport near Brussels in March 2013 without her parents’ permission. El O claims they were going to Egypt to study Arabic and Islam and then to get married, not to fight in Syria.

The girl was a willing traveller and had argued with her parents about her plans to leave with him and get married, he is quoted as telling the court by news agency ANP.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Europe Has 421 Million Fewer Birds Than 30 Years Ago

Europe has an estimated 421 million fewer birds than three decades ago, and current treatment of the environment is unsustainable for many common species, a study released on Monday said.

The population crash is related to modern farming methods and the loss and damage of habitats, according to the study published in science journal Ecology Letters.

The study found that about 90 percent of the decline occurred in the most common bird species, including grey partridges, skylarks, sparrows and starlings.

Meanwhile the population of some rarer birds had increased in recent years, likely due to conservation efforts and legal protections.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

France: Foiled a Terrorist Attack in Paris

A young Tunisian man, with prior petty crime convictions, was stopped at the end of the summer following his return Syria, for allegedly planning an attack in the Paris region, a daily newspaper reported on Monday. According to Le Parien, 20-year-old Mohamed O. was stopped upon his return Syria via Lebanon. His attempted attack is one of the three foiled attempts in the Ile-de-France in the last months. Prime minister Manuel Valls said, “the threat has never been greater.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

France: Scores Arrested in Paris Protest for Dead Activist

Scores of protesters were arrested in Paris on Sunday after gathering illegally to pay homage to an eco-activist who was killed last weekend during a demonstration against a controversial dam project.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

French See Le Pen as Most Effective Hollande Opponent

Sixty percent of French think that National Front leader Marine Le Pen is the most effective opponent on the right to President Francois Hollande, according to an Ifof survey for Journal du Dimanche. Le Pen came in far ahead of centre-right politicians Nicolas Sarkozy (21%) and Alain Juppe (8%).

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Renzi Scathing of Conservatists in Democratic Party

(AGI) Rome, Nov 2 — Change is good for left-wing parties, said Italian prime minister and leader of the Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Renzi, after several MPs of his party protested against labour reforms proposed by the Renzi government. “I have great respect for the demonstration by the CGIL (trade union) and for the MPs who participated. But I believe change is at the heart of left-wing parties. The part of the left that is unwilling to change we call the right,” Renzi said in a televised interview.

He added that the possibility of a party split did not worry him. “It was not a PD demonstration, there were just some MPs who participated. It’s easier losing a few MPs than losing votes. The labour reform is more upsetting for some MPs than for our voters. In the event of a split, which I don’t think will come, our voters will ask: what are you doing?” ..

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

Italy: Flavian Amphitheatre Restoration a Good Idea, Says MP

(AGI) Rome, Nov 2 — Archaeologist Daniele Manacorda’s suggestion of restoring the arena to the Colosseum is a very good one, all it needs is a little courage, Italian Heritage Minister Dario Franceschini said on Twitter. Mr Manacorda wants to reinstate the arena inside the Flavian Amphitheatre to restore it to its original condition. Mr Franceschini later also posted photographs showing the Colosseum with the arena and photographs of the way it is now.

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

Italy: ‘On the Bride’s Side’ Proves Box-Office Success

Director says film shows ‘Arabs as heroes, not victims’

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 3 — Almost a month after its release, the documentary ‘On the Bride’s Side’ has racked up record ticket sales and is still showing in cinemas.

The film has been called a “political act” by its directors, Gabriele Del Grande, Antonio Augugliaro and Khaled Soliman Al-Nassiry.

“We achieved 41,000 viewers in 25 days,” noted Del Grande, thereby reassuring the 2,617 grassroots producers that made it possible to produce the film, as well as its over 22,000 supporters on social media. “We haven’t had any police reports file against us, nor are we aware of any investigations underway.” ‘On the Bride’s Side’, which follows a fake nuptial convoy from Milan to Stockholm that the three directors took part in alongside five undocumented Palestinians and Syrians who had fled war and arrived on Lampedusa, is itself evidence of aiding and abetting clandestine immigration. If reported, the directors and protagonists could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison. “Our lawyers are prepared to defend us and to get the thousands of people supporting us involved,” Del Grande said.

“Our supporters are our shield. The success of the film is our greatest protection.” The film, released on October 9, distributed by Cineama and produced by Gina Films in association with DocLab, has drawn a great deal of media attention since the beginning of its crowd-funding campaign. It has managed to fascinate the public through the courage of those behind it, willing to risk jail to reawaken European consciences and to spark reflection on the issue of modern-day migration. After its success in Italy, in late November the film will be screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IFAD) and in December at the Dubai Film Festival. “Alongside its distributor Transit we will seek international distribution for our story, both in Europe and in the Arab world,” Del Grande said. “The film has received praise from Arab critics and the Italo-Arab public, since it is the tale of two equals, without any pity involved.” “Our film tells the story of a Euro-Mediterranean friendship, in which the foreign protagonists are heroes and not victims, and Italians and Arabs are taking risks together.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Norway is World’s Most Prosperous Country

It’s official! Norway has been ranked the world’s most prosperous nation, said a study on Monday.

Legatum Institute’s 2014 Prosperity Index ranked Norway as the most prosperous country in the world, with Switzerland at number two on the list.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Podemos Party Revolutionizes Spanish Politics

Poll shows ‘indignados’ now in the lead

(by Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, NOVEMBER 3 — Eight months after it first appeared on the political landscape, the party of the ‘indignados’, Podemos (‘We Can’), is revolutionizing Spain’s political landscape. According to a Metroscopia survey for El Pais, the party under Pablo Iglesias would win with 27%, some 7% ahead of Partido Popular under conservative PM Mariano Rajoy, which would get only 20.7% compared with the 44.6% seen in the November 2011 elections prior to recent corruption scandals. Podemas is trailed by the Socialists (PSOE) under Pedro Sanchez with 26.2%, compared with the 28.7% in the 2011 elections. Voter dissatisfaction is evidenced by the over 20% of abstentions and the about 18% of blank ballots or ones for other parties. Podemos has siphoned some votes off Izquierda Unida (IU), which fell slightly to 3.8% of votes, while the party under Rosa Diez, Union para el Progreso y la Democracia (UPyD) is still stable at 3.4%. While waiting for the forecasts to be corroborated by the October survey conducted by the state-run Center for Sociological Research (CIS), many analysts wonder whether Podemos may be a passing trend that is catalyzing protest against the political ‘caste’ and corruption — as 42% of its potential voters say — or whether it will end up being a solid political alternative. In its debut at the last EU elections, the party — which became official with the election of Pablo Iglesias as leader and of its board members — got 1.2 million votes and five seats.

It then confirmed its assembly organizational model with the decision not to run in May’s municipal elections under its own party name but to do so for the 2014 regional ones and the 2015 general ones. The two-party system, with PP and PSOE alternating in the government since the transitional period, seems destined to be replaced by coalition governments. Many analysts compared the situation to that of Italy after the early 1990s, when the ‘Bribesville’ scandal resulted in a wide-reaching investigation leading to the collapse of the then-dominant Christian Democrat and Socialist parties. Both the PSOE and the PP attribute Podemos’s rise to voters’ desire for change after repeated corruption scandals and both hope to recover support by speeding up reforms. The government party, which opposed a parliamentary session on corruption with a hearing for Rajoy, will in November present a draft law for party economic-financial monitoring. PSOE leader Sanchez has reiterated that he will not sign an all-encompassing anti-corruption pact with the government party, but may vote for measures in the lower house. Podemos founders, all political science professors or experts in the social sciences, are cautious about the Metroscopia poll results but say that they do point to a “political period of decomposition”. The aim, they say, is to win elections and occupy the “center of the chessboard” of politics by mitigating the demands of their most ‘revolutionary’ members. According to El Pais, 8% of PP voters would be willing to back Podemos, and some 31% of PSOE voters would be.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Ponta Wins First Round in Romanian Presidential Elections

Will face Iohannis in run-off election on November 16

(ANSA) — Bucarest, November 3 — Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta of the Social Democrat party, won 40.3% of the vote in Monday’s presidential election, not enough to capture a majority for a win.

Ponta will face Klaus Iohannis, leader of the National Liberal Party who captured 30.4% of the vote, in a run-off election on November 16.

Current Romanian president Traian Basescu, who appointed Ponta, will finish his second and final term in office in December.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Professors Advocate Global Swedish-Style Carbon Tax

As world leaders prepare to meet and discuss a new treaty against climate change, three Swedish professors argue the last major agreement has done more harm than good.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Several ‘Planned Terrorist Attacks’ Foiled in France

Several terrorist plots against France have been foiled in recent months including one planned to target the famous Nice Carnival, French security services revealed on Monday. The news comes as France remains on high alert for attacks from extremists.

Reports of the foiled attacks come after Islamic extremists from Isis called on followers to launch attacks on French soil, prompting the government to increase security at transport hubs and large shopping centres.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: A Spin in a Stockholm Therapy Taxi

Last week we reported that a taxi company in Stockholm was offering free therapy sessions for customers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Gambian Diplomats Used Their London Embassy as Front for Selling Duty Free Tobacco in £5million Scam

A group of Gambian diplomats used their embassy in London as a front for selling duty free tobacco in a £5million scam, a court heard.

The Deputy Head of the Gambian Diplomatic Mission, Yusupha Bojang, 54, and his colleagues are accused of ordering 32 metric tonnes of tobacco in just three years.

They abused a scheme which granted them a duty-free tax exemption on goods for personal use by using delivery drivers to send them more than half a million 50g pouches of rolling tobacco, Southwark Crown Court heard.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Veteran Kohl Urges Europe to Persist

Germany’s ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl has reiterated his belief in Europe’s quest for unity despite its crippling debt crises. His new book places the blame largely on a premature Greek entry into the eurozone.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Fyrom: Athens and Skopje “Nowhere Near a Solution”, Says FM

(ANSAmed) — ATHENS, NOVEMBER 3 — Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom) are “nowhere near a solution” to the name dispute, as daily Kathimerini online reports quoting the Balkan statelet’s foreign minister, Nikola Poposki, as saying on Saturday. “We are further away from a solution than we were a few years ago. I wish I were in a position to say that we are close to leaving this issue behind us, but reality mandates that we remain particularly cautious,” Poposki told Skopje’s Faktor website. In the same interview, the Fyrom official blamed the government in Athens for lack of progress in the negotiations, while adding that he was still waiting for a fresh proposal from United Nations special mediator Matthew Nimetz.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Army Spokesman Says Fighting in Eastern Libyan City of Benghazi Sets Oil Tanker on Fire

Libya’s army spokesman says an oil tanker caught fire amid fierce fighting between pro-government forces and Islamist militias in the central district of the eastern city of Benghazi, sending heavy black smoke into the sky.

Mohammed Hegazi told The Associated Press that Islamist militias fired rocket propelled grenades from high-rise buildings overlooking the port, hitting the oil tanker on Monday.

Clashes in Benghazi have killed at least 210 people dead since government troops backed by armed civilians started a campaign in mid-October to retake the city from Islamist militias.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Egyptian Army Helicopters Attack Jihadists in Sinai

(AGI) Cairo, Nov 2 — Egyptian army Apache combat helicopters attacked jihadist militia positions in northern Sinai on Sunday. Positions in the Sheikh Zuid and Rafah areas were targeted, state television reported. The armed forces arrested 13 Islamic extremists believed to be members of the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis group. Egypt has nearly completed the construction of a 10-kilometre security zone around the Gaza Strip to prevent the infiltration of jihadists into the country from Palestinian territory. Eight hundred and two houses in Rafah had to be requisitioned for the project, MENA news agency reported. The Egyptian government will pay the evacuated families 266 dollars per square metre for the homes they left behind, plus 42 dollars for three months to allow them to rent alternative accommodation.

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

Egypt’s Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis Swear Allegience to Islamic State

Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active militant group, has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, a statement from Ansar said Monday night.

Ansar had previously told Reuters that it sought inspiration and advice from Islamic State, the radical Al-Qaeda offshoot that has taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing US-led airstrikes as it tries to remake the map of the Middle East.

“After entrusting God we decided to swear allegiance to the emir of the faithful Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, caliph of the Muslims in Syria and Iraq and in other countries,” the statement said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS ‘To Set Up Islamic Caliphate in Sinai’

As ‘first step towards Jerusalem’; threatens Egyptian army

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 3 — The Islamic State (ISIS) has issued a statement saying that an Islamic Caliphate will be established in the Sinai, calling it the “first step towards the invasion of Jerusalem”. The statement threatens Egyptian security forces, which were suffered an attack on October 24. ISIS urged jihadists in the region to “destroy police checkpoints and stations, launch RPGs at their gatherings and show the world that the Rule of God must be imposed”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Libya: Violent Clashes for Benghazi Seaport

Ansar Al-Sharia given 12 hours to surrender, port area evacuated

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, NOVEMBER 3 — Violent clashes have occurred at the Benghazi seaport in eastern Libya, where Ansar Al-Sharia jihadists took refuge after the army seized other areas previously under their control.

Reports were from a Libyan military source, who added that the Libyan navy was moving towards the port under the command of Colonel Ibrahim Al-Fatmaani.

On Monday morning, inhabitants of the city’s port districts were urged to leave their homes ahead of the fighting. The army gave the militants 12 hours to leave the area, calling on them to give up and lay down their weapons, said security sources. Self-declared Libyan PM Omar Al-Hassi told Agence France Presse in an interview that fresh elections were needed in the country to put an end to the anarchy in the country since the Muammar Gaddafi regime was ousted in 2011. Al-Hassi is not supported by the international community, which recognizes as legitimate the government under PM Abdallah Al-Thani, who for security reasons is in self-imposed exile from the capital in Tobruk with the parliament elected on June 25.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Pro-Goverment Forces Advancing on Benghazi

Heavy fighting has been reported in Benghazi as the Libyan army pushes Islamist fighters back. A large ship has been set ablaze in the city’s port.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Denmark Sends Emergency Help to Gaza

Denmark will send an additional 25 million kroner in aid to Palestinian children in Gaza as Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard prepares to visit both Israel and Palestine next week.

The trade and development minister, Mogens Jensen, has announced a new 25 million kroner ($4.2 million) emergency package aimed at getting Palestinian children back into school.

“The situation in Gaza is extremely serious and the massive destruction of schools, health clinics and agricultural land has made it hard for Palestinians to get back to everyday life, which was already difficult,” Jensen said in a statement.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Israelis Cracks Down on Stone-Throwing

(AGI) Jerusalem, Nov 2 — The Israeli government has passed a bill introducing higher penalties for stone-throwing, which will carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail. This follows an escalation in tensions in Jerusalem following the visits of radical Israelis to Temple Mount. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting that Israel was cracking down on terrorists and people throwing stones, fire bombs, firecrackers and fireworks, in a bid to restore calm and security to the city as a whole.

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

Netanyahu-Abdullah Secret Meeting in Amman on Al Aqsa

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, NOVEMBER 3 — Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah met secretly on Saturday in Amman to discuss the situation of Al Aqsa/Temple Mount, Israel media reported as citing Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida.

According to media, Netanyahu committed to temporarily closing the site to Jewish visitors and increasing coordination with the Waqf, the Islamic religious institution which manages the site.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Woman Sentenced to House Arrest for Defecating on Israeli Flag

A left-wing activist and performance artist who took criticism online after posting videos of herself defecating on flags — including Israel’s — was sentenced by a Tel Aviv court Monday to two days of house arrest.

Natali Cohen Vaxberg was arrested by police on Sunday and was also banned from using the Internet for 30 days, according to The Jerusalem Post.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Al Qaeda Forces in Syria Amass Near Turkey Border Crossing

Syrian activists say Al Qaeda fighters are amassing in a Syrian border town in what appears to be an attempt to seize a nearby Turkish border crossing from Syrian rebels.

Assad Kanjo said Monday that Nusra Front fighters have been gathering in the town of Sarmada in the northern Idlib province, some 4 miles from Bab al-Hawa, an important Turkish border crossing.

If Nusra Front fighters seize the crossing, it would block an important supply line for Western-backed rebels.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Al-Nusra Advances in Syria’s Idlib Area, Pushing Back Moderates, Activists Say

(CNN) — Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra has taken over key districts of Idlib suburbs in northwestern Syria, ousting U.S.-backed Syrian rebels from their strongholds and raising fears of their wider ascendance in northern Syria, monitors and activists say.

The Islamist militant group, also known as al-Nusra Front, pushed the Syrian Revolutionary Front and the Hazm Movement out of the Idlib suburbs of Jabal al-Zawia and Jisr Alshugur, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group.

One observer suggested the al-Nusra moves had taken about 70% of the territory once held by moderates. But these moderates held little sway within military circles of the rebel movement, and they had influence mostly because of their links to the U.S.

Like ISIS, al-Nusra Front is trying to establish an Islamic state, though primarily in Syria. It has emerged as one of the most effective groups fighting the Syrian regime, drawing on foreign fighters with combat experience in Iraq and elsewhere. The group has claimed hundreds of attacks in several cities, including suicide bombings, and is responsible for the deaths of “numerous innocent Syrians,” the U.S. State Department said…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Egypt, Gulf Arab Allies Discussing Anti-Extremist Military Alliance With Possible Joint Force

The Associated Press has learned that U.S. Arab allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are discussing the creation of a military pact against Islamic militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East.

Four Egyptian military officials have confirmed the talks to The Associated Press. They say the alliance would be separate from the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Escape From Iran: Mother of Imprisoned Pastor Flees After Repeated Threats

The mother of Saeed Abedini, the American citizen imprisoned in Iran for his faith, has fled the Islamic republic and is making her way to the U.S. to await his return with his wife and two sons.

Friends of Abedini on Friday helped spirit the anguished mom and two of her other children out of the repressive nation, where she faced daily threats and intimidation for championing her son’s case, according to Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed, who has spent more than two years in an Iranian prison after being accused of proselytizing in his homeland. She is now safe in another country and awaiting passage to the U.S., said family members, who did not want to release her name until she was on U.S. soil.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

‘I Have to Check Her Teeth’: Chilling Footage Shows ISIS Fighters at Slave Girl ‘Market’ Bartering for Young Women… With Green-Eyed Teens Fetching the Highest Price

An unsettling video has emerged purporting to show Islamic State fighters bartering over Yazidi women at a slave girl ‘market’.

The terror organisation recently boasted of enslaving women from the Iraqi ethnic minority, and the men appearing in the clip explain it is ‘slave market day’.

The clip shows the men negotiating the price of the women, with blue and green-eyed young girls fetching a higher price.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Iraq Anti-ISIS Offensive Planned, Syrian Rebels Suffer Blows

Al-Nusra defeats anti-Assad fighters armed by Washington

(ANSAmed) — NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 3 — Iraqi forces and their US military advisors are preparing for a large-scale offensive next spring against the Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Al-Nusra have dealt a brutal blow to the Obama administration’s strategy in Syria by defeating moderate rebels trained and armed by the US in their strongholds in the northern part of the country and have captured their weaponry. Over the weekend, Jabhat Al-Nusra attacked cities and villages in the Syrian province of Idlib in an attack on the moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Washington Post quoted rebel commanders, activists and analysts as saying. The offensive is said to have sparked a large number of defections from the rebels. Many surrendered, fled across the border into Turkey or joined the ranks of the extremist Jabhat Al-Nusra, influenced in part by airstrikes by the US and allies in Syria, which many see as assisting the widely-loathed Bashar Al-Assad regime. The Nusra Front also defeated another group supported by the US, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), which was ousted from its bases in the Jabal Al-Zawiya region. The consequences of the losses in the northern region of Idlib, say several analysts, could be extremely serious for the rebels as well as for the Pentagon. Iraqis and hundreds of US military advisors are planning a spring offensive to get ISIS out of Mosul and the other regions connecting the region to Syria by the end of next year. However, this strategy depends in part on allied forces in Syrian territory, the ‘moderate rebel’ factions, which would have to be able to deal with defeated ISIS jihadists arriving from Iraq.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

ISIS Seeks ‘Ideologically Suitable’ Oil Expert to Run Fields

225,000-dollar salary; jihadists take over Homs gas field

(ANSAmed) — ROME, NOVEMBER 3 — The Islamic State (ISIS) is seeking an “ideologically suitable” candidate that would pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and would run its oil production, reports The Times.

The British daily quoted Russia Today as saying that the salary for the chosen candidate would be 225,000 dollars per year. The newspaper’s sources say that ISIS suffers from a lack of oil experts, since most of those with experience have fled.

Those who refuse to work are executed. ISIS currently controls many oil fields in Syria and Iraq, including significant ones in the second-largest Iraqi city, Mosul. Oil revenue is believed to be the main source of funding for the jihadists’ terrorist activities. Experts quoted by The Times say that it will be difficult to find an expert for that salary, since it it not enough to justify the risk involved. The daily said that oil production in the areas controlled by ISIS had fallen after engineers and technicians fled the jihadist takeover. ISIS is believed to generate some 2 million dollars per day in oil revenue. In Syria, ISIS announced on Monday that it had taken control of a second gas field in the central Homs province after a week of clashes against regime forces. The SITE Intelligence Group jihadi monitoring service was quoted by Russia Today as saying that ISIS has posted online photos of captured military vehicles and weapons as well as 18 photos of ISIS flags over the Jahar gas field.

On October 30, ISIS also captured the larger Sha’ar gas field.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Jordan Tourism Grows by 9 Percent

(ANSAmed) AMMAN, NOVEMBER 3 — Jordan tourism sector has recorded positive results during the first three quarters of the year, with a growth rising by 9 percent, official figures showed today.

Total revenues during the period mounted to $3.4 billion, compared to $3.1 billion during the same period of 2013, Tourism Minister Nidal Katamine said.

Katamine said the growth is due to an increase in the number of Gulf and US tourists, in addition to Jordanian expatriates returning to the Kingdom for vacation.

The large number of regional tourists that flock to the kingdom have increased as a result of turmoil in traditional tourists hotspots such as Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Nurse Says She’s Tired of Treating ISIL Terrorists

A nurse who works at a private hospital in Mersin, a city and province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, has told Turkish authorities and Parliament that she is sick and tired of treating members of the terrorist organization the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now calls itself the “Islamic State.”

The nurse, who was identified only by her initials, E.G., in a news story published by the Taraf daily on Wednesday, said of ISIL militants: “We treat them, and they go on to decapitate people. I am sick of treating wounded ISIL militants.” E.G. has also written a letter to Parliament and the National Police Department, saying she and her colleagues are extremely disturbed by the fact that they have to treat people “who chop off heads.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Saudi Activist Arrested Over Muhammad’s Beard

In a controversial tweet over beard distinguishing Muslims from non-believers, she noted, “Several atheists, Jews and Communists in the past had, and in the present have, beards, and even Abu Jahl [a polytheist pagan leader] had a beard that was longer than that of Prophet Mohammad”.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) — A Saudi activist was arrested for a statement in which she said that the Islamic saying that men should have beards to distinguish them from non-believers did not make sense.

Gulfnews reported that religious figures made formal complaints over a tweet Suad al Shammari posted online last year, which they deem was offensive to Islam and Prophet Mohammad.

Ms al Shammari is a co-founder of a Saudi Liberals group along with Raef Badawi, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence on charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and ridiculing religious figures.

The controversy that led to her arrest stems from a posting over the obligation for Muslim men to wear a beard. “Several atheists, Jews and Communists in the past had, and in the present have, beards, and even Abu Jahl [a polytheist pagan leader] had a beard that was longer than that of Prophet Mohammad,” she reportedly said in the tweet.

Shammari said she was not targeting Islam claiming earlier tweets supported her argument. However, several senior religious figures in the Saudi kingdom condemned her tweet, accusing her of denigrating Islam and targeting the Prophet, and calling for severe action against her, including putting her on trial.

According to a local news site, a commission to support Prophet Mohammad repeatedly called on Shammari to put an end to her ‘misleading and misinformed’ tweets that were offensive to Islam.

The commission also called on Saudi telecommunication authorities to shut down her accounts on social networks.

Shammari recently posted pictures on Twitter of a man kissing the hand of a long-bearded Islamic cleric. In her comment about his beard, she wrote, “Notice the vanity and pride on his face when he finds a slave to kiss his hand.”

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

Sex-Slavery and Sharia in the Islamic State

by Joseph S. Spoerl

It has become fashionable in many quarters to deny that the Islamic State is in any sense Islamic. This is inaccurate and unhelpful. The analysts at the Middle East Media Research Institute are correct in observing about the Islamic State that, “As for the atrocities against Yazidis and (fellow Muslims), and the persecution of Christians, these conform to ancient Islamic doctrines with regards to idolaters, Christians, and apostates to which the Islamic State is committed.” The Islamic State has a strong claim to be considered authentically Islamic according to classical Sunni juristic principles. That is part of what makes it attractive to the tens of thousands of conservative Sunni Muslims who are flocking to fight under its banner from all over the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Syrian Rebels Armed and Trained by US Surrender to Al-Qaeda

Moderate rebels in Syria that the US have armed and trained to fight jihadists have surrendered to al-Qaeda

Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the United States to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda.

The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the US-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles.

But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled in northern Idlib province.

The development came a day after Jabhat al-Nusra dealt a final blow to the SRF, storming and capturing Deir Sinbal, home town of the group’s leader Jamal Marouf.

The attack caused the group, which had already lost its territory in Hama to al-Qaeda, to surrender.

“As a movement, the SRF is effectively finished,” said Aymen al-Tammimi, a Syria analyst. “Nusra has driven them out of their strongholds of Idlib and Hama.”

The collapse of the SRF and attacks on Harakat Hazm have dramatically weakened the presence of moderate rebel fighting groups in Syria, which, after almost four years of conflict is increasingly becoming a battle ground between the Syrian regime and jihadist organisations.

For the United States, the weapons they supplied falling into the hands of al-Qaeda is a realisation of a nightmare.

It was not immediately clear if American TOW missiles were among the stockpile surrendered to Jabhat al-Nusra on Saturday. However several Jabhat al-Nusra members on Twitter announced triumphantly that they were…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Syria: Ship With Fuel for is Intercepted Off Cyprus, Reports

(ANSAmed) — NICOSIA, NOVEMBER 3 — Cyprus’ police have intercepted more than 20 containers of fuel heading for Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria, as Famagusta Gazette reported quoting online news portal BasNews. It is unclear if the fuel confiscation is related to a case of criminal activity involving ISIS currently being probed by police on the island. Citing Greek media, the report stated that 29 containers filled with fuel intended for IS in Syria was being transported by cargo ship, but was seized by Cyprus border guards. The move came after United Nations officials alerted Nicosia to the presence of the ship in their waters, the report adds. The ship ‘Floriana’, sailing under a Panama flag, arrived at in Limassol on 28th October. According to media reports, the final destination was listed as the Egyptian port of Alexandria. The intended recipient of the containers was a company based in Syria, on the United Nations black list. Sources say that it is directly linked to the Jihadi group. On Sunday, police said they were monitoring “unconfirmed reports” connected to possible criminal activity by Islamic State jihadists, as reported by Cyprus News Agency.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Turkey’s Defense Spending Touches USD 13 Billion Mark

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA — Turkey’s defense spending stood at 29.4 billion Turkish Liras (or USD 13.2 billion) this year, as Anadolu Agency reported quoting Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz as saying. He was responding to a question from an opposition party leader, the Nationalist Movement Party’s Ankara deputy Ozcan Yeniceri, who asked how much Turkey had spent on its defense budget since 2002. Yilmaz said Turkey spent about 1.71% of its Gross Domestic Product, or the GDP on defense in 2014. Turkey used to spend 3.5% of its GDP on defense in 2002. The 2014 defense budget accounts for 3.7% of the overall state budget. About half of the country’s defense budget goes to personnel spending such as salaries, benefits and pension payments to retired Turkish Army personnel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Ukraine to ‘Re-Examine’ Strategy for Dealing With the Rebels

Ukraine will reconsider its commitments to a truce after controversial elections on the east, its president has announced. The government in Kyiv has also warned of more Russian troops crossing the border.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Another Death Ruling Puts Bangladesh Into Chaos

Bangladesh’s highest court has upheld the death sentence of an Islamist leader for his role during 1971’s Independence war. Recently, two other Islamist leaders were also sentenced to death, infuriating their supporters.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

More Than 60 Dead and 200 Wounded in Taliban Attack on Pakistani/ Indian Border

The explosion took place in the late afternoon yesterday, after the flag lowering ceremony. The attacker was a young man about 30 years old, packed with 5 kg of explosives. 10 women and eight children were also among the dead. Condemnation from governments of the two countries.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The death toll from the suicide bombing that took place yesterday in Wagah (Lahore), a border crossing between Pakistan and India has risen to 61 people. More than 200 are injured and the toll could worsen in the coming hours.

The explosion occurred yesterday a few minutes after the end of the flag lowering ceremony, which is held every afternoon on the Pakistani side of the border and is a great tourist attraction for people living in the two nations. The Pakistani Taliban of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the act, but other militant groups — including Jundullah — are also claiming the attack.

Punjab police chief, Mushtaq Sukhera, says a suicide bomber, possibly between 18 and 20 years old, filled with 5 kg of explosives, blew himself up at about 6 pm near a restaurant, about 500 meters from the border point. The victims include 10 women, eight children and three members of the Pakistani security forces. Some of the wounded are in critical condition; 43 bodies have been identified so far, 18 others have yet to be named.

Tahir Khan, a member of the Pakistani Rangers (border guards, ed) said the bomber blew himself up about 500 meters from the place where the parade takes place, because “further on security measures are much more rigid” and he would not have passed them with explosives. In that case, he adds, “the devastation would have been far greater”.

The Pakistani Taliban attack is in revenge for the military operation in North Waziristan last June, which killed more than 1,200 people, and a response to the killing of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone attack last year.

The Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have both expressed condemnation for the attack, which had been predicted by Indian intelligence which spoke of “imminent attack” at the ceremony flag lowering ceremony.

The government launched peace talks with the Taliban in January, followed by the presentation last month of the first Code of Conduct on national security. The truce between the government and Taliban expired on April 16.

The Islamists have confirmed the intention to continue the negotiations, while not renouncing violence and attacks that have targeted even airports (Karachi) and aircraft during landing. Moreover, in the context of the talks, the Taliban demand the release of hundreds of prisoners, the army’s withdrawal from the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and the introduction of Islamic law (sharia).

With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).

Violence against ethnic and religious minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians as the main target, with things getting worse.

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

Pakistan Border Attack Shows Islamists’ Strength

Islamabad claims that an ongoing military operation in the country’s northwest has weakened Islamist militants. But Sunday’s suicide attack at an India-Pakistan border crossing tells a different story.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Taliban Trying to Destabilize Region Beyond Afghanistan

The suspected Pakistan suicide bombing near India’s border Sunday is the latest example of the Taliban trying to expand their influence in South Asia, regional experts told Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland.

“The (attack) appears to be a reprisal by Pakistan-based Taliban groups who have been fighting against the Pakistani military along the Afghan side of the border and say they are taking their fight to the rest of Pakistan,” said Daniel Markey, South Asia senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Recent indications suggest the Taliban is looking to setup additional positions in Pakistan to launch attacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

China to Quarantine Ebola Doctors Returning From West Africa

China will quarantine medical staff who work with Ebola patients in West Africa for 21 days after they return from duty, a senior health official said Monday.

Doctors returning to China will be subjected to a battery of tests before they enter the observation period, said He Qinghua, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s Bureau for Disease Control and Prevention.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Chinese Officials Arrested for Buying Corpses to Meet Government Cremation Quota

Two officials in China’s Guangdong province were arrested for allegedly buying corpses so they could meet government cremation quotas.

Police from Beiliu City investigating body thefts in the region apprehended a grave robber with the surname Zhong in July, Chinese news site Xinhuanet reported.

Zhong admitted to visiting graveyards in local villages at night, and stealing more than 20 corpses, which he placed in body bags and transported by motorcycle to nearby Guangdong province. Zhong told police he then sold the bodies to two officials from Guangdong.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Taiwan: Taipei: More Food Scandals: Industry Giant Tinh Hsin in Trouble

The company is charged with using non-edible oils for sale to businesses and the public. Prosecutors seek 30 years in prison for the general director. The ill-gotten gains amounted to almost € 30 million. Democratic Party accused of having protected the leaders.

Taipei (AsiaNews) — The scandals in the food sector in the Chinese world seem to have no end. In Taiwan, after the scandal of oil made from waste products by the Chang Guann Co., last week an even bigger company, the Ting Hsin, was reported for the production of contaminated oil. The industry, of enormous proportions, is the largest network of oil supply to the catering industry in Taiwan…

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

‘Boko Haram’ Suicide Bomber Kills 20 in Nigeria

Blows self up at religious ceremony

(ANSA) — Rome, November 3 — A suicide bomber believed to belong to Islamist group Boko Haram killed about 20 people Monday when he blew himself up at a Shia religious ceremony in northeastern Nigeria.

The bomber joined the ceremony in Potiskum town and blew himself up. Boko Haram says Shias, a minority in Nigeria, are non-Muslims.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Many Mysteries Still Surround Ebola

The virus that causes Ebola is well understood but puzzling issues remain on topics such as the disease’s lethality and whether the virus can be stopped.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Nelson Mandela’s Daughter to Become New South African Ambassador to Denmark

South African media reports Zindzi Mandela’s appointment as a done deal, but the embassy remains coy.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Sierra Leone Loses Fifth Doctor to Ebola

Sierra Leone has lost its fifth local doctor to Ebola. Dr. Godfrey George had driven himself to Freetown after feeling unwell. Sierra Leone’s meager health system has just over 100 doctors for its 6 million people.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

At Least 24 Drown in Migrant Boat Sinking Off Istanbul

(ISTANBUL) — At least 24 migrants, including children, drowned on Monday when a boat taking them towards European Union waters sank in the Black Sea just off Istanbul, Turkish officials said.

Reports said those on board were mainly Afghans in search of a better life in the EU who had paid several thousand euros each to people smugglers for a seat on the overloaded vessel.

Seven people were rescued from the stricken boat, which had set off earlier from Istanbul and had travelled through the Bosphorus Strait on its way to Romania, the coastguard said in a statement.

They had set off earlier from Bakirkoy, an Istanbul suburb on the Sea of Marmara side of the Bosphorus.

Twelve children and seven women were reported to have been on board. Some reports said Syrians and Turkmen could also have been on board as well as Afghans.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Merkel: UK Exit Better Than Restricting Free Movement

BRUSSELS — German chancellor Angela Merkel would reportedly prefer the UK to leave the EU than have Downing Street limit the free movement of people.

Unnamed sources in the German government told the German weekly Der Spiegel that UK plans to place a cap on unskilled EU migrants would be a step too far for the German Chancellor.

“Should Cameron persist (in this plan), chancellor Angela Merkel would abandon her efforts to keep Britain in the EU. With that a point of no return would be reached,” the source said.

Merkel’s opposition to changing EU rules on free movement may have influenced another decision by the UK over the weekend to drop quotas on EU migrants and instead plan to impose a ban on those who do not have a job or cannot support themselves after three months.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Turkey Searches Waters After Deadly Migrant Boat Capsizing

A migrant boat heading towards the European Union has sunk near Istanbul, claiming dozens of lives. Coast guard vessels, divers and passing fishing boats continue to search for survivors.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Abortion is Illegal and Wrong for Indonesian Muslim Leaders as Well

The country’s largest moderate Muslim organisation joins the Catholic Church in saying no to abortion. New regulations would allow the latter under certain conditions.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Abortion is illegal and wrong from a moral point of view, whatever the reason, this according to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest moderate Muslim organisation, which comes down on the side of the Catholic Church in Indonesia in the matter.

The group explained its point of view during a national conference held yesterday in Jakarta.

Abortion is illegal in Indonesia. However, the Ministry of Health issued new regulations (no. 61/2014) concerning the 2009 Law on Reproductive Health, which authorises an abortion when the mother’s life is in serious danger, or if a woman gets pregnant because of rape.

NU expressed its view after some imams called abortion “morally acceptable” if it is performed within the first 40 days after conception.

Abortion is “legally acceptable only if it becomes a serious matter related to a certain medical urgency” involving the would-be mother, NU President Prof Kiai Hajj Said Agil Sirajd said. However, “preserving the dignity of a woman rape victim is insufficient grounds for it.”

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

Harvard University Workshop to Teach Students How to Have Anal Sex

Harvard University’s annual Sex Week observance, which launched Sunday, includes a workshop called “What What in the Butt: Anal Sex 101” that aims to teach the Ivy League students how to have anal sex.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

In the Land of Make-Believe, Racial Diversity is a Fantasy

For months, night after night, my husband has read the Harry Potter series to our 6-year-old son. After finishing each book, they watch the corresponding movie, and they’re now on Book 4, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Suffice it to say, our son is a big fan. So it was no surprise when he considered dressing up as Harry for Halloween. But our hearts sank when he quickly added, in a matter-of-fact tone of disappointment, “But I’m not tan. I’m brown.”

Tan and brown are terms for white and black that my son picked up at his progressive school; they’re seen as less political and more precise, and I guess they take some of the sting off. But the words don’t change the long-standing reality: In the United States, children’s fantasies are still largely imagined in white.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Principal to Investigate ‘Gay is Illness’ Lesson

Students allege religion teacher said being gay could be ‘cured’

(ANSA) — Turin, November 3 — The principal of the school where last week a religion teacher allegedly called being gay an illness said on Monday the allegations are a “serious incident” and the school has the responsibility to look into the matter.

“There may be homosexual students and teachers [at our school]. It’s my duty to make sure this place remains somewhere that everyone can be welcomed and enjoy the same rights,” said Stefano Fava, principal of Itis Pininfarina school in Moncalieri, a few miles south of Turin.

Last week, Fava was told of the Catholic religion lesson that some students called “the perfect manual for homophobia”, in which a teacher allegedly said being gay is “a psychological problem which science has demonstrated is curable”.

Students said the teacher allegedly went on to describe a case to back up the theory, in which a doctor, traumatized in childhood by seeing his mother’s cadaver, became homosexual, and was then “converted” to heterosexuality after months of psychoanalytic therapy, and “even” had children and a family thereafter. Fava said he couldn’t comment on the internal investigation but in coming days he would interview both the teacher in question as well as the students who attended the lesson, and would send his findings to the regional scholastic office.

Local middle school students responded to reports of the lesson by requesting to abolish Catholic education in public schools and replace it with lessons in religious history.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

New York Times: Should Black and Hispanic Men be Banned From Chatting Up White Feminist Women?

By now, you’ve probably seen the viral video in which the frumpy woman with the Flashdance hair walks around the streets of New York City getting catcalled.

The hidden-camera video was released last week by Hollaback, a group that bills itself as “an international movement to end street harassment.” The video documents the woman, 24-year-old actress Shoshana Roberts, walking the streets of New York for 10 hours as she claims to be the victim of some 100 instances of harassment.

Now, The New York Times wants to know if a law should shield white feminist women by preventing black and Hispanic men from speaking to them, and possibly offending their tender sensibilities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Russian Memorial to Steve Jobs Dismantled Because Tim Cook is Gay

MOSCOW (Reuters) — A memorial to Apple Inc founder Steve Jobs has been dismantled in the Russian city of St Petersburg after the man who succeeded him at the helm of the company, Tim Cook, came out as gay.

The two-metre (more than six-feet) high monument, in the shape of an iPhone, was erected outside a St Petersburg college in January 2013 by a Russian group of companies called ZEFS.

Citing the need to abide by a law combating “gay propaganda”, ZEFS said in a statement on Monday that the memorial had been removed on Friday — the day after Apple CEO Cook had announced he was homosexual.

“In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law,” ZEFS said, noting that the memorial had been “in an area of direct access for young students and scholars”.

“After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values.”

Promoting “traditional values”, President Vladimir Putin last year signed a law prohibiting the spread of “gay propaganda” among minors…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden: Transsexual Woman Refused Police Training

The police college refused a woman a place because of their fears over her mental health — but an expert says this fear is groundless.

Expert Cecilia Dhejne says to Swedish Radio this fear is based on old misapprehensions about transpeople.

Robin sued the Police College and they paid her SEK 22,000, but without admitting she had been discriminated against.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Where Are the White Men?

The two-minute video of a woman being sexually harassed as she walked the streets of New York has become an internet sensation, garnering more than 31 million hits on YouTube in just five days. It has also sparked an online debate over what the video does — and doesn’t — show.

Marianne Mollmann of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, says that the unspoken component is race and culture.

“Though the editorialising comments note that the actress was harassed by men of all ethnic or racial backgrounds, most of the men shown on the final video are black, some Latino and no one — as far as I can tell — white,” she writes for the Huffington Post. “Intentional or not, the racial bias strips the video not only of authenticity and therefore authority, but also of effectiveness.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

Your Car is Watching You

In a modern car, some 100 electronic devices and miniature computers process more than a million pieces of data every second. This information is saved, interpreted and used — both to diagnose and repair problems with the vehicle and to put together profiles of the driver.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]
 

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