Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/3/2015

The far-left Syriza party stands poised to win the snap election in Greece. When it takes office it may well decide to abandon the country’s current austerity policy, which was required by the Troika in return for continuing bailouts. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has indicated that if that happens, there will be no more bailouts, and Greece will be allowed to depart from the Eurozone.

In other news, a Norwegian cargo ship capsized and sank off Vietnam. Of the 19-member Filipino crew, only the cook survived.

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

Thanks to AP, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Papa Whiskey, Srdja Trifkovic, 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
» Germany ‘Prepared to Let Greece Leave Eurozone’ If Voters Reject Austerity
» Ten Warning Signs of a Market Crash in 2015
» The Gloves Come Off: Germany Says Grexit “Manageable” As Tsipras Demands Greek Debt Writeoff
» Bishop Heather Cook Admits Fatal Hit-and-Run
» Boston Bombing Suspect Loses Bid to Delay Trial Over Venue
» Ferran Adrià Feeds the Hungry Mind
» Libyan on Trial for US Embassy Bombings Dies
» Many Identities of New York Officers’ Killer in a Life of Wrong Turns
Europe and the EU
» Ebola in Britain: Scottish Nurse Now Critical as Condition Worsens
» In Diverse France, New Years Means Hundreds of Burned Cars
» In Sweden, The Land of the Open Door, Anti-Muslim Sentiment Finds a Foothold
» Two Brothers Arrested in India Over Rape of Japanese Tourist
North Africa
» At Least 20 Egyptian Christians Kidnapped in Libya
» Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”
» Libya Extinguishes Fires at Key Oil Terminal
» Thirteen Coptic Christians Abducted in Libya
Middle East
» Iran and US Tentatively Agree on Formula to Reduce Nuclear Programme
» Iran Facing Drug Abuse Crisis With Record Numbers of Young and Well-Educated Women Becoming Addicted to Crystal Meth
» IS Seizes Dozens in Northern Iraq
» ‘Islamic State Seeking Bases Inside Lebanon’
» Lebanon Imposes Visas on Syrians for First Time
» Saudi Religious Leader OKs Rape of Children
» Turkey: University Student Referred to Court on Charge of Insulting Erdogan
» 2015: A Global Assessment
South Asia
» $1 Trillion Trove of Rare Minerals Revealed Under Afghanistan
» Pakistan Cleric Investigated After Child Molested and Killed
Far East
» China: Beijing: Migrant Workers Sleep for Three Nights in an Underpass to Get Unpaid Wages
» Norwegian Cargo Ship Sinks Off Vietnam, 18 Crew Members Missing
Latin America
» Brazil: Economy Struggles as Rousseff Begins 2nd Term
» Forty Asylum Seekers Refuse to Get Off the Bus for 24 Hours After Arriving at Picturesque Swedish Village Where They Were Being Housed… Because They Wanted to Live in a City
» Migrants Come Ashore From “Ghost Ship” Found Off Italy
» Facebook and Twitter Are ‘Allowing Islamophobia to Spread by Refusing to Report Offensive Postings’
» UN Seeks to Criminalize Free Speech, Citing “Human Rights”

Germany ‘Prepared to Let Greece Leave Eurozone’ If Voters Reject Austerity

A German report has said Chancellor Angela Merkel is prepared to let Greece quit the eurozone, should the people elect a government that abandons austerity. Berlin is increasingly convinced a “Grexit” would be bearable.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ten Warning Signs of a Market Crash in 2015

The FTSE 100 slid on the first day of trading in 2015. Here are 10 warning signs that the markets may drop further…

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Gloves Come Off: Germany Says Grexit “Manageable” As Tsipras Demands Greek Debt Writeoff

Tyler Durden

With just three weeks until the Greek snap elections on January 25 in which Tsipras’ Syriza is virtually assured of victory (unless somehow G-Pap’s “new and improved” political party manages to steal enough votes to prevent this, although one wonders what his political campaign will be: “vote for us because this time we know how to avoid a sovereign bankruptcy”), Germany takes yet another opportunity to remind the Greeks that it won’t be blackmailed (spoiler: it will) into another year of funding the insolvent Greek state which in turn will pretend to engage in another year of “reforms” (spoiler: it won’t). Recall it was on New Year’s Eve when Merkel’s chief advisor Michael Fuchs explicitly used the “blackmail” word

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Bishop Heather Cook Admits Fatal Hit-and-Run

Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop was the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist in Baltimore, the diocese says.

Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook’s vehicle collided with Tom Palermo, 41 on Saturday and initially left the scene.

Diocesan Bishop Eugene Sutton told clergy members in an email that Bishop Cook returned 20 minutes later “to take responsibility for her actions”.

Ms Cook, who was elected bishop in September, has been put on leave.

“Together with the Diocese of Maryland, I express my deep sorrow over the death of the cyclist and offer my condolences to the victim’s family,” Bishop Sutton said.

“Please pray for Mr Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time.”

[Return to headlines]

Boston Bombing Suspect Loses Bid to Delay Trial Over Venue

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lost an eleventh hour bid to delay his Jan. 5 trial, as a split federal appeals court rejected his argument that the federal terrorism case should be moved out of Boston.

Tsarnaev has argued the trial should be moved because jurors in Massachusetts will be biased against him, given the severity of the April 2013 attack, which killed three and injured scores of others.

It was the second time Tsarnaev’s request for a change of venue to New York or Washington was denied. He had also sought to postpone the trial to prepare for potential testimony by a friend who pleaded guilty in a related gun case.

[Return to headlines]

Ferran Adrià Feeds the Hungry Mind

The Former El Bulli Chef Is Now Serving Up Creative Inquiry

Mr. Adrià, 52, has always been inquisitive. Even during the peak years at El Bulli, when Restaurant Magazine named it the world’s best restaurant five times from 2002 to 2009 and he rocketed beyond the standard-fare celebrity chefs into the rarefied air of the gastronomic geniuses, he would pose random questions about the origin of vegetables or fruit. (According to members of his kitchen staff, he also was known for higher-volume queries like, “Why the hell is this foam not the right height?”)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Libyan on Trial for US Embassy Bombings Dies

Al-Libi, 50, was captured by the U.S. Army’s Delta Force in Tripoli, Libya on Oct 5, 2013 and brought to New York where he was due to stand trial. He had been wanted for more than a decade and there was a $5 million reward for his arrest.

U.S. forces raided Libya in 2013 and seized al-Libi on the streets of the capital, Tripoli. He was brought back to America to stand trial in New York.

His wife, Um Abdullah told the Associated Press he died of complication from liver surgery.

“I accuse the American government of kidnapping, mistreating, and killing an innocent man. He did nothing,” Abullah said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Many Identities of New York Officers’ Killer in a Life of Wrong Turns

His entire life, Ismaaiyl Brinsley tried on identities as if they were new clothes. He was a bad boy with a gun, a fashionable man in Gucci and Cartier, a T-shirt maker, a film director, a screenwriter, a devout Muslim, a rap producer.


His version of Islam seemed more jumbled than jihadi. Instead, Mr. Brinsley seemed to be a grandstander at the end of his tether, homeless, jobless and hopeless.


Mr. Brinsley was the youngest of four children brought up in the Senegalese Sufi branch of Islam embraced by his mother, Shakuwra Dabre.


While visiting the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, he wrote: “My God Comes First………And Then My Gun………”


He called Jalaa Brinsley, his sister, and he called Ms. Dabre, whom he referred to as “ummi,” which means “mother” in Arabic.

[Brinsley’s behavior does not bespeak a superficial “‘identity” flirtation with Islam, as this story suggests. And of course there was his citation of Qur’an 8:60 as a justification for killing two cops. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Ebola in Britain: Scottish Nurse Now Critical as Condition Worsens

Pauline Cafferkey, the British nurse diagnosed with Ebola on her return from Sierra Leone, has deteriorated and is now in a critical condition, the Royal Free Hospital in north London said in a statement on Saturday.

The 39-year-old is being treated in a quarantine tent at the hospital after she was diagnosed with the deadly virus late last month.

Mrs Cafferkey, a Scottish public health nurse who had been volunteering in the stricken West African country, was diagnosed with the disease after returning to Glasgow from Sierra Leone via Casablanca in Morocco.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In Diverse France, New Years Means Hundreds of Burned Cars

By Brenda Walker

It’s remarkable what passes for good news these days, particularly in nations enriched by diversity. A report from France notes a decrease in the annual New Years car burning ritual — only 940 vehicles torched. That’s 12 percent fewer arsonized autos than last year’s 1067. Yippee!

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In Sweden, The Land of the Open Door, Anti-Muslim Sentiment Finds a Foothold

“We left our country as refugees. We were not looking for food or benefits, we were looking for somewhere to feel safe,” said Abdirahman Farah Warsame, the imam at the mosque where the fire occurred on Christmas Day. He is originally from Somalia. “Now that is gone. We have a feeling that society is turning against us.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Two Brothers Arrested in India Over Rape of Japanese Tourist

Indian police have arrested two brothers accused of repeatedly raping a 22-year-old Japanese tourist over three weeks near Bodh Gaya, Buddhism’s holiest site, an official said Saturday.

The tourist had been held hostage at gunpoint in a secluded underground room close to a pilgrimage site, according to a preliminary investigation.

“When her health condition deteriorated due to repeated rape and poor living conditions, she was brought to Gaya (district headquarters) for medical treatment on December 20,” a police officer who is part of the investigation told AFP on condition of anonymity.

But she managed to escape and reached Varanasi where she met some Japanese tourists who helped her contact the Japanese consulate in the nearby city of Kolkata, the officer added.

Sajid Khan, 32, and his 25-year-old brother Jawed Khan, both tourist guides, were arrested in the case on Friday, police deputy superintendent Alok Kumar Singh said…

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

At Least 20 Egyptian Christians Kidnapped in Libya

Islamist militants have abducted 20 Egyptian Christians in Libya in recent days, a source close to the government said Saturday.

Earlier, Witness Hanna Aziz told The Associated Press that gunmen in the Libyan city of Sirte went room to room in their residence at 2:30 a.m. Saturday and asked for identification papers to separate Muslim workers from Christians. Aziz says the gunmen handcuffed the Christians and drove away with them.

“They were 15 armed and masked men who came in four vehicles. They had a list of full names of Christians in the building. While checking IDs, Muslims were left aside while Christians were grabbed,” Aziz said, adding that he survived simply because he didn’t open his door.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”

Speaking before Al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry on New Year’s Day, 2015, and in connection to Prophet Muhammad’s upcoming birthday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a vocal supporter for a renewed vision of Islam, made what must be his most forceful and impassioned plea to date on the subject.

Sisi during his New Year’s Day speech before Al Azhar

Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” are “antagonizing the entire world”; that it is not “possible that 1.6 billion people [reference to the world’s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live”; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost — and it is being lost by our own hands.”

The relevant excerpt from Sisi’s speech follows (translation by Michele Antaki):

I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing — and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!

That thinking — I am not saying “religion” but “thinking” — that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live? Impossible!…

           — Hat tip: AP [Return to headlines]

Libya Extinguishes Fires at Key Oil Terminal

Fires at seven storage tanks at one of Libya’s main oil terminal have been put out, officials said Friday, nine days after they were set off by a militia rocket.

A rocket fired on December 25 by Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), a coalition of Islamist-backed fighters, ignited the first fire which then spread to six other tanks at Al-Sidra oil terminal.

“The fires have been extinguished in all seven tanks that were ablaze after raging out of control for nine days,” said Ali al-Hassi, security spokesman for the so-called “oil crescent” in eastern Libya.

Around 70 volunteer firefighters helped put out the flames with help from employees from local oil companies under tough conditions, while pro-government forces and militias fought nearby, Hassi said.

Al-Sidra is one of Libya’s key oil terminal with Ras Lanuf and Brega also in the “oil crescent”.

There are 19 storage tanks at Al-Sidra with a total capacity of 6.2 million barrels of oil…

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

Thirteen Coptic Christians Abducted in Libya

Fifteen armed and masked gunmen in central Libya abducted 13 Coptic Christians on Saturday, according to a priest and an eyewitness, several days after seven more were abducted from the same area.

Recently, a Coptic Christian couple and their daughter were also killed in Sirte, which has become the stronghold for the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia group. More than three years after the fall of Qaddafi, independent militias still control large part of the North African country and regularly fight each other. Terrorist groups have taken advantage of the situation and are training fighters on Libyan soil.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran and US Tentatively Agree on Formula to Reduce Nuclear Programme

Iran and the United States have tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hopes will reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear arms by committing it to ship to Russia much of the material needed for such weapons, diplomats say.

In another sign of progress, two diplomats told Associated Press that negotiators at the December round of nuclear talks drew up for the first time a catalogue outlining areas of potential accord and differing approaches to remaining disputes.

The diplomats said differences still dominate ahead of the next round of Iran six-power talks on 15 January in Geneva. But they suggested that even agreement to create a to-do list would have been difficult previously because of wide gaps between the sides.

Iran denies it wants nuclear arms, but it is negotiating with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany on cuts to its atomic programme in the hope of ending crippling sanctions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Iran Facing Drug Abuse Crisis With Record Numbers of Young and Well-Educated Women Becoming Addicted to Crystal Meth

Iran is facing a female drug-abuse crisis as the number of young, well-off and well-educated women using substances continues to rise.

At least six million of Iran’s 77.7 million population have drug related problems, according to official reports.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IS Seizes Dozens in Northern Iraq

The Islamic State jihadist group seized dozens of men from two villages in northern Iraq on Friday while searching for people who burned its flag, officials and residents said.

An intelligence officer said that a total of 170 men were taken from the villages of Al-Shajara and Gharib in Kirkuk province, after two IS flags were burned in the area, an account confirmed by other officials from the province.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Islamic State Seeking Bases Inside Lebanon’

Islamic State militants holed up in the Qalamoun mountains on the Syrian-Lebanese border are seeking to gain control of nearby Lebanese villages to support their fighting positions, the head of Lebanon’s main security apparatus told Reuters.

Major General Abbas Ibrahim said Lebanese forces were on high alert to prevent the hardline militants from seizing any Lebanese territory near the Qalamoun mountains, which demarcate Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria.

Such crossborder incursions would add to concern that Lebanon, which suffered its own civil war in 1975-90, could be drawn further into the conflict in neighboring Syria.

Fighting from Syria has regularly spilled into Lebanon since the war erupted nearly four years ago.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Lebanon Imposes Visas on Syrians for First Time

Lebanon is to impose visa restrictions on Syrians for the first time after being overwhelmed by an influx of more than 1.1 million refugees, according to documents published online.

The new regulations, posted on the website of the General Security agency, come into effect on January 5 and lay out eight new visa categories, including for tourism and medical treatment.

The requirement appeared to be the first time Lebanon has demanded that Syrians apply for visas.

Citizens of both countries have for decades been able to travel freely across their shared border.

The new rule is the latest in a series of measures taken by Lebanon to stem the influx of Syrians fleeing their country’s brutal civil war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Religious Leader OKs Rape of Children

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s top religious authority in the ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, has ruled it’s acceptable for men to marry girls so young the West would deem it nothing short of pedophilia and rape.

Despite the Saudi justice ministry’s failed efforts to date to set 15 as a minimum age to marry a girl in the kingdom, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz declared there is nothing prohibiting Muslim men from marrying girls even younger.

As Grand Mufti, Abdulaziz is president of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing Fatwas, which means he speaks authoritatively in Islamic teachings.

Grand Mufti Abdulzaiz’s more recent ruling on marrying young girls comes following a similar ruling in 2011 by Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of the Saudi’s highest religious council, who issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that there is no minimum age to marry girls, “even if they are in the cradle.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: University Student Referred to Court on Charge of Insulting Erdogan

A 24-year-old university student has been referred to a court for arrest on the charge of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The student from the Çukurova University faculty of agriculture, Halit Mese, was detained by police after he allegedly swore about and insulted President Erdogan while drunk in a hospital in the Duziçi district of Osmaniye province on Thursday, Mese’s lawyer, Ahmet Yilmaz, shared with Today’s Zaman via telephone.

Yilmaz said that a drunk Mese had quarreled with police, who had verbally warned Mese, at the hospital. During the quarrel, Mese allegedly used insulting words about Erdogan.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

2015: A Global Assessment

by Srdja Trifkovic

It is futile to make any but short-term predictions on world affairs: there are just too many variables in the equation, too many unknown-unknowns. The escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and the rise in U.S.-Russian tensions could have been forecast a year ago, in general terms at least, but the explosive rise of ISIS could not.

It is nevertheless possible and often useful to outline the contours of probable developments on the basis of existing structural vectors and recent dynamics. “Time is not heterogeneous,” Raymond Aron correctly noted half a century ago, when writing on Max Weber’s approach to historical causality. If time is homogenous, then — in theory at least — “the possibility of causal explanation is the same for the past and for the future.” In practice, we can expect two key developments to make an impact on the global scene in 2015:

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

$1 Trillion Trove of Rare Minerals Revealed Under Afghanistan

Despite being one of the poorest nations in the world, Afghanistan may be sitting on one of the richest troves of minerals in the world, valued at nearly $1 trillion, according to U.S. scientists.

Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004. As it turns out, the Afghanistan Geological Survey staff had kept Soviet geological maps and reports up to 50 years old or more that hinted at a geological gold mine.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pakistan Cleric Investigated After Child Molested and Killed

Pakistan police on Saturday launched an investigation against a prominent cleric after a six-year-old boy was found strangled and dumped in a mosque after being sexually abused.

“We have apprehended up to seven people including local cleric Qari Saqib, who is prime suspect in this case,” Ijaz Shafi Dogar, a senior police official in the eastern city of Lahore, told AFP.

Moeen Yasin’s body was found in the grounds of a mosque in Lahore after he was reported missing by his father on Friday.

“According to the post mortem report, the child was strangled to death after molestation,” Dogar said…

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

China: Beijing: Migrant Workers Sleep for Three Nights in an Underpass to Get Unpaid Wages

After completing a project between March and September on one of Beijing’s many construction sites, the contractor refused to pay the workers’ wages. The latter protested in front of a government office and in a nearby underpass. Only “media coverage helped us” get paid, said one. An estimated 40 million workers are in the same slave-like conditions.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — After three nights sleeping in an underpass near a government building in Beijing, a group of about 80 Chinese migrant workers won their fight against their employer over unpaid wages.

The workers tried all legal venues to settle the three-month dispute without success. Eventually, “media coverage helped us a great deal,” one of them said.

The workers, who come from Shandong, Hebei, Henan and Gansu provinces, began working for the same construction company in March of this year on a project in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

In September, after the work was completed, the migrant workers asked to be paid, but the contractor refused to do so alleging a shortage of funds. Each worker was owed between 10,000 yuan (US$ 1,600) and 30,000 yuan (US$ 4,800).

After trying to get the Labour Bureau and the Bureau for letters and calls involved, workers gathered in front of the district government office on 22 December and for three days tried to draw attention to their plight.

“They didn’t let us sleep outside the government building,” one of the workers said saying,” because this would “affect the image of the city.” Thus, “They threatened to take us away if we didn’t comply. So we all went to the underpass”.

Once the story appeared on, the website of the Central Commission of the Communist Youth League, it was picked up by other mainland news websites and shared on social media.

Under public pressure, the employer showed up yesterday morning at the underpass and paid almost all workers. Others went back to their dormitory building where they should receive their wages shortly. “No matter what, the news story has helped us solve the problem,” one of them said.

Their story is not unique. In China, some 40 million migrant workers have moved from the countryside to urban areas where they have built the country’s modern cities and infrastructure.

However, although the construction industry is worth about 12 trillion, the “engine” often runs on empty. Loans from banks and state bodies go through complicated channels before ending up funding construction projects.

Given the mainland’s high levels of corruption and malfeasance, contractors end up pouring almost everything into bribes. And with the collusion of the authorities, they often threaten, beat and even get migrants arrested in order not to pay wages.

This is especially tragic at Chinese New Year, a holiday traditionally spent with family. Deprived of their wages and unable to pay debts or the journey back home, hundreds of workers choose suicide rather than face the shame of returning home empty-handed.

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

Norwegian Cargo Ship Sinks Off Vietnam, 18 Crew Members Missing

A Norwegian cargo ship with 19 Filipino crew members sank off the coast of southern Vietnam with only one man known to have survived, officials said Sunday.

Two bodies have been recovered since the Bulk Jupiter sank Friday en route from Malaysia to China, and Vietnamese rescuers aided by commercial ships passing through the area continued to search for the others, according to Vietnamese authorities and the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

The lone survivor was the chief cook on the ship, but he is refusing to cooperate with rescuers, making the search more difficult, a Vietnamese rescue official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

The man refused to say what happened with the ship, the official said. It wasn’t clear why he wasn’t talking…

[Return to headlines]

Brazil: Economy Struggles as Rousseff Begins 2nd Term

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff will be sworn in for her second term Thursday before thousands of cheering supporters, but any moment of triumph will surely be short lived.

The world’s seventh-biggest economy — once booming — has barely grown during the left-wing former urban guerrilla’s first term, and she begins her next with her government dogged by scandal.

The ongoing probe investigation into a huge network of corruption at Petrobras, the state oil firm she used to chair, has tainted many of her allies and weakened her as she turns to the economy.

Rousseff won October’s hard-fought election thanks to voters reliant on the extensive social welfare programs put in place a decade ago by her Workers Party predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Her own term in office, however, saw mass street demonstrations that threatened to take the shine off even set-piece spectacles like the 2014 football World Cup.

She nevertheless defeated her right-wing rival Aecio Neves, who won over the business community but failed to convince workers that he could revive growth without drastic cuts.

Around 32,000 Workers Party faithful are en route to Brasilia in around 800 coaches to attend her investiture, seeking to drown out potential anti-Rousseff demonstrations.

She will be driven in a Rolls Royce down the Ministries Esplanade to Congress, where she will take the oath of office before heading to her presidential palace to make a national address.

– Credibility crisis –

“Rousseff starts the year laboring under a crisis of credibility — not just because of the mess with Petrobras but because the country has lost international credibility,” analyst Andre Leite of TAG Investments told AFP.

The Petrobras scandal and the ongoing police investigation — dubbed “Operation Car Wash” — erupted just a few months before Rousseff won re-election.

So far suspicion has fallen on 39 people, including former Petrobras directors and pro-government politicians, a network which allegedly laundered around $3.8 billion creamed off from inflated contracts.

Petrobras is facing legal action in the United States over investor losses emanating from a scandal that has seen the firm’s stock plunge, and hit its creditworthiness and ambitious investment plans.

Aside from dealing with the crisis at the firm, Rousseff’s priority will be to revive economic growth — although economists expect 2015 to bring little cheer.

“One of the first steps has to be to regain budgetary credibility, to make adjustments for growth,” says Leite.

A new economic team led by orthodox pro-market Finance Minister Joaquim Levy has set in motion moves designed to make savings, including a reduction in unemployment insurance.

The government also wants to attract more private investment to underpin investment in the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

– Ministerial merry-go-round –

In forming her new cabinet team, Rousseff has been careful to offer positions to coalition allies, but that has already caused displeasure within her own party.

To the horror of greens, the landless and indigenous groups, she named as minister of agriculture Senator Katia Abreu, a supporter of agrobusiness dubbed the “chainsaw queen” by Greenpeace.

Rousseff opponents accuse her of wanting to expand agrobusiness to the detriment of small-scale farming and the environment.

“Now the agro-foodstuffs sector has support at the heart of the executive and will put more pressure on indigenous peoples,” said Clever Buzatto, director of the Indigenous Missionary Council.

“They feel betrayed.”

Another controversy arose with the nomination of new sports minister George Hilton, an evangelical priest from a small conservative party within the broad coalition.

Linked to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Hilton replaces communist Aldo Rebelo.

Several of Rousseff’s leftist colleagues as well as members of the Athletes of Brazil organization, including footballers Kaka and Cafu and national coach Dunga, have protested.

Hilton, who will oversee preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, South America’s first, was arrested in 2007 in possession of several suitcases containing $220,000 in cash — allegedly donations from his congregation.

His arrest saw him expelled from his former party.

by Moises Avila

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

Forty Asylum Seekers Refuse to Get Off the Bus for 24 Hours After Arriving at Picturesque Swedish Village Where They Were Being Housed… Because They Wanted to Live in a City

A group of asylum seekers in Sweden started a protest when the location of provided accommodation was not to their liking.

The 40 Syrian refugees had arrived in Grytan, some 330 miles north of Stockholm, on New Year’s Eve, but some refused to get off the bus.

Instead, 34 refugees announced they would remain in their seats until they were taken elsewhere, and some started a hunger strike.

‘They were disappointed when they came here. It was cold and not a big city,’ Bengt Sandin from Jamtland County Police said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Migrants Come Ashore From “Ghost Ship” Found Off Italy

Hundreds of cold and hungry Syrian migrants were led ashore on Saturday after arriving in Italy on board a merchant ship that was abandoned by its crew.

The Ezadeen, a 240-ft vessel, was found adrift in the Adriatic on Friday, packed with fugitives from Syria’s civil war — but with no crew.

Under the control of the Italian navy, the ship was brought to the port of Corigliano Calabro. At first, the authorities had thought that 450 people were on board. After the Ezadeen docked, however, that total was revised downwards to 360, including 74 children. All are believed to be in good health.

The Ezadeen was the second crewless “ghost ship” to be discovered in Italian waters this week. It is believed to have sailed from the Syrian port of Tartus.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Facebook and Twitter Are ‘Allowing Islamophobia to Spread by Refusing to Report Offensive Postings’

Facebook and Twitter have been accused of allowing Islamophobia to flourish by refusing to remove hundreds of inflammatory posts which have been reported by anti-racism campaigners.

Some of the posts which have been flagged up to the two social media sites include accusations of Muslims being rapists, paedophiles and comparable to cancer.

Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, an interfaith organisation which runs a helpline called Tell MAMA, for victims of anti-Muslim violence, said he was disappointed the sites were not taking a stronger stance. He said: ‘It is morally unacceptable that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which are vast profit-making companies, socially engineer what is right and wrong to say in our society when they leave up inflammatory, highly socially divisive and openly bigoted views.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UN Seeks to Criminalize Free Speech, Citing “Human Rights”

Under the guise of advancing what the United Nations refers to as “human rights,” the dictator-dominated global body is waging a full-blown assault on free-speech rights by pressuring governments to criminalize so-called “hate speech.” Indeed, working alongside radical government-funded activist groups and anti-liberty politicians around the world, the UN and other totalitarian-minded forces have now reached the point where they openly claim that what they call “international law” actually requires governments to ban speech and organizations they disapprove of.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

10 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/3/2015

  1. Re: “$1 Trillion Trove of Rare Minerals Found Under Afghanistan”. How long before that abused country resembles the “Democratic” Republic of Congo?

  2. Desperate French (22) digs his father’s grave
    Unemployed, he could not afford to pay an undertaker

    – It was raining, we were four, my cousin and my two friends, digging my father’s grave, Hervé Féton explains. The surrealistic 21 century scene took place Saturday, after his friends had spent the week doing whatever they could to help. The father, Hugues Honoré, who died last week, was buried last Tuesday in Laon, France. Hervé lost his mother two years ago.

    There is plenty of misery in today’s France, for a modern Victor Hugo to write about .

    And when a French like Hervé cannot get help from the French society, why should the French society pay for a Roma child’s funeral?

  3. The greatest threat to personal liberty and nationhood in the West is not from Islam or its enablers, it is from the United Nations. We all need to realize that, and it has to be sooner rather than later.

    • It’s not the UN because it has no means to enforce its rules. That is coming from Statists in its member states who see the global state as the solution to all of mankind’s problem. That’s because one size fits all has such a good track record. /s Well, at least for the corrupt enablers for some major portion of their lifetime.

      That is why I endorsed the acronym SKUNC.
      Statists Knowingly Undermining National Charters. SKUNCs.
      And for those who still have no clue what Statist means,
      Stooges & Kleptos Undermining National Charters.

      The UN is nothing without these SKUNC vassals.

      Since then the originator himself has dropped the acronym, He now simply calls them all traitors.

      • It is through the UN that the West has allowed itself to be virtually left defenceless against what now ails it. Trying to sell the story as to why the UN has become what it is now is a non-saleable story because most people do not want to know about it – it’s way too much information.

        So best we concentrate on then rid ourselves of the UN first.

        • Sorry Nemesis. I left out a modifier in my last comment. I was not saying you’re wrong. To me it’s more like the chicken or the egg problem. It’s clear that the UN’s eggs have already hatched, so that the structure is no longer to be found solely in a bldg in NY. The thinking that prevails in those foreign agents goes back before the League of Nations even, and into the 19th Century.

          So, IMHO, to accomplish what you’re thinking, look locally. Know them by their acts.

        • I understand that Pascal, and I guess a good analogy to what you are saying would be to go no further than to mention the Wizard of Oz. My thinking is this; to expose the Wizard we must first pull the curtain back so that all the folks get to see who is really pulling their strings. The curtain of course is the UN and once that is collapsed the Wizard is then exposed.

          Exposure to the masses of the Wizard’s agenda is what the Wizard wishes to hide from enquiring minds. And trying to educate the masses about the Wizard’s agenda is an impossible task, so one must go for the weak links in the Wizard’s armory.

          We don’t have the time left to us to ‘educate’ the masses on who controls the West which would be the ideal position to accomplish, but we can expose the UN for the agenda it is now pushing as it is the weak link to the Wizard and if it can be ‘cut’ and then abolished, the Wizard’s influence will diminish until the Wizard can find another curtain to hide behind – the Wizard is powerful and almost impossible to defeat, but we must be prepared to bring about the end to the Wizard’s subterfuge and reign and the UN should be the first link to be cut.

  4. Six prison guards injured in violent incident in Vorst
    Sunday morning

    “The inmate responsible for the attack is the man who was handed a 27-year prison sentence last month on charges of arson. The fire in Anderlecht’s Rida mosque killed the imam. How the assailant got hold of the weapon, is still unclear.”
    Flanders News BE

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