Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/22/2015

A “Frenchman” has been arrested for allegedly planning to attack two churches in Paris. He was heavily armed, and was caught by police when he accidentally shot himself in the leg. The authorities believe the would-be mujahid had an accomplice, and are searching for a second person. The incident had nothing to do with Islam.

In other news, authorities at a prison in South Carolina have discovered that inmates are able to receive drugs and other contraband with the help of accomplices on the outside, who send the goods in using drones.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, K, MB, 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
» China Debt Mess Brings Out the Yin and Yang in Policy Makers
» Foreigners Abandon Spain Over Lack of Jobs
» South Germany Has Lowest EU Unemployment
» Airmail Via Drones is Vexing for Prisons
» Feds Admit Terror-Recruiting Problem Among Refugees
» Jeb Bush is a Big Fan of NSA Surveillance
» Minnesota Men Charged With Trying to Join Islamic Militants
» Navy Drone Makes History With Refueling Maneuver
» Pew First: Gun Rights Top Gun Control in Major Public Opinion Shift
» Prosecutors: Workers Busted for Stealing Bourbon That Would Last a Lifetime
» Rep. Ellison: Terror Recruits Are in the Dark, Hard to Reach
» Terror Charges Leave Shock and Dismay Across Twin Cities
» War on Terror: One Mother Says She Was Glad Her Son Was Arrested
» Is There Free Speech in Canada?
Europe and the EU
» A Century of Chemical Warfare: Nations Reflect on Grim Anniversary
» EU Accuses Gazprom of Abusing Position
» Ex-President: Germans Right to Fear Islam
» Foreigners Leaving Spain Decreases Population to 46.6 Mln
» France Arrests Terror Suspect After He Apparently Shot Himself by Accident
» France Police Arrest Man ‘Planning to Attack Churches’
» France: Two Churches Target of Arrested Paris Terror Suspect
» French Officials Search for Church Terror Plot Accomplices
» Germany: Former Auschwitz Guard Describes Camp in Chilling Detail
» Google to Help Search for Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster
» Heavily Armed Jihadist ‘Planning Attacks on Churches’ is Arrested by French Police After Accidentally Shooting Himself
» Italy: Ravenna Police Detain Suspected Foreign Fighter
» Nearly 700 Germans Leave Country to Join Terror Groups
» UK: Newcastle Jewish Barrister Demands Council Reveals Report Into Palestinian Flag Incident
» Visible Light Spectrum From Alien Planet Measured for 1st Time (Video)
Middle East
» 9-Year Hunger Striker Asks to Leave Guantanamo So He Can Have a Family
» How Putin Undermines the Iran Deal
» Report: ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Was ‘Seriously Wounded’ In a March Airstrike — Pentagon Denies
» Turkey Recalls Ambassador to Austria After Parliament Issues Armenian Genocide Declaration
» Turkey Calls on Leaders to Reject Armenian Genocide Label
» Kazakhstan Rejects Euro-Asian Single Currency
» Which Food Prices Are Rising Fastest (And Slowest) In Russia?
South Asia
» No NATO Troops on Battlefield as Taliban Announce Spring Offensive in Afghanistan
Far East
» Beijing “Buys” Pakistan for US$ 45 Billion
» Chemistry: Degrees of Separation
» Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryos
» Drone With Radioactive Material Lands on Roof of Japanese Prime Minister’s Office
» Is China-Pakistan ‘Silk Road’ A Game-Changer?
» The Hong Kong Government Closes the Door on Universal Suffrage
» The People’s Republic of Cruiseland
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Sudan ‘Won’t Allow’ French, US, British Envoys Access to Darfur
» Thousands of Ethiopians March Against is Group Christian Killings
Latin America
» Luis Fleischman: An Evaluation of the Summit of the Americas
» EU Mulls Military Op: Estimated 850 on Disaster Boat
» Gang Member Facing Murder Charges Was Spared Deportation Under Obama Program
» IS Smuggles Jihadists to Europe Disguised as Desperate Refugees, Warns NATO Chief
» Italy: First Time EU Solidarity Shown on Migrants’, Renzi
» Mediterranean Migrants Crisis: Italy ‘At War’ With People Smugglers
» UK: Send Them Back! Farage Backs Australian PM’s Policy of Returning All Migrants to Stop ‘Millions’ More Trying to Cross the Mediterranean
Culture Wars
» Army to Review Decision to Have Male Cadets Wear High Heels
» Chimpanzee ‘Personhood’ Case Sows Confusion
» Stefanini Our Only Candidate for Vatican Says France
» Asian, African Nations Challenge ‘Obsolete’ World Order
» Earth-Sized Telescope Expands to the South Pole to See Black Holes in Detail
» Mysterious ‘Supervoid’ In Space is Largest Object Ever Discovered, Scientists Claim
» Why I Teach Evolution to Muslim Students

China Debt Mess Brings Out the Yin and Yang in Policy Makers

China has a $28 trillion problem. That’s the country’s total government, corporate and household debt load as of mid-2014, according to McKinsey & Co. It’s equal to 282 percent of the country’s total annual economic output.

President Xi Jinping’s government aims to wind down that burden to more manageable levels by recapitalizing banks, overhauling local finances and removing implicit guarantees for corporate borrowing that once helped struggling companies. Those like Baoding Tianwei Group Co., a power-equipment maker that Tuesday became China’s first state-owned enterprise to default on domestic debt.

Now hold that thought, and consider this: China’s also trying to prop up a $10.4 trillion economy that’s decelerating and probably will continue to do so through 2016, or so says the International Monetary Fund. The economy expanded 7 percent — the leadership’s growth target for this year — in the first quarter, the weakest since 2009 and a far cry from the 10 percent average China managed from 1980 through 2012.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Foreigners Abandon Spain Over Lack of Jobs

The number of foreigners living in Spain fell in 2014 for the third straight year, official data showed on Tuesday as the country struggles with a sky-high unemployment rate.

The biggest falls in percentage terms were among immigrants from Spain’s former colonies in Latin America.

The number of Peruvians living in Spain plunged by 21.3 percent to 71,045, the number of Ecuadorians dropped by 19.5 percent to 176,247 while the number of Colombians fell by 17 percent to 150,956.

Romanians and Moroccans are the two largest groups of immigrants in Spain but their numbers shrunk as well last year.

The number of British nationals registered in Spain fell by 6.0 percent to 282,120.

Foreigners have been especially hard-hit by Spain’s economic downturn, sparked by the collapse of the labour-intensive property boom in 2008.

The number of foreigners living in Spain ballooned during the boom, jumping from 923,879 in 2000 to 5.2 million in 2011.

Spain returned to growth last year, with an expansion of 1.4 percent. While the unemployment rate has started to fall, it stood at 23.7 percent at the end of 2014, the second highest rate in the eurozone after Greece.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South Germany Has Lowest EU Unemployment

Upper Bavaria had the lowest unemployment rate in the entire EU last year, tied with Prague, a report showed on Wednesday. Both upper Bavaria and Prague in the Czech Republic had unemployment rates of 2.5 percent last year, according to the study by Eurostat.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Airmail Via Drones is Vexing for Prisons

By Michael S. Schmidt

BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — During the graveyard shift at 1:44 a.m., security cameras at the prison here picked up the blinking lights of an unidentified flying object approaching the facility’s fence.

A corrections officer was dispatched to investigate, but by the time she got there, all she could see was a man running away into the dense forest that surrounds the prison.

It was not until dawn that officers found a package that included a cellphone, tobacco and marijuana tangled in the power lines outside the prison and a small drone that had crashed in the bushes nearby. In the woods, investigators located a makeshift campground, the remote control device used to fly the drone, a bottle of grape-flavored Gatorade and drugs.

“It was a delivery system,” said Bryan P. Stirling, the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, explaining how the drone’s operators had planned to send the contraband into the prison, the Lee Correctional Institution. “They were sending in smaller amounts in repeated trips. They would put it on there, they would deliver it, someone inside would get it somehow, and they would send it back out and send more in.”


The authorities have detected at least three similar attempts at corrections facilities in the United States in the past two years. In the same period, there were also at least four reported attempts abroad, in Ireland, Britain, Australia and Canada.


Law enforcement officials say they have no way of knowing how many attempts have been successful, but the warden of the Lee Correctional Institute, Cecilia Reynolds, said that in recent weeks her officers found 17 phones in one inmate’s cell. She said she suspected that the phones continue to come in on drones.

“We’ve got to do something about this — these cellphones are killing us,” she said.

Smartphones are so desirable to inmates because unlike pay phones at prisons, they are not recorded or monitored. The phones also allow them to watch pornography and communicate surreptitiously with fellow prisoners.

The phones are essential for coordinating with smugglers using drones, because the prisoners need to know where to find the deliveries in the yard. The prisoners can then use the phones to quickly pay their suppliers.

[Where there’s a will there’s a way. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Feds Admit Terror-Recruiting Problem Among Refugees

In announcing the arrests of six Minnesota men charged with making repeated attempts to join the ISIS jihadist army in Syria, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger made a stunning admission Monday.

“To be clear, we have a terror-recruitment problem in Minnesota,” he said at a press conference Monday in Minneapolis. “This case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here.”

Luger said the case against the six was broken open only after one of their own changed his mind and decided to cooperate with officials. He said his office regularly reaches out and seeks those who want “to break the cycle of terror recruiting in Minnesota.”

Ground zero for the problem is the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, home to America’s largest Somali community. This community didn’t form through normal immigration. It has been created by the U.S. government through its systematic relocation of Somali refugees from their war-torn East African homeland into communities across the U.S.

Minnesota has been the most frequent depository for the Somali refugees but certainly not the only one. Other large Somali communities have been created in Columbus, Ohio, in Lewiston, Maine and San Diego, California, in Texas and other Southern states.

The Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis has received so many Somalis over the years that it is now known as “Little Mogadishu.”

One of the men arrested, in a conversation recorded by an FBI source, described his feelings toward his adopted homeland, the United States: “The American identity is dead. Even if I get caught, whatever, I’m through with America. Burn my ID,” he said, according to a transcript filed with the case.

Somalis are radicalized in mosques, over the Internet, and from person to person contact.

[The importation of these people is part of a “progressive” project to re-engineer the United States demographically, so that free-thinking Americans can be electorally subjugated. Permanently. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Jeb Bush is a Big Fan of NSA Surveillance

Washington (CNN) If there’s one thing Jeb Bush likes about President Barack Obama’s presidency, it’s the continuation of the NSA’s controversial spying program.

Bush, the former Florida governor likely to jump into the 2016 GOP presidential race, on Tuesday called the NSA’s bulk collection of phone and internet metadata — the “best part” of the Obama administration.

“I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using, you know, the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” Bush said on the Michael Medved radio show on Tuesday. “Even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation I think of our national government is to keep us safe.”

[But who will keep us safe from the national government? — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Minnesota Men Charged With Trying to Join Islamic Militants

By Amy Forliti

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — When Guled Ali Omar made up his mind to join the Islamic State group, he wasn’t easily deterred.

The Minnesota man emptied his bank accounts last May and planned to fly to Syria via San Diego, federal officials say, but his family confronted him and he set his plans aside. In November, he tried to board a flight in Minneapolis, but was stopped by the FBI.

Even while under investigation, Omar and five other men kept trying to make their way to Syria, coming up with a plot to secure false passports.

Omar is among six Minnesota men of Somali descent charged with terrorism-related offenses in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday. They are among the latest Westerners accused of traveling or attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group, which has carried out a host of attacks including beheading Americans.

In Alabama on Monday, a spokesman for Muslim couple said their 20-year-old daughter fled a Birmingham suburb to join IS militants in Syria after being recruited online. The woman’s whereabouts weren’t immediately clear.

Authorities described the Minnesota men as friends in the state’s Somali community who recruited and inspired each other and met secretly to plan their travels.

[And of course, the ignoble Qur’an and their local imams had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all! — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Navy Drone Makes History With Refueling Maneuver

Washington (CNN) The latest version of unmanned naval aerial combat vehicles achieved another first on Wednesday when it conducted its first aerial refueling test, the Navy announced.

While flying off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, the X-47B, an unmanned vehicle designed to eventually operate off naval aircraft carriers, successfully connected to an Omega K-707 refueling tanker and received more than 4,000 pounds of fuel, the Navy said in a press release.

“What we accomplished today demonstrates a significant, groundbreaking step forward for the Navy,” Capt. Beau Duarte, the manager for the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program, said in the release. “The ability to autonomously transfer and receive fuel in flight will increase the range and flexibility of future unmanned aircraft platforms, ultimately extending carrier power projection.”


It was not known going into the test whether the aircraft would be able to effectively maneuver its probe used to take in fuel with the tanker’s drogue, also called the basket, in the same way a pilot would be able to position their aircraft in a refueling operation.

“In manned platforms, aerial refueling is a challenging maneuver because of the precision required by the pilot to engage the basket,” Duarte said. “Adding an autonomous functionality creates another layer of complexity.”

[Kudos to the Navy for an excellent technical accomplishment. But it is an unhappy fact that a quantum extension in the range and flying time of these things could also increase the “power projection” of the burgeoning domestic surveillance establishment. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Pew First: Gun Rights Top Gun Control in Major Public Opinion Shift

Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership.

The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.

Pew Research Center found that while support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.

“We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership — not gun control — makes people safer,” said the survey.

To say the shift in opinion is radical is not an understatement. It follows a short period where Americans were torn over gun ownership, but eventually sided with gun rights groups during the Obama years.

The findings also track with support for the National Rifle Association which had its second biggest national convention earlier this month and whose membership has reached five million.

Pew suggested that the change is the result of Americans believing that crime is a big problem, despite statistics showing the opposite.

[Statistics can be cooked. Perceptions based on personal experience cannot. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Prosecutors: Workers Busted for Stealing Bourbon That Would Last a Lifetime

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Nine people were indicted Tuesday on charges of spiriting away what Kentucky authorities say was more bourbon whiskey than one person could drink in a lifetime.

Prosecutors say the scheme led by rogue distillery workers lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of whiskey but began to unravel when whiskey barrels were discovered behind a Franklin County shed.

The theft targeted the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries, they said, and included some of the most prestigious brands in the business, including pricey Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. It had been going on since 2008 or 2009, officials said.

Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland said last week the case involves “more than I could imagine one person drinking in a lifetime.”

Sheriff Pat Melton estimated the recovered whiskey alone is worth at least $100,000.

All nine are charged with engaging in organized crime as members of a criminal syndicate.

[“Whiskey you’re the devil, you’re leadin’ me astraaay …” — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Rep. Ellison: Terror Recruits Are in the Dark, Hard to Reach

By Allison Sherry

WASHINGTON — When Rep. Keith Ellison closes his eyes at night, he worries about the Somali-American kids at the “tipping point.”

They are the ones so disaffected with life in the U.S. that they find comfort in amateur, dark, online recruiting videos from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, referred to as ISIL or ISIS. The ones, Ellison says, who think they would have a better life and a better chance at influencing U.S. foreign policy by fighting there than voting here. Those, he said, who think ISIL leaders actually care about them.

“The people who get recruited are operating outside of the regular mosque structure, the regular community center structure,” said Ellison, a DFLer who was the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, in 2006, and who represents Minneapolis. He spoke at length with the Star Tribune after authorities charged six Minnesotans with planning to leave the United States and fight alongside Islamic extremist groups.

“They’re sort of off in some dark corner, you know. … They’re not going to Mogadishu, they’re going to Syria or Iraq to go fight somebody they don’t know. For what? What’s the comfort they are looking for?” he said.

[They’re looking for the comfort of cutting someone’s head off — and if they get killed, there’s always the celestial Playboy club. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Terror Charges Leave Shock and Dismay Across Twin Cities

By Mila Koumpilova

Monday’s federal charges against six Minneapolis men accused of conspiring to join Islamic extremists overseas spurred soul-searching and pledges for action across the Twin Cities — from the governor’s office in St. Paul to the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where four of the men were students.

Some wondered what they might have done differently in the run-up to the charges; Minnesota leaders vowed to do more to engage with the Somali community in their aftermath.


On Tuesday, Dayton said he and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith had met with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger on Sunday and discussed the arrests. He said he promised that his office would do more to reach out to Somali community leaders, promote Somali-American appointments to state leadership positions and explore ways to boost job opportunities for young Somalis.

“We pledged whatever assistance we could,” he said.

Hours after authorities announced the charges on Monday, a Minnesota House panel voted to boost state funding tenfold to combat terrorist recruitment in Minnesota. Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, offered an amendment that would raise Department of Public Safety funding earmarked to combat recruitment, to $250,000. Kahn said the money would support partnerships between community groups and government agencies to thwart recruitment efforts.


Joining a violent group is wrong, agreed Sareedo Abdi, who owns Umu Dardaa, a second-floor shop that sells Somali tea, honey and other traditional items.

“The community doesn’t like it,” Abdi said. “Muslim religion is a peace religion. America gives us residence, health insurance, food stamps, school, jobs, opportunities for business. Why do they go to Syria? It’s no good.”

[Why indeed, when they’re being plied with government goodies? And why do liberal officials think more of the same is going to solve the problem? The reason they’re going is not because they’re not getting enough goodies here — it’s because the Islamic scripture, traditions, history, and grievances they’re taught in their mosques inspire them to do so. And after all, cutting off heads isn’t something you can get away with in the Twin Cities. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

War on Terror: One Mother Says She Was Glad Her Son Was Arrested

By Liz Sawyer

Family members of the six Somali-Americans charged with conspiracy attended a meeting Wednesday evening at the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis to discuss the situation and prepare for Thursday’s detainment hearing.

Earlier in the day, Somali community activist Abdirizak Bihi met with two women whose sons were arrested Sunday. Neither woman had any inkling her son could be persuaded to fight abroad, he said. They weren’t angered by the arrests, Bihi said, just saddened and fearful about what would happen next to their sons.

“They are in shock,” said Bihi, director of Somali Education and Social Advocacy in Minneapolis.

His talks with the women focused on their sons’ well-being and when they might be able to speak with them again. Bihi educated the mothers on the United States’ legal system and reassured them that their boys “are safe and will find justice.”


One mother volunteered to participate in programming that seeks to counteract the recruitment of young Somali men by Islamic extremists.

“The mothers are the main gatekeepers here.”

[Yes, I’m sure some little jihadi-larva who’s all hot to hack off a head is going to listen to his mommy. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Is There Free Speech in Canada?

The Vancouver Sun, April 9

The essential ingredient of a proper and successful democracy is the right to speak out freely without the fear of being persecuted for ones views regardless of if you are “right” or “wrong.”

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has banned Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa over “provocative” tweets denouncing Kyiv’s “neo-Nazis.”

This sad incident is a repeat of an earlier embarrassing (for Canada) occurrence in Vancouver when journalist, author, and historian Dr. Srdja Trifkovic was prevented from entering Canada to present a lecture on Bosnia because of the protestations from a similarly aggressive but small Bosnian Muslim lobby group in Canada.

What are Canadian “leaders” afraid of? The truth?


Henderson, Nevada

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

A Century of Chemical Warfare: Nations Reflect on Grim Anniversary

International community renews vows to eliminate stockpiles of chemical weapons as evidence grows of chlorine use in Syria.

One hundred years ago on 22 April, a vast yellow-green cloud drifted inexorably across fields of mud around the small town of Ypres in Belgium. The choking chlorine fog, released by German troops, claimed the lives of thousands of troops fighting on the French side in the First World War. It marked the first large-scale use of a chemical weapon.

That centenary was commemorated in Ypres on 21 April, where parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) renewed their commitment to rid the world of this horrific form of warfare.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU Accuses Gazprom of Abusing Position

‘Unfair price policy, artificial barriers to trade’

(ANSA) — Brussels, April 22 — The European anti-trust authority on Wednesday formally accused Russian gas giant Gazprom of abusing its dominant position in central and eastern Europe, implementing “unfair price policy” and “hindering transborder competition” by creating “artificial barriers”.

Gazprom has 12 weeks to respond to the charges.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ex-President: Germans Right to Fear Islam

Germany’s former President Christian Wulff said on Tuesday that Germans were “right to be afraid of a series of developments among Muslims” — but his comments were immediately shot down by Muslim scholars.

Wulff, who once famously stated that Islam is now also a part of German life, said that the Islamic world was gravely destabilized, with fundamentalism stretching from north Africa across the Middle East, the Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Wednesday.

He claimed that Muslims feared living through a “global military confrontation” between Sunnis and Shiites that could parallel the 30 Years’ War between Protestants and Catholics that devastated Europe.

“Everyone should do more to make this conflict smaller rather than bigger,” he said.

But Berlin-based Islam researcher Dr Ralph Ghadban told The Local that Wulff had misunderstood the conflicts going on in the Muslim world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Foreigners Leaving Spain Decreases Population to 46.6 Mln

304,623 left the country to return home

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, APRIL 21 — The Spanish population dropped in 2014 for the third consecutive year, to 46.6 million official residents.

The 170,392-decrease was largely due to foreigners leaving the country. According to the figures release on Tuesday by the national statistics institute, some 304,623 foreign nationals gave up their Spanish residency in 2014 to go back to their countries of origin. The figure is almost double that of 2013, when foreigners residing in the country dropped by 190,020 people (6.1% of total). Last year, the number of Spaniards who decided to return was 134,231 people, a 0.3% increase on the previous year. Of the 46.6 million residents in Spain, 41.9 million have Spanish citizenship and 4.7 million are foreign nationals (10.1%).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France Arrests Terror Suspect After He Apparently Shot Himself by Accident

A suspected Islamic terrorist’s plans to mount attacks on French churches were thwarted when he accidentally shot himself and called an ambulance, leading to the discovery of loaded guns, bulletproof vests and chilling notes about his intended targets, authorities said Wednesday.

French police believe the 24-year-old Algerian native was planning an imminent attack Sunday on one or more French churches in Paris when he shot himself, France’s top security official announced Wednesday. The suspect, who was not named, is a computer science student who was flagged as a risk by security officials last year, said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. He is also accused in the death of a young mother.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Police Arrest Man ‘Planning to Attack Churches’

French police have arrested a man suspected of planning an attack on “one or two churches” in a Paris suburb, the country’s interior minister has said.

Sid Ahmed Ghlam, a 24-year-old Algerian national, was detained on Sunday in Paris after he apparently shot himself by accident and called an ambulance.

He is also being questioned over the murder of a woman on Sunday.

France has stepped up security in the wake of recent attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket.

Ghlam was known to security services as having expressed a wish to travel to Syria to fight with Islamist militants, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

When police arrived at the scene on Sunday, they followed a trail of blood to the suspect’s car, where they found weapons and notes on potential targets.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Two Churches Target of Arrested Paris Terror Suspect

Issues still unclear, suspected terrorist could have accomplices

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — A terror suspect arrested Sunday in Paris was planning attacks against two churches in the short term with the participation of accomplices and had an arsenal of war weapons ready to be used, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday morning. He said the arrest of the young Islamic fundamentalist occurred by chance.

The Algerian national was known to the intelligence services and reportedly wanted to go fight in Syria.

According to investigators, the youth killed on Sunday a personal trainer who was found dead in her car in Villejiuf, a district of Paris. This murder, which still needs to be clarified, led to the arrest of the suspect, which occurred by chance.

Shortly before 9:00 am on Sunday April 19, a call was placed for an ambulance in the 13th arrondissement where a man was lying on the ground with a gunshot wound. He was identified on Wednesday as Sid Ahmed Ghlam. He claimed that he was attacked and was losing a lot of blood. Rescue services called the police and officers followed blood tracks and found a car parked nearby. Inside were Kalashnikovs, pistols, bullet-proof vests, munitions and a flashlight used for police cars. At the hospital, the wounded man was identified as a computer science student, an Algerian national who had been living in France since 2009.

The youth admitted he owned the car. In his apartment police found documents proving, according to Cazeneuve, that “without a doubt he was planning to commit an attack, probably against one or two churches”. The amount of weapons found have led investigators to believe that he has accomplices.

Cazeneuve added that the intelligence services had been keeping an eye on the student since last year, when he expressed the desire to join jihadists in Syria. His computer and phone were tapped. This year he had reportedly disappeared to travel to Turkey and had been briefly detained after his return.

Investigations carried out on Sunday, and a gunshot wound on a leg, have led investigators to suspect him of the murder or Aurélie Chatelain, 32, a fitness instructor who was in Paris to attend a pilates masterclass over the weekend. She was found murdered with three gunshot wounds, seated in the front of a car, beside the driver’s seat. Police suspect that Sid Ahmed Ghlam tried to steal her car and that, during the attempted carjacking, the Algerian fired at himself by mistake.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Officials Search for Church Terror Plot Accomplices

French investigators are searching for accomplices of a suspected jihadi terror plot to attack churches near Paris. The country’s prime minister said the plan specifically targeted Christians.

Four Kalashnikovs, a handgun, ammunition, bulletproof vests, communications equipment and 2,0000 euros ($2,145) in cash were found by police, Molins said, adding that the man had multiple papers in Arabic which made reference to Islamic State militant group and al Qaeda, as well as a handwritten attack plan.

The suspect, Molins added, had also been in contact with someone — possibly in Syria — who instructed him to target a church.

During a visit with Cazeneuve to the two churches in the Paris suburb of Villejuif that were allegedly targets for the attack, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “it was the Christians, the Catholics of France who were targeted.”

“Our country, like others, has faced in recent weeks a terrorist threat unprecedented in its nature and scope,” Valls added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Former Auschwitz Guard Describes Camp in Chilling Detail

LUENEBURG, Germany (AP) — A former SS sergeant described in chilling detail Wednesday how cattle cars full of Jews were brought to the Auschwitz death camp, the people stripped of their belongings and then most led directly into gas chambers.

Oskar Groening is being tried on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, related to a period between May and July 1944 when around 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Nazi-occupied Poland and most immediately gassed to death.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Google to Help Search for Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster

Those keen to search for Scotland’s mythical Loch Ness monster can do so from anywhere in the world after Google launched a cache of underwater and surface images of the lake.

The Street View series includes the ancient Urquhart Castle seen from the water, Fort Augustus Abbey and the lake seen “from Nessie’s perspective” under the peaty waters.

When searching Google Maps in the area, the usual yellow “Pegman” changes to a green Loch Ness monster icon, which can be dropped anywhere on the lake to see the view from there.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Heavily Armed Jihadist ‘Planning Attacks on Churches’ is Arrested by French Police After Accidentally Shooting Himself

A heavily armed Algerian Jihadi who was preparing to attack churches in Paris is in custody this morning after being implicated in the murder of a young woman.

The 24-year-old, who has not been named, had shot himself in the leg before his arrest by anti-terrorist officers on Sunday.

‘A terrorist attack was foiled on Sunday morning,’ said French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

‘The police discovered an arsenal containing weapons of war, and a suspect was immediately taken into custody.’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ravenna Police Detain Suspected Foreign Fighter

DIGOS police had been following suspect for some time

(ANSA) — Bologna, April 22 — DIGOS security police from the northeastern city of Ravenna have detained a foreign national suspected of being a foreign fighter who they had been keeping tabs on for some time, ANSA sources said Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the person was suspected of being close to joining ISIS militias or had already had an active role in conflicts in the Middle East or Africa.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nearly 700 Germans Leave Country to Join Terror Groups

Nearly 700 German citizens have left the country to join radical Islamist forces, German officials have said. Several have died in the Middle East, but many have returned, posing a threat to German security.

“Departures to war zones show no signs of abating,” said BfV President Hans-Georg Maassen. The BfV is Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

One third of the 680 people who had traveled abroad had returned to Germany while 85 had died in Syria or Iraq, the Maassen said. Many of those returning to Germany had gained experience in warfare and were being seen as a potential threat to domestic security.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Newcastle Jewish Barrister Demands Council Reveals Report Into Palestinian Flag Incident

Councillor David Stockdale had not breached standards by raising the Palestine flag — but Jewish community want to see investigation report

The Jewish community are demanding answers over how a councillor was found not to be in breach of authority standards when he flew a Palestinian flag above the Civic Centre.

David Stockdale, a Newcastle City Councillor, raised Palestine’s black, green, white and red flag last summer while a ‘die-in’ protest was held on the council’s lawns in response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza.

The Labour member, who represents the Blakelaw ward, was found to have been acting in a personal capacity when he raised the flag but today a Jewish barrister is demanding the council hands over its report into the incident.

Speaking at a General Election husting’s event in a Gosforth synagogue, Brian Mark, said: “There’s been an investigation which the standards committee didn’t see. We say that it’s important to have access to it and I would like to see the investigation so that this community can take counsel’s opinion to see whether this decision not to refer it to the standards board should go to judicial review.”

He said the Jewish community needed to know whether the reasons for not referring it were ‘lawful or not’…

           — Hat tip: MB [Return to headlines]

Visible Light Spectrum From Alien Planet Measured for 1st Time (Video)

Astronomers have detected an exoplanet’s visible-light spectrum directly for the first time ever, a milestone that could help bring many other alien worlds into clearer focus down the road.

The scientists used the HARPS instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile to study the spectrum of visible light reflected off the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b, which lies about 50 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. You can see a new video of 51 Pegasi b and its environs here on

51 Pegasi b, a “hot Jupiter” gas giant that orbits close to its parent star, was spotted in 1995, when it became the first alien world ever discovered around a sunlike star. (The first exoplanets of any type were found in 1992 around a superdense, rotating stellar corpse called a pulsar.)

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

9-Year Hunger Striker Asks to Leave Guantanamo So He Can Have a Family

A suspected bodyguard for the late Al Qaeda founder Usama bin Laden who has been on a nine-year hunger strike during his detention in Guantanamo Bay went before a parole board Tuesday to ask for his release so he can marry and have a family.

Abdul Rahman Shalabi, who wants to return home to Saudi Arabia, also is open to being resettled in another country if that would speed his release from Guantanamo, attorney Julia T. M. Wood said to members of the Periodic Review Board.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

How Putin Undermines the Iran Deal

Russian missiles to defend the nuclear sites saves the mullahs

By Jed Babbin

Vladimir Putin’s decision to lift Russia’s embargo on the sale of surface-to-air missiles to Iran is a reminder that we have to walk and chew gum at the same time. While we engage in the political self-absorption that consumes us for two out of every four years, we can’t afford to ignore nations such as Russia and Iran, especially when they act in concert.

Mr. Putin announced last week that five squadrons of the Russian Antey 2500, an upgraded version of the air and missile defense S-300 system, will soon be delivered to Iran. The Antey 2500 is capable of launching two kinds of missiles — up to eight per battery — and features multiple radars and command-and-control equipment. Mounted on tracked vehicles, the system is highly mobile. It will be a significant upgrade to Iran’s already-capable air- and missile-defense systems.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Iranian air defense systems will be almost impenetrable where it’s deployed, except by stealth aircraft and cruise missiles. (It may be possible to overwhelm it with a large enough volley of cruise missiles.) America has many stealthy aircraft and other weapons, but the Israelis don’t. The upgraded S-300 will mean that the Iranians can effectively defend at least their five most important nuclear weapons sites.

The effects of Mr. Putin’s decision are immediate. First, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has said that their “military sites” will be off-limits to international inspectors. Deployment of five S-300 systems at as many nuclear development sites will enforce Ayatollah Khamenei’s diktat. Thus, the sale of the missile systems effectively precludes any effective inspections regime from being a part of the nuclear weapons deal being negotiated by President Obama.

Mr. Putin’s announcement is thus a direct interference in Mr. Obama’s negotiations.

           — Hat tip: K [Return to headlines]

Report: ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Was ‘Seriously Wounded’ In a March Airstrike — Pentagon Denies

The leader of the world’s most dangerous terrorist group has reportedly been seriously wounded in an airstrike in western Iraq, Martin Chulov at The Guardian reports.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy figurehead of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), “suffered serious injuries during an attack by the US-led coalition in March,” according to Chulov’s sources.

Two officials, one Western and one Iraqi, confirmed to The Guardian that the airstrike targeted multiple cars in the town of Baaj in northwestern Iraq on March 18.

The Pentagon has denied the report. Defense officials told The Daily Beast that the air strike was not aimed at a high-value target and that they “have no reason to believe it was Baghdadi.” They said there was no evidence then or since then that Baghdadi was killed.

Chulov reports that officials didn’t know that Baghdadi was in one of the cars targeted in the airstrike. He was reportedly staying in that area of Iraq because he “knew from the war that the Americans did not have much cover there,” a source who is aware of Baghdadi’s movements told The Guardian.


ISIS was reportedly masterminded by a former Iraq colonel in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence services, and the Sunni militant group has a highly structured organization. Baghdadi serves as the religious face of the franchise that evolved from Al Qaeda in Iraq.

“In 2010, Bakr and a small group of former Iraqi intelligence officers made Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir and later ‘caliph,’ the official leader of the Islamic State,” Der Spiegel reported. “They reasoned that Baghdadi, an educated cleric, would give the group a religious face.”

After Baghdadi was wounded, ISIS leaders reportedly began scrambling to figure out a succession plan because they thought he was going to die, according to The Guardian. Previous reports about Baghdadi’s death or severe injury have proved false.

Given the dominance of Saddam-era intel officials, ISIS is unlikely to be fatally crippled if Baghdadi is unable to lead.

[Probably what in the Army we used to call a “latrine rumor.” — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Turkey Recalls Ambassador to Austria After Parliament Issues Armenian Genocide Declaration

Turkey said Wednesday it is recalling its ambassador to Austria after parties represented in parliament signed a declaration recognizing the massacre of Armenians a century ago as genocide.

The six parties signed a declaration on Tuesday and held a minute of silence in memory of the victims.

“Due to the historic responsibility — the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was allied with the Osman Empire during World War I — it is our responsibility to recognize the terrible events as genocide and to condemn them,” the declaration stated.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as genocide.

Turkey, however, has insisted that the toll has been inflated, and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest, not genocide. It has fiercely lobbied to prevent countries from officially recognizing the massacres as genocide.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement protested against the Austrian move, saying the country’s parliament had no right to “accuse the Turkish people of a crime” that was “contrary to legal and historic truths.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey Calls on Leaders to Reject Armenian Genocide Label

Turkey’s president has blamed Armenia for making plans to “insult Turkey” during ceremonies to mark 100 years since the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians. Ankara rejects assertions the 1915 killings were genocide.

Speaking in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan said he had talked to US President Barack Obama about the issue, and he “said it should be left to the historians, not the politicians,” to determine whether the killings constituted genocide.

Meanwhile, US Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes steered clear of using the word “genocide” when meeting heads of America’s Armenian community at the White House.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kazakhstan Rejects Euro-Asian Single Currency

Putin proposal ‘not on the agenda’

(ANSA) — Moscow, April 22 — Kazakhstan on Wednesday rejected a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a single ‘Euro-Asian’ currency in the former Soviet bloc.

Deputy Economy Minister Timut Yaksilikov said the idea was “not on the agenda”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Which Food Prices Are Rising Fastest (And Slowest) In Russia?

Data released Monday by state statistics service Rosstat show that as year-on-year food price inflation hit a startling 24.7 percent in March, price rises were by no means equal across the board.

Goods with a significant share of imports, such as sugar, have seen blistering price rises of more than 50 percent spurred by the steep devaluation of the ruble currency in the second half of 2014, which pushed up the price of imports. The ruble is currently down around one-third against the U.S. dollar since this time last year.

Other groups, such as fish and seafood, have been hit hard by Russia’s embargo last August on a range of Western food imports in response to U.S. and EU sanctions on Moscow over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

But in product categories where domestic production dominates — such as bread and baked goods — price rises are significantly less severe.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No NATO Troops on Battlefield as Taliban Announce Spring Offensive in Afghanistan

The Taliban said on Wednesday that they will start their spring offensive this week, an annual campaign in their war against the Afghan government.

This fighting season is the first year the insurgents will face just Afghan forces on the battlefield after the withdrawal of most international combat troops at the end of last year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Beijing “Buys” Pakistan for US$ 45 Billion

Xi Jinping and Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for projects related to the “New Silk Road”. A China-Pakistan Economic Corridor linking Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea and the Karot dam are among the ambitious goals. Agreements include roads, port facilities and power stations.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) — China has promised Pakistan investments worth US$ 45 billion to have a more direct route to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Nawaz Sharif yesterday signed 51 agreements to build a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — a network of roads, railway and pipelines between the long-time allies.

Xi, whose visit lasted only two days (20-21 April), was the first Chinese president to travel to Pakistan in more than ten years.

For China, Pakistan is strategically located, providing access to the Indian Ocean over land and a boost to trade with Europe, Africa and the Middle East

China is also Pakistan’s top trading partner, and both have a mutual distrust of India, seen as the main obstacle to ‘New Silk Road’.

As part of the new partnership, two countries plan to build a 3,000-km corridor stretching from Xinjiang, in western China, to Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea.

They also agreed to build the Karot Dam in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, in northern Pakistan.

The 720-megawatt structure would take about six years to build, according to project documents filed by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp, which is investing US$ 125 million in China Three Gorges South Asia Investment.

It is expected to generate 75 per cent of its energy during the summer months when water flow in the Jhelum River is at its highest.

China Three Gorges Corp, the Beijing-based developer of the world’s largest dam, is expected to become Pakistan’s biggest clean-energy company with plans for US$ 5.5 billion of hydropower, solar and wind projects totalling more than 2,000 megawatts in capacity.

Pakistan requires as much as US$20 billion in investments over the next five years to overcome a 10,000-megawatt shortfall in power capacity.

Xi and Sharif signed deals valued at US$ 28 billion to build roads, ports and power plants — nearly equal to the amount of foreign aid the US has provided to Pakistan over the past decade to support its war in Afghanistan.

The investments, if realised, will help Sharif revive Pakistan’s economy, which suffers from chronic power failures and an insurgency that has killed more than 50,000 people since 2001.

China also pledged to fight terrorism and help bring peace to Afghanistan.

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

Chemistry: Degrees of Separation

Chemists hope to break China’s monopoly on rare-earth elements by finding cheap, efficient ways to extract them from ore.

China has a near monopoly on production of these elements, generating 97% of the world’s supply in 2010.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryos

In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted—rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month, about the ethical implications of such work.

In the paper, researchers led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to head off such concerns by using ‘non-viable’ embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for ß-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Drone With Radioactive Material Lands on Roof of Japanese Prime Minister’s Office

Japanese authorities said they were investigating after a small drone laced with traces of radiation was found Wednesday on the roof of the prime minister’s office, sparking concerns about drones and their possible use for terrorist attacks.

No injuries or damage were reported from the incident, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Indonesia to attend an Asian-African conference.

Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone. They were investigating the possibility it had crashed during a flight.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Is China-Pakistan ‘Silk Road’ A Game-Changer?

China has announced a $46bn investment plan which will largely centre on an economic corridor from Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan looks at the significance of the plans.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Hong Kong Government Closes the Door on Universal Suffrage

The authorities table a draft for electoral reform before the Legislative Council that is identical to the one presented by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. The proposal is set to go to a vote next month. It requires the support of four pro-democracy legislators to pass. The opposition plans to block it; otherwise, things will not change.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — The next election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, scheduled for 2017, should take place as planned by the National People’s Congress.

A Nominating Committee modelled on the existing Election Committee will be tasked with choosing candidates for the post of chief executive. However, only the top two or three will go forward to the citywide poll to be elected by universal suffrage.

Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor rolled out the reform plan in an address today before the Special Administrative Region’s Legislative Council. During her speech, pro-democracy legislators walked out.

Under the proposed reform, contenders for Hong Kong’s top job in 2017 will need just 120 votes of support from the Nominating Committee in order to qualify for consideration as candidates.

Like the Election Committee, the Nominating Committee will have 1,200 members, 300 each from one of four major sectors (business and commercial, professionals, political, and social and religious), which represent 38 sub-sectors.

Each would-be candidate can get a maximum of 240 votes, so as to have a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 candidates.

Afterwards, each Nominating Committee member can cast at least two approval votes among all the contenders. The two or three potential candidates with the highest votes — with a minimum of 600 nominators’ approval — can stand in front of the whole electorate.

Ms Lam did not explain who or how the final number of candidates would be chosen, what would happen if only one candidate makes it, what procedures would be used between the first and second vote in the Nominating Committee.

During her address, 17 legislators from the Pan Democrat camp, a grouping of 27 members of Hong Kong’s legislative council who have vowed to oppose the package, walked out of the chamber in protest, shouting slogans.

Before leaving, they left signs with a cross on the desk in front of their seat (pictured) to show their opposition to the government plan.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said pan-democrats would campaign against the government package and that his party would definitely vote against it.

The Hong Kong government plans to have its proposed amendments voted by the 70-member Legislative Council next month, where it will need a two-thirds majority to pass it. This means that it must win over at least four pro-democracy legislators.

If the package is not passed, there will be no reform and Hong Kong’s chief executive will remain in the hands of the existing Election Committee, which is controlled by Beijing.

The draft proposal for electoral reform presented today by the Hong Kong government is the same as the one presented in August 2014 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

When the latter was announced, tens of thousands of people joined the ‘Occupy Central with Peace and Love,’ movement, which had been peacefully challenging the government for months, demanding real democratic reforms.

Except for some skirmishes between pro-democracy activists and pro-government demonstrators, the protest movement ended peacefully, after impressing the people of the city.

At present, the student groups that joined Occupy — and effectively took control of the movement — said that are going to wait for the May vote to see if and how to restart the popular protest.

Occupy leaders back pro-democracy members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, but have not provided details about future demonstrations.

For its part, the Catholic Church had come out in favour of the demonstrations. Although it called on Catholics to remain calm and use non-violence, the Diocese opened its churches in the occupied areas to allow protesters to rest overnight.

It also issued appeals and presented analyses in favour of democratic reform for the city. At the same time, it worked for a peaceful compromise when the situation seemed to get out of hand.

Hong Kong’s bishop emeritus Card Joseph Zen played a leading role from the beginning of the movement, going so far as to spend a few nights with pro-democracy protesters.

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

The People’s Republic of Cruiseland

The cruise business in China is still small. In 2014 about 700,000 Chinese travelers cruised, compared with 10 million Americans and more than 6 million Europeans. But the numbers are climbing rapidly—an increase of 79 percent from 2012 to 2014—and the ceiling isn’t yet visible. In the U.S. and Australia, about 3.5 percent of the population cruises each year; the proportion in China is less than one-sixtieth of that. Some forecasters estimate that China will be the No. 2 market by 2017—and that it could eventually replace the U.S. as the largest in the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sudan ‘Won’t Allow’ French, US, British Envoys Access to Darfur

Khartoum has so far declined to issue visas for senior French, British and US diplomats hoping to conduct a fact-finding mission in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region, UN diplomatic sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

They said Sudan’s failure to grant visas to the deputy U.N. ambassadors of the three veto-wielding Western powers was a further sign of Khartoum’s increasingly confrontational approach to the United Nations and the West over the U.N.-African Union mission to Darfur (UNAMID), which Khartoum wants shut.

The sources said the diplomats wanted to visit Darfur in January, and that British Deputy U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson was intending to lead the trip. At that time UNAMID was under fire for its poor performance and withholding of information about violence against civilians and peacekeepers in Darfur…

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

Thousands of Ethiopians March Against is Group Christian Killings

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians marched through the capital Wednesday in a government-organised rally condemning the murder of a group of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State (IS) militants in Libya.

The official rally appeared to be aimed at channelling public anger sparked by the killings, with a huge crowd beginning to gather shortly after dawn in Addis Ababa’s huge Meskel Square. However, some demonstrators directed their anger at the government.

“Our brothers were murdered, the government must do something,” shouted Anteneh Tefera, a young demonstrator. “Their blood is not the blood of animals.”…

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

Luis Fleischman: An Evaluation of the Summit of the Americas

The summit of the Americas that concluded early in April had a number of components, some of them more visible than others.

Of course, the media’s main focus was on the meeting between President Barack Obama and the Cuban dictator, Raul Castro.

The spirit of the meeting generated optimism. Raul Castro exempted Obama from all the “sins” committed by the United States against Cuba and for the first time praised an American president and his humble origins.

This historic meeting was also the centerpiece of the speeches delivered by many of the 35 Latin American presidents present at the conference. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called both presidents courageous and defined the embargo against Cuba as harmful to the Cuban people and to inter-American relations. Rousseff disregarded the fact that the miserable situation Cuba now finds itself in, is the result of its’ communist system and that Cuba’s subversive activities since the 1960’s has been a source of inter American division rather than unity.

Obama confirmed Rousseff’s (and Castro’s) view when in a speech delivered before the social forum, he pointed out ““The days when the U.S. agenda in this hemisphere often assumed that the U.S. could interfere with impunity, are over….If the United States starts a new chapter in its relations with Cuba, we expect that such a move would lead to an environment where the lives of Cubans could be improved”.

[Return to headlines]

EU Mulls Military Op: Estimated 850 on Disaster Boat

Italy ‘firming up’ proposals for EU summit

(ANSA) — Rome, April 21 — The European Union is mulling a “military operation” targeting human traffickers in the Mediterranean in the wake of last weekend’s migrant-boat disaster in which hundreds died, European Commission Spokesperson Natasha Bertaud said Tuesday. The European Commission presented a 10-point plan Monday including destroying smugglers’ boats on the Libyan coast. This is also part of a five-point Italian plan unveiled Tuesday which includes the possible use of drones. Summing up the proposed response to the worst postwar disaster, Premier Matteo Renzi said Italy will have “concrete talking points” ready for an emergency European Union summit Thursday. These are “intervention in countries of origin, migrant boat destruction, doubling the Triton operation, migrant relocation shared across countries, working with the UN, (and a) joint effort on Libya’s southern borders.

“We are determined to obtain solidarity and joint initiatives,” said Renzi.

“We are seeing an unprecedented phenomenon in some respects, but sadly for others it was already seen in the days of the slave trade,” Renzi said.

“Criminals who take money profiting on human flesh: Italy alone has arrested more than a thousand”, the Italian premier said .

In regard to establishing a European policy to address and potential ease the crisis, Renzi wrote “It would be a first step for Europe if written words finally correspond to concrete facts, but there is a still a long way to go”.

The “concrete commitments” the EU made after the disaster, however, showed “for the first time that the whole of Europe could display attention and solidarity” on the crisis, Renzi went on to say.

He said Italy will “try to firm up” these proposals before Thursday’s summit.

The EU is already looking at a mission along the lines of its successful Atlanta op that destroyed Somali pirates bases, EU sources said.

But member States are split on how much they should contribute, the sources said.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella made another call for the international community to work to avert a recurrence of “tragedies” like the one that occurred off Libya between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Demanding that more be done to stop disasters, he said: “We are faced with shocking tragedies.

“Traffickers in human beings are provoking the slaughter of innocents. We feel this cutting wound.. It’s our duty and that of Europe and the whole international community to do more to prevent these disasters”.

Italian investigators said that they estimated that around 850 people were aboard the migrant-boat when it sank after a people smuggler at the helm rammed it into a cargo ship. Rescuers saved 28 people from the wreck. “It has not yet been possible to establish the death toll,” investigators were quoted as saying by ANSA sources, adding that survivors have given numbers ranging from 400 to 950 passengers. But they added the survivors’ testimony and a report from a Portuguese merchant ship sent to rescue the boat led them to estimate that “there were around 850 migrants aboard”.

Some 350 Eritreans were among the feared 850 people who perished in the boat, a United Nations spokesperson said on Tuesday.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Adrian Edwards said: “According to survivors heard by UNHCR, the boat left Tripoli, Libya on Saturday with approximately 850 people and many children. “Among the people on board, there were 350 Eritreans, and (others) from Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia”.

Among the items on Thursday’s summit agenda are stopping people traffickers, trying to restore peace and unity in Libya, spreading the migrant burden, revising the Dublin III charter on where migrants must be processed, setting up way stations in countries of origin and upping rescue operations to previous levels.

Several leaders have said the EU as a whole must do more and the current Triton border patrol and rescue operation must be boosted, while trying to stop traffickers placing desperate people in rickety boats.

Triton took over from Italy’s Mare Nostrum search and rescue operation late last year.

It has a third of Mare Nostrum’s budget and a much smaller operating range — just 30 nautical miles from coastlines.

The year-long Mare Nostrum, which scoured the seas, saved about 170,000 migrants while Triton has rescued about 30,000.

Some 3,000 migrants died last year while more than half that, 1,600, have died so far this year.

The key problem is averting more loss of life, either by rescuing people or stopping them from setting off in the first place.

Italy’s Catholic Sant’Egidio community, which has a record of brokering international peace deals, on Tuesday proposed setting up desks in Libya that would be able to pass out “humanitarian visas” for Europe.

“That way we’ll avert these voyages of death,” it said. Politicians like the Northern League’s Matteo Salvini argue that boosting rescue ops only encourages more migrants to risk their lives.

They also say local politicians around Italy, as well as some associations, are profiting from the migrant-reception industry because of the business it generates for their communities, allegedly at the expense of services for Italians.

Salvini has been criticised for saying Renzi’s government has blood on its hands and for proposing a naval blockade on Libya.

His outspoken stances have helped rack up support for the League, which is now Italy’s top centre-right party according to most polls.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Gang Member Facing Murder Charges Was Spared Deportation Under Obama Program

The Obama administration has admitted that an illegal immigrant and known gang member — who recently was charged in the murders of four people — was allowed to remain in the United States under President Obama’s executive actions.

Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez was allowed in August 2013 to remain in the U.S., following his request about seven months earlier to stay under the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez.

Rodriquez acknowledged in a letter to a top Republican senator that Rangel-Hernandez’s application was approved, even though a federal crime database indicated he was a “known gang member.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IS Smuggles Jihadists to Europe Disguised as Desperate Refugees, Warns NATO Chief

As thousands of men, women and children flee the war-ravaged region, terrorists are being infiltrated into the mass exodus heading to Europe.

Dr Jamie Shea said Britain and other countries must be “on our guard” to combat the threat.

IS chiefs have seized on mass migration from the region as an “attractive” way to get hardened terrorists into the West under the cover of refugees.

In a speech to the Counter-Terror Expo in London, Dr Shea also gave a chilling insight into the scale and enormous wealth of IS.

He likened IS to a Mafia-style organisation with a £4billion fortune which was recently raking in £1.3million-a-day from oil revenues alone.

Referring to the migration chaos, Dr Shea told security industry delegates: “You can see it in the Middle East crisis, in the influx of refugees from Syria, the tragic capsizing of boats and also the sheer volumes of numbers — 5,000 in the last three days already entering Italy.

“There is no sign whatsoever that this flow of people is going to stop.

“IS is using this to infiltrate further terrorist operatives into Europe.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: First Time EU Solidarity Shown on Migrants’, Renzi

(ANSAmed) — ROME, APRIL 21 — The “concrete commitments” the EU made after the weekend’s worst-ever migrant disaster showed “for the first time that the whole of Europe could display attention and solidarity” on the crisis, Premier Matteo Renzi said Tuesday. “We will try to firm up” these proposals before Thursday’s special EU summit, he added.

According to Renzi, Italy will have “concrete talking points” ready for the emergency European summit. These are “intervention in countries of origin, migrant boat destruction, doubling the Triton operation, migrant relocation shared across countries, working with the UN, joint effort on Libya’s southern borders”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Migrants Crisis: Italy ‘At War’ With People Smugglers

Italy says it is “at war” with migrant traffickers, and has urged the EU to take robust action to stop more people dying in the Mediterranean.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made the comment ahead of an EU summit on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

Italy’s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti told Italian TV that the EU should consider military intervention.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: Send Them Back! Farage Backs Australian PM’s Policy of Returning All Migrants to Stop ‘Millions’ More Trying to Cross the Mediterranean

Nigel Farage has called for any migrants rescued from the Mediterranean to be sent back to Africa.

The Ukip leader said ‘millions’ of refugees could arrive on boats in Europe over the next few years unless they are intercepted and turned back now.

Mr Farage urged Prime Minister David Cameron to resist pressure at an emergency summit of EU leaders in Brussels tomorrow for Britain to take in large numbers of refugees brought across the Mediterranean by people-smugglers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Army to Review Decision to Have Male Cadets Wear High Heels

By Dan Lamothe

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It gets a fair amount of attention in the U.S. military, in which thousands of assaults are reported annually and the Pentagon has acknowledged cultural problems that need to be addressed.

One place where the military is addressing the issue is college campuses, where Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) organizations train students before they earn a commission and become new officers. That has led to this:

Yes, those are photos of Army ROTC cadets wearing red high heels while in uniform. It’s part of a campaign known as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which bills itself as a “playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.” It isn’t focused on the military, although a number of units have participated in the past.

The photos above were taken at Temple University in Philadelphia. But a similar event at Arizona State University has generated controversy this week. An anonymous post on Reddit alleged that cadets there were required to participate, and would get a negative mark for not supporting the “sharp” mission, an Army acronym for the Army’s Sexual Harrassment/Assault Response & Prevention program.

The post has generated attention from a variety of conservative publications, including RedState (Headline: “Army forces ROTC cadets to wear high heels”) NewsMax (“ROTC Cadets required to Wear High Heels with Combat Uniform”) and The Washington Times (“Army ROTC program allegedly pressured cadets to walk in high heels for ASU event”).

A spokesman for U.S. Army Cadet Command, Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, said ROTC units across the country were directed to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events on their campuses “to help stamp out sexual assault on the campuses where they have a presence.” But Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, the cadets’ commanding general, did not direct how the units would do so, and had other events as options, Haverstick said.

“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently reviewing how local universities implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” Haverstick said in an e-mail.

[This indoctrination program is itself a sexual assault, one directed at men. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Chimpanzee ‘Personhood’ Case Sows Confusion

New York judge amends an order that animal rights group said granted a writ of habeas corpus to two research animals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Stefanini Our Only Candidate for Vatican Says France

‘Vatican not in a good position to reject gays’ says Kouchner

(ANSA) — Paris, April 22 — France reiterated Wednesday that openly gay diplomat Laurent Stefanini is its “best” candidate for ambassador to the Holy See. “We confirm (his) candidacy…

and trust we’ll receive a reply,” sources at the Elysée Palace told ANSA. “We’re definitely not seeking another candidate”.

“The Vatican is not in a good position to reject homosexuals,” ex-foreign minister Bernard Kouchner told RTL radio. He said he had “the same problem” in 2007, when the Vatican rejected a diplomat chosen by former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Asian, African Nations Challenge ‘Obsolete’ World Order

Leaders of Asian and African nations called on Wednesday for a new global order that is open to emerging economic powers and leaves the “obsolete ideas” of Bretton Woods institutions in the past.

Their calls came at the opening of a meeting of Asian and African nations in Jakarta to mark the 60th anniversary of a conference that made a developing-world stand against colonialism and led to the Cold War era’s non-aligned movement.

Among the leaders listening were Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who were expected to meet on the sidelines of the conference, the latest sign of a thaw in relations between the Asian rivals.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the conference host, said those who still insisted that global economic problems could only be solved through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank were clinging to “obsolete ideas”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Earth-Sized Telescope Expands to the South Pole to See Black Holes in Detail

Astronomers building an Earth-sized virtual telescope capable of photographing the event horizon of the black hole at the center of our Milky Way have extended their instrument to include the University of Chicago-built South Pole Telescope.

The South Pole Telescope, situated at the National Science Foundation’s Amendsen-Scott South Pole Station, now is part of the largest virtual telescope ever built—the Event Horizon Telescope. By combining telescopes across the Earth, the Event Horizon Telescope will take the first detailed pictures of black holes.

The prime Event Horizon target is the Milky Way’s black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced ‘A-star’). Even though it is four million times more massive than the sun, it is tiny to the eyes of astronomers. Smaller than Mercury’s orbit around the sun, yet almost 26,000 light years away, studying its event horizon in detail is equivalent to standing in California and reading the date on a penny in New York.

With its unprecedented resolution, more than 1,000 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope, the Event Horizon Telescope will see swirling gas on its final plunge over the event horizon—never to regain contact with the rest of the universe. If the theory of general relativity is correct, the black hole itself will be invisible because not even light can escape its immense gravity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Mysterious ‘Supervoid’ In Space is Largest Object Ever Discovered, Scientists Claim

Astronomers have discovered a curious empty section of space which is missing around 10,000 galaxies.

The ‘supervoid’, which is 1.8 billion light-years across, is the largest known structure ever discovered in the universe but scientists are baffled about what it is and why it is so barren.

It sits in a region of space which is much colder than other parts of the universe and although it is not a vacuum, it seems to have around 20 per cent less matter than other regions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Why I Teach Evolution to Muslim Students

Encouraging students to challenge ideas is crucial to fostering a generation of Muslim scientists who are free thinkers, says Rana Dajani.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/22/2015

  1. Regarding the ‘Palestinian’ flag shenanigans in Newcastle, it is interesting to note that a supposedly massive investigation into sexual exploitation of ‘vulnerable’ women and girls by men with diverse sounding names has been taking place in the city (‘Operation Sanctuary’).

    Given the high levels of Mohammedan hugging within the city council (as attested by the flag incident), I’m expecting a Rochdale type cover-up to be revealed if and when Operation Sanctuary is finally concluded.

    Moreover, it almost goes without saying that the local BBC news slot has gone out of its way to avoid mentioning these matters, regardless of the handful of court appearances that have taken place so far.

    [redacted] times.

  2. ———————————————————
    Giovanni Bianconi on the English page of Corriere Dela Serra writes:

    “The first leg of the journey by land, to reach Libya from other countries in Africa, is the most expensive, costing between $4,000 and $5,000. The crossing, with departures from the country’s Mediterranean seaports, costs a further $1000-$1500. If those that manage to make it to Sicily want to go on to Rome or Milan, they will have to shell out another €200-€400, depending on how they continue their journey: by car, coach or train. The last leg, taking them to their desired destinations in northern Europe, will cost them a further €500 – €1500. The exact price depends on their final destination, with Germany or Switzerland costing a bit less, and Sweden and Norway the most expensive. The complete package is offered with just one condition: payment in advance for each leg, in cash or through trusted intermediaries in the two continents.”
    The Telegraph writes:
    “While poverty-stricken Africans and Asians are packed like slaves into leaky fishing boats crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, a new type of “first-class” refugee is emerging – wealthy Syrians paying thousands of pounds to be taken to Europe in yachts and motor launches. Italian police this week impounded a private yacht in the port of Pozzallo, Sicily, after it brought 98 Syrians and Palestinians from Turkey, with each adult refugee paying 8,500 euros (£6,000) to smugglers.There was a discount for the 23 children on board.”

    • That first link was impressive:

      I had to give up trying to extract the material for quoting, though. Kudos to you for being able to do so.

      The sardonic report by the police – e.g., comparing the criminal org with a travel agency – was much more informative than the English MSM’s complaint about poor people getting bad accommodations in comparison to what the rich could get.

      The Telegraph is so mired in its own class system that it can’t see how its reportage on the differences in treatment between the rich and poor elsewhere could serve as an indictment of England’s system of sorting people. Their own exquisitely sensitive class-conscious culture has prevented so many good people from succeeding. Even as England’s system serves to promote mediocrity because the mediocre possess the correct vowels it yet feels free to criticize others for practicing a like discrimination, though this one is based on money instead of language.

      If Tommy Robinson spoke with an Oxford accent – heaven forefend – his message would have to be treated more seriously. But since his vowels were found wanting, they could dismiss his message. That dismissal is criminal negligence in the current context of England being sucked dry.

  3. Oh man lots of stuff in this news feed-

    After having worked for 2+ years in Algeria, I can confirm that the Algerian jihadi who shot himself in the leg and thankfully derailed his evil plans has more than proven all the stereotypes about his culture.

    It’s bittersweet to see that Spain’s dreadful economy is having at least one positive result as some of the deadweight voluntarily removes itself.

    No surprise there are organized smuggling rings planting jihadis among the stream of migrants to Europe and profiting from it.

    As for the cadets in high heels, I’m not surprised because the cultural Marxists are out to destroy masculinity in the West, even more so if it is white and Christian. I just completed my quarterly ethics training, and yet again the video portrays a scenario where women and minorities have to save the government and taxpayer from the evil white Christian male. Of course, the good guys in the video also represent the demographic that is selecting the video for inclusion in the training.

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