Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/15/2015

Dozens of people were killed today when suicide bombers blew themselves up at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria. Meanwhile, the Obama administration announced that it is sending 300 American troops to Cameroon to assist in the fight against the kinetic activists of Boko Haram.

In other news, a chemical lab designed by Thomas Jefferson was discovered during the renovation of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. The science classroom, dating from the early 1800s, had been walled in at some point, which protected it from a fire that devastated much of the building.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, 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
» Fitch Cuts Brazil Rating Over Worsening Economic Picture
» Illinois to Postpone Pension Payments “We Are Out of Money Now”
» Wal-Mart’s Worst Stock Crash in 27 Years is Another Sign That the Economy is Rapidly Falling Apart
» 3 California Cities Blocking Parking Ticket App for Being Too Useful
» A Carefully-Designed Script: Gun Violence and Obama to the Rescue!
» Artists Sneak ‘Homeland is Racist’ Graffiti Onto Set of Hit TV Show
» Chemical Lab Designed by Thomas Jefferson Discovered in University of Virginia Rotunda
» CNN Caught Using Crisis Actor Operative to Attack Donald Trump
» Concealed Carrier Stops Kidnapping Attempt
» Court Tells State Psychology Board it Can’t Use Its Powers to Regulate Protected Speech
» Democratic Debate: How Do Denmark and the US Differ?
» Democrat Calls Out Politicians With Armed Guards, Defends Second Amendment at Debate
» ‘Godfather’ Star, 80 Other Actors Join Bloomberg Gun Control Campaign
» Good Guys Packing Send Bad Guys Packing
» Has the Kepler Space Telescope Discovered an Alien Megastructure?
» Hillary Takes Millions in Campaign Cash From ‘Enemies’
» Hispanics Wouldn’t Vote GOP if You Held a Gun to Their Heads
» Mass Panic at Texas School After Student Says “Gum”
» Money Men: Carson, Bush, Cruz Lead Latest Round in GOP Cash Race
» ‘Oath Keepers’ To Form College Chapters to Stop Students From ‘Cooperating in Their Own Murders’
» Pluto Among the ‘Most Diverse Worlds’ In Our Solar System
» The Most Violent Religion on Earth: Islam’s Honor Killings Growing in USA
» Video: Trump Calls Sanders a “Maniac Communist”
» Why Hasn’t the US Eradicated the Plague?
Europe and the EU
» British Court Rules UK Politicians Are Fair Game for GCHQ Spies
» EU Will ‘Discuss’ IMU Cut — Dombrovksis
» Europe Afraid TTIP Deal to Result in US-Style Capitalism
» France: Police Stage Rare Protest in Paris Against ‘Lax’ Judiciary
» French Climate Change Sceptic Weatherman Taken Off Air
» Italy: Armenian Ambassador: With Jews to Fight Indifference
» Italy: Carmelite Vicar-General Agrees Need to Apologise for Scandal
» Italy: Southern Campania Region Bears Brunt of Extreme Weather
» Over 100 Detained in Brussels at Anti-TTIP Protest Ahead of EU Summit
» Polish Author Gets Death Threats for Questioning Polish Tolerance
» UK: ‘Witchcraft’ Abuse Cases on the Rise
» UK: CofE Churches May Soon Only Open at Easter and Christmas Due Low Worshippers
» Macedonia: 7 Arrested for Supporting Terrorists in Kumanovo
North Africa
» Italy: Two New Lockerbie Suspects Identified
Israel and the Palestinians
» Hamas Calls for “Day of Rage” Tomorrow
» What is Behind the Days of Rage by Arabs in Israel?
Middle East
» Ankara Concerned Over Possible Cooperation With Kurds in Fight Against ISIL
» Iran Reveals Deep Underground Tunnel Packed With Missiles
» Islamic Halal Economy Set to Grow
» Italy: Saudi Women Get Free Rides for Breast Cancer Screening
» Nusra Front Militants Massacre Civilians in Syrian Province of Homs
» Saudi Execution Toll Climbs to 135
» Sinners in the Hands of an Angry State: Saudi Arabia Persecutes Non-Sunnis
» Syria’s Olive Warriors Fighting Back Against War to Boost Oil Sales
» The Su-34 in Syria
» Turkish PM’s ‘360 Degree Difference From ISIL’ Blunder Sparks Viral Outcry
» Turkish Police Holding Italian Minor in Custody — Sources
» Watch: John McCain ‘Guaranteed’ Two Years Ago Russia Wouldn’t Act in Syria
» Moscow: Astana Have Big Plans for Joint Oil Extraction in Caspian Sea
» The MH17 Report: Caveat Emptor
» Ukraine Threatens ‘Legal War’ With Russia Over Debt
South Asia
» Afghanistan Unable to Handle Security Situation With ISIL Alone
Far East
» Beijing Should Prepare to Counter US ‘Coercion’ In S. China Sea — Report
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Dozens Killed as Suicide Bombings Hit NE Nigeria Mosque: Witnesses
» Nigeria: Kidnapped ‘Chibok Girl’ Reportedly Flees Boko Haram, Says Others Alive
» US to Send 300 Troops to Aid Fight Against Boko Haram
Latin America
» Cuban Military Chief Reportedly Visits Syria in Support of Assad Regime
» Daughter of Peru Ex-President Fujimori Leads in Polls
» Austria to Spend $740mln on Refugees in 2016 — Finance Minister
» Commission-Turkey Reach Accord, Needs EU Summit OK
» Dream Turns Sour for Ethiopian Migrants Jailed in Malawi
» EP OKs Over 400mn for Refugee Crisis
» France’s SNCF Wants Migrants Treated ‘Humanely’
» French Want to Fingerprint All Visitors to EU Countries
» French Rail Network Will Allow Migrants Heading to Calais to Travel for Free
» German Bundestag Approves Laws to Limit Migrant Numbers
» Juncker Calls for Deeds Not Words on Migrants
» Merkel in U-Turn on Turkey Being Declared Safe Country for Migrants
» Merkel Faces Domestic Revolt Over Refugee Welcome
» Merkel Says Initial Steps on Greece, Italy Hotspots
» More Horrible Than Rape: Spengler
» Norway Seeks to Return Syrian Asylum Seekers Arriving From Russia
» Refugees Surprised by Polar Bear When Attempting to Jump Into Back of Truck in France
» Turkey Expects to Agree Visa-Free Travel With Europe in 2016
» UN Official Says UK Refugee Policy Echoes the Way Jews Were Treated by the Nazis
» The Dangerous Art of the Ultimate Selfie

Fitch Cuts Brazil Rating Over Worsening Economic Picture

Fitch dealt Brazil’s credit rating a one-step cut on Thursday to just above a junk rating, saying the government faces increased fiscal pressures as the economy contracts.

Fitch lowered the rating to BBB- from BBB, putting the country’s bonds one notch above “speculative” or junk level, and appended an “outlook negative” warning that a further downgrade could be in store.

“The rating downgrade reflects Brazil’s rising government debt burden, increased challenges to fiscal consolidation and a worsening economic growth backdrop,” the rating agency said.

“The difficult political environment is hampering progress on the government’s legislative agenda and creating a negative feedback loop for the broader economy.”…

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

Illinois to Postpone Pension Payments “We Are Out of Money Now”

For the past 4 months, Illinois has been embroiled in a budget impasse between the state’s Republican governor, and the Democratic legislature. They’ve gone so long without a budget, that they have to pay their lottery winners in IOUs and may have to shorten the length of their school year.

They’re essentially rationing and juggling the finances of their public institutions until the government comes up with a budget. This has resulted in a frightening situation for Illinois’ retirees, since the state has announced that they’re going to hold off on paying their pension department for the near future. According to Comptroller Leslie Munger, Illinois will have to postpone a $560 million payment that was due to the state’s retirees in November, and the system won’t be paid in full until June. Munger told reporters on Wednesday that “this decision is choosing the least of a number of bad options”

However, she wouldn’t go so far as to use scary words like “bankruptcy” “insolvency” or “default,” even though they perfectly describe the financial mess that her state is in. She told the reporters that “for all intents and purposes, we are out of money now.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wal-Mart’s Worst Stock Crash in 27 Years is Another Sign That the Economy is Rapidly Falling Apart

Now that a major global recession has begun, you would expect major retailers like Wal-Mart to run into trouble as consumer spending dries up, and that is precisely what is happening.

On Wednesday, shares of Wal-Mart experienced their largest single day decline in 27 years after an extremely disappointing earnings projection was released. The stock was down about 10 percent, which represented the biggest plunge since January 1988. Over 21 billion dollars in shareholder wealth was wiped out on Wednesday, and this was just the continuation of a very bad year for Wal-Mart stockholders. Overall, shares had already declined by 22 percent so far in 2015 before we even got to Wednesday. Here is more on this stunning turn of events from Bloomberg…

[Comment: This is bad. When consumers are even restricted their purchases at Walmart you know the economy is in bad shape. It’s no accident…this is the bankster economic takedown of the Western order to rebuild their NWO Communist utopia.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

3 California Cities Blocking Parking Ticket App for Being Too Useful

App allows you to automate the process of paying the ticket or disputing it.

Of course, the cities haven’t been welcoming to an app that was aimed at helping locals not pay their tickets by automating the process of jumping through legal loopholes. When Fixed began faxing its submissions to SFMTA last year, the agency emailed the startup to stop using their fax machine. When Fixed pointed out that it was legal to do so, the agency simply shut off their fax.

Keep it classy, San Francisco. It turns out that Los Angeles and Oakland all behaved similarly with respect to Fixed, harrassing and blocking the app and the people using it to the point where the makers of the app simply shut down the parking ticket part of the software in those three cities. This despite the app successfully contesting something like a third of the tickets that users had chosen to dispute using it. Drink that in for a moment. A sizeable percentage of parking tickets were found to have errors on them using this app and, rather than address this by having tickets be properly filled out, the cities in question decided instead to keep people from using the app to contest these error-ridden tickets. It’s hard to imagine how a city might be able to display more contempt for its own citizens than this.

And what’s really crazy about this? The app had as much to do with getting people to pay their valid tickets on time as it did contesting the incorrectly filled out tickets.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Carefully-Designed Script: Gun Violence and Obama to the Rescue!

In Montana, the local newspaper is little more than a collection of local colloquialisms surrounded by canned, nonsensical AP (that’s Associated Press) drivel that is labeled as news, but better described as propaganda, plain and simple. There is a script here, and this is the way it has been running.

1. Shootings! For whatever reasons, the shooters have been striking the defenseless public, all of a sudden, and in areas spread out all over the country? No. In a country of 312 million, there are always shootings going on; nevertheless, now the shootings are being reported.

2. The defenseless: the panic-stricken public (with less testosterone in the men than in the women) practically falls all over itself, crying and yelling to be saved by the government.

3. Chaos: Nobody knows what to do when The Evil Gun has struck!

4. The reporters are on the story 24/7, with every little detail imaginable, and all fingers pointing back to The Evil Gun.

5. The Public/Proletariat: Law enforcement officials, concerned parents (especially women), scared students and business leaders….everybody is scared and calling for action to stand up to The Evil Gun.

6. Politicians are tense: What can we do? What law can we craft to save the peasants and villagers who must dwell far below Olympus/Aesgard? We need bipartisan efforts, now! We’ll do it! Save the proletariat from The Evil Gun! Help! Who is our Savior? [Then, all heads turn…upward….and the clouds turn golden and part, to reveal….]

7. The Hero: the leader, the savior, the protector…enter Obama. Emotions: sadness, yet sternness, with clenched jaw and narrowed gaze, for the Fallen…steely-eyed…he will…he must…take Executive “Action” [technically, write an Executive Order] to lead his court, his “Camelot” of Congress, and all as the Champion of the People, the Protector of the Proletariat…He gazes into the mirror, and the words of Mariah Carey enter into his mind: “And a hero lies in you.”

The headlines are so carefully crafted, and they are brilliantly contrived to play upon the feelings and to speak for those with the attention spans of gnats and the minds of 12 year-old children. These are the headlines out of the local paper (The Daily Inter Lake), of October 10, 2015 that “do a roundup” on all of the gun tragedy:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Artists Sneak ‘Homeland is Racist’ Graffiti Onto Set of Hit TV Show

A trio of artists hired to spray graffiti in Arabic to lend an air of authenticity to the set of the hit US television show Homeland sneaked in subversive messages denouncing the series.

In the second episode of the fifth and latest season of Homeland, the protagonist, former CIA agent Carrie Mathison, walks through a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon, the walls of which are daubed in Arabic graffiti.

Unfortunately for the show’s producers, the writing on the wall reads “Homeland is racist”, a detail missed by the wildly successful Showtime series…

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

Chemical Lab Designed by Thomas Jefferson Discovered in University of Virginia Rotunda

An ongoing two-year renovation of the University of Virginia’s Rotunda has revealed a chemical lab designed by Thomas Jefferson that dates from the 19th century.

Workers uncovered the early science classroom behind a wall on Monday, according to the university.

The room was sealed in one of the lower-floor walls of the iconic Rotunda in the mid-1840s and protected from a fire in 1895 that destroyed much of the building’s interior.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

CNN Caught Using Crisis Actor Operative to Attack Donald Trump

(NaturalNews) CNN has just been caught red-handed playing up a staged “crisis actor” attack on Donald Trump. The crisis actor, a woman named Lauren Batchelder, was an audience plant working for Jeb Bush, the Republican establishment candidate for President. At a Jon Huntsman “No Labels” event, Batchelder posed as a regular audience member, then unleashed a vicious attack against Trump with a contrived, pre-planned verbal script that tried to smear his reputation with women.

The entire thing, however, was completely scripted from the start. “Within minutes of her scripted performance at the event, the producers of CNN were quickly editing soundbites and framing a narrative. That story was pushed into the media stream within hours,” reports

Follow real-time breaking news on Donald Trump at, part of the FETCH news network. To see real-time breaking news headlines from across the independent media for all the top candidates, monitor

It’s not yet clear whether CNN had a role in planting the operative, but it’s notable that CNN always seems to be interviewing “crisis actors” following every major crisis event in America, from 9/11 to Sandy Hook to the recent campus shooting in Oregon. Again and again, CNN finds itself engaged in scripted theater, not objective journalism, all while using rehearsed actors to achieve the message it wants to broadcast.

All the informed people in the world have already come to realize that CNN is news theater. The real news comes from alternative news websites.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Concealed Carrier Stops Kidnapping Attempt

A Pennsylvania man used his concealed firearm to stop an attempted kidnapping near the northeastern town of Plymouth last monday.

An unidentified man who is now in police custody assaulted a local woman Katherine DeLuca outside a Quick & EZ Stop in Plymouth, Pennsylvania and tried to steal her car. However, when she refused to give up her car the man then ran into the road and tried to steal another woman’s car. That car had two children in the back seat and the woman driving immediately began yelling for help as she was thrown to the ground.

“She was yelling, ‘My kids are in the car, my kids are in the car,’“ DeLuca told the Times Leader.

It was at that point a local man named Rob Ragukus drew his concealed handgun and interviened. “I have a license to carry this gun, don’t move,” he reportedly said. Ragukus was able to hold the man at gun point until police arrived. No gunshots or serious injuries were reported from the incident.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Court Tells State Psychology Board it Can’t Use Its Powers to Regulate Protected Speech

A Kentucky psychiatry board cannot censor the nation’s longest-running newspaper columnist for providing advice as a “family psychologist,” a federal judge ruled.

John Rosemond, whose Dear Abby-style parenting column is syndicated in more than 200 newspapers, claims he received a threatening cease-and-desist letter from the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology on May 7, 2013.

Rosemond, dubbed a family psychologist in his byline, holds a master’s degree in psychology and is licensed to practice North Carolina, but is not qualified to provide psychological services to Kentucky residents, according to the board.

The letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Brian Judy, further alleged Rosemond’s advice that parents of a deadbeat teen confiscate their son’s cell phone as a “wake-up call,” amounted to professional services rendered.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Democratic Debate: How Do Denmark and the US Differ?

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said we “should look to countries like Denmark… and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people”. So how different are the US and Denmark?

This isn’t the first time Mr Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist, has expressed admiration for Denmark’s social model — he has previously said it “provides extraordinary security and opportunity”.

His rival in the race for the White House, Hillary Clinton, responded by saying she loved Denmark but “we are the United States”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Democrat Calls Out Politicians With Armed Guards, Defends Second Amendment at Debate

In his closing comments on the topic, Webb stunned his fellow candidates by alluding to the hypocrisy of government officials who demand strict gun control while being defended by armed body guards.

“There are people at high levels in this government who have body guards 24 hour a day, 7 days a week,” Webb added. “The average American does not have that and deserves the right to be able to protect their family.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Godfather’ Star, 80 Other Actors Join Bloomberg Gun Control Campaign

Sofia Coppola, who starred in third “Godfather,” Hollywood’s most violent movie series ever and directed by her father, has joined 80 other actors to fight gun violence for the Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety.

The New York-based group announced Tuesday that Coppola, who played Mary Corleone in Godfather III, and the others will be part of the Everytown Creative Council, a collection of stars representing an entertainment industry that has made billions of dollars off violent shoot-em-ups.

It is sure to give the Everytown movement a huge promotional pow as the actors fan out around the country to promote gun control. Others include Alec Baldwin, Spike Lee, Kevin Bacon, Ellen DeGeneres and Kim Kardashian.

[Comment: Next phase of propaganda…use Hollywood useful idiots to convince citizens to relinquish the 2nd amendment.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Good Guys Packing Send Bad Guys Packing

What only the most radical anti-Second Amendment zealots fail to understand is guns in the hands of good guys is hands down the biggest deterrent to crime that there is. Gun-free zones are nothing more than open invitations to would-be killers to target those institutions or places of business.

As professor John Lott notes, “Since at least 1950, all but two public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, there have been no exceptions. Every mass public shooting has occurred in a gun-free zone. And Europe is no stranger to mass shootings. It has been host to three of the six worst K-12 school shootings and by far the worst mass public shooting perpetrated by a single individual.”

Professor Lott goes on to say, “The diary of the Batman movie theater killer, James Holmes, was finally released just a few months ago. He decided against attacking an airport because of the ‘substantial security.’ Out of seven theaters showing the Batman movie premiere within 20 minutes of the suspect’s apartment in 2012, only one banned permitted concealed handguns. That’s the one he attacked.

“Or take a couple of cases from last year. Elliot Rodger, who fatally shot three people in Santa Barbara, Calif., explained his reasoning in his 141-page ‘manifesto.’ He ruled out various targets because he worried that someone with a gun would cut short his killing spree. Justin Bourque shot to death three people in Canada. His Facebook page made fun of gun bans, with pictures of defenseless victims explaining to killers that guns are prohibited.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Has the Kepler Space Telescope Discovered an Alien Megastructure?

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope is tasked with finding small, rocky worlds orbiting distant stars. However, exoplanets aren’t the only thing Kepler can detect — stellar flares, star spots and dusty planetary rings can also pop up in the mission’s observations.

A star, named KIC 8462852, has been found with a highly curious transit signal. In a paper submitted to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers, including citizen scientists from the Planet Hunters crowdsourcing program, report: “Over the duration of the Kepler mission, KIC 8462852 was observed to undergo irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20 percent level.”

The research paper is thorough, describing the phenomenon, pointing out that this star is unique — we’ve seen nothing like it. Kepler has collected data on this star steadily for four years. It’s not instrumental error. Kepler isn’t seeing things; the signal is real.

“We’d never seen anything like this star,” Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoctorate researcher at Yale University and lead author, told The Atlantic. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hillary Takes Millions in Campaign Cash From ‘Enemies’

(U.S. News & World Report) When asked during the Democratic presidential debate what enemies she was most proud to have made, Hillary Clinton named pharmaceutical and health insurance companies at the top of her list. But that hasn’ t stopped the Democratic front-runner from accepting millions of dollars in campaign cash from both industries in the course of her political career, financial disclosure records show.

Since her first bid for Senate in 2000, Clinton has accepted nearly $1 million from drug and health companies and more than $2.7 million from the insurance field and its related sectors, according to an analysis of public records from the Center for Responsive Politics. While the analysis did not include campaign finance figures for the 2016 cycle, some of the same donors and patterns can be seen in Clinton’ s lone financial disclosure filed in July.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hispanics Wouldn’t Vote GOP if You Held a Gun to Their Heads

At the Democratic debate on Tuesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders bragged about getting a “D-minus” from the National Rifle Association (which was also Lincoln Chafee’s GPA in high school).

Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton attacked Sanders for having voted against an insane bill that would have held gun manufacturers and sellers legally liable for the behavior of anyone who uses one of their guns in a crime.

I would be open to such a law — but only after we pass a law holding psychiatrists liable for crimes committed by their patients; lawyers for crimes committed by their clients; and sanctuary cities for crimes committed by the illegal immigrants they released in violation of federal law.

Gun dealers are a lot more careful about whom they sell guns to than psychiatrists, lawyers and sanctuary cities are about the criminals they loose on the public.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mass Panic at Texas School After Student Says “Gum”

A school in Hays County, Texas was sent into a state of panic Wednesday when a student asked for some gum. Because the word “gum” sounds like the word “gun”, well… PANIC.

KCEN News reports that the student at Lehman High School asked a classmate for some gum, but a student who overheard thought he was asking for a gun.

Cue frothing insanity, as a search for a weapon ensued. Of course, no gun was found.

Hays County school district spokesman Tim Savoy has insisted that school did not go into “lock down,” but did admit that administrators held students in their extended class periods “to investigate the concern with little to no disruption to their schedule.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Money Men: Carson, Bush, Cruz Lead Latest Round in GOP Cash Race

Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz appear to be leading the money race in the Republican presidential primary, according to third-quarter numbers released by the campaigns ahead of Thursday’s filing deadline.

Carson far out-raised his GOP rivals in the last quarter, bringing in more than $20 million, thanks to a surge of support in the polls and accompanying rush of small-dollar donations.

Billionaire Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, has not yet released his campaign finance numbers, but is not actively fundraising and is instead spending his own cash on the campaign trail.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Oath Keepers’ To Form College Chapters to Stop Students From ‘Cooperating in Their Own Murders’

In the wake of the deadly massacre at an Oregon community college, the controversial Oath Keepers militia group revealed a new plan last week to prevent school shootings, announcing its intention to form college and high school chapters to train students to “fight back.”

In an Oct. 9 statement posted on the group’s website, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and media director Jason Van Tatenhove wrote that the “obvious answer to school shootings on college and high school campuses is that the students must stop submitting and cooperating in their own murders. They must fight back, and we will show them how.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pluto Among the ‘Most Diverse Worlds’ In Our Solar System

The latest pictures of Pluto show it to have a beautiful blue-tinged atmosphere. And analysis of the scientific data sent back by the New Horizons spacecraft so far indicates that it has one of the most diverse landscapes in the Solar System.

The information reveals a surprisingly varied terrain: mountains, dunes, cratered areas and ones that are smooth. The head of the mission, Prof Alan Stern, told BBC News that what he has seen so far is “amazing” and has already transformed our notions of the far-flung world:

“The Pluto system is much more complex than I had expected. Pluto itself displays (such a diverse) range of geological landforms that it is unprecedented in the Solar System,” he explained.

“It certainly rivals the Earth and Mars, perhaps even occupies the number one spot for complexity of all the planets in the Solar System.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Most Violent Religion on Earth: Islam’s Honor Killings Growing in USA

Importing 200,000 Muslim Syrian refugees into our country guarantees America’s rising “honor killings” rates as more and more Muslims enter the United States and practice this 6th century religious ritual that keeps their women in constant terror for their lives.

Each year, according to the United Nations’ report on “honor killings”, Islamic Middle Eastern and African countries where Islam dominates—”honor kill” 10,000 of their women for trivial infractions such as wearing jeans, speaking up to a man, refusing an arranged marriage or not wearing their burka.

Muslim men stone their wives or daughters to death, behead them, bury them alive, strangle them, and/or shoot them at the rate of 10,000 annually. All of it legal according to the Koran!

This video will sober if not sicken you:

Ironically, as Muslims move into the United States, a recent CNN poll showed that 51 percent of American-Muslims want Sharia Law enacted into America.

Sharia Law dictates a loss of women’s rights, women’s voice, women’s choice of a marriage mate, women’s rights to wear what they want, walk alone in public, take a job they choose and total loss of women’s right to choose any religious path…

Forced marriage in British Muslim communities rages out of control with 8,000 underage girls being married off to men as old as 60. Refusal to marry them results in “honor killings.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Video: Trump Calls Sanders a “Maniac Communist”

During a campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia Wednesday night, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump slammed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, calling him a “maniac” and a “Communist”.

“I watched Hillary last night with, ‘We’re gonna give this. We’re gonna give this.’ The poor woman she’s got to give everything away because this maniac that was standing on her right is giving everything away so she’s following.” Trump stated, referring to Sanders and his policies on healthcare, education and benefits for immigrants.

“That’s what’s happening.” Trump added to rapturous applause, “This Socialist slash Communist. OK. Nobody wants to say it.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Why Hasn’t the US Eradicated the Plague?

It’s nearly 50 years since the US landed men on the moon, but Americans are still dying from a disease that ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages. The Black Death caused about 50 million deaths across Africa, Asia and Europe in the 14th Century. It wiped out up to half of Europe’s population.

Its last terrifying outbreak in London was the Great Plague of 1665, which killed about a fifth of the city’s inhabitants. Then there was a 19th Century pandemic in China and India, which killed more than 12 million.

But the disease has not been consigned to the dustbin of history. It is endemic in Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru. What’s perhaps more surprising is that it is still killing people in the US.

There have been 15 cases in the US so far this year — compared to an average of seven, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — and the figure of four deaths is higher than in any year this century.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

British Court Rules UK Politicians Are Fair Game for GCHQ Spies

The UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled on Wednesday that the long-standing Wilson Doctrine, thought to protect British lawmakers from intelligence interception, had no legal force.

In somewhat of a surprise decision, the IPT ruled that it was “satisfied that the Wilson doctrine is not enforceable in English law,” labeling it as merely “a political statement in a political context.”

In 1966, then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson established the doctrine restricting intelligence agencies and police from wiretapping the phones of elected members of parliament.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair then addressed the issue while in office in 1997, claiming that the doctrine had been expanded to encompass all means of electronic communication.

However, the IPT ruled against the long-held assumption that parliamentarians held special privileges when it came to data monitoring.

“The Tribunal made declarations that the Wilson Doctrine applies only to targeted, and not incidental, interception of Parliamentary communications, but that it has no legal effect, save that in practice the Security and Intelligence Agencies must comply with their own Guidance, which has now been disclosed in the Judgment,” the summary of the hearing reads.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EU Will ‘Discuss’ IMU Cut — Dombrovksis

EC normally recommends different direction

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 15 — European Commissioner for the EU Valdis Dombrovskis said Thursday the EC will have to “discuss” the Italian government’s plan to cut property taxes IMU and TASI as part of the 2016 budget because it does not go in the usually recommended direction.

“Normally the Commission advises States to shift the weight of taxation from labour to consumption, property and capital,” he said. “The action undertaken by the Italian government does not go in this direction, and so we will have to discuss with them the reasons and the potential implications,” said Dombrovksis, who is also an EC vice president.

The 2016 budget, to be launched by cabinet Thursday, must be put to the EC before it is approved by the Italian parliament by year’s end.

Premier Matteo Renzi has repeatedly said Italian fiscal policy is set in Rome and not Brussels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Europe Afraid TTIP Deal to Result in US-Style Capitalism

European leaders have an irrational fear that the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement will force Europe to adopt a US-style capitalistic model that favors the elite, former US Treasury official Gary Hufbauer told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The TTIP agreement seeks to liberalize trade between the United States and Europe and create the world’s largest trade zone, encompassing more than 60 percent of global production.

“Many Europeans dislike the US brand of capitalism, especially the ‘winner-take-all’ flavor for those at the top and the ‘help yourself’ recommendation for those at the bottom,” Hufbauer said on Wednesday. “They fear, wrongly, that TTIP will lead Europe to adopt the US economic model.”

The eleventh round of TTIP talks is set to take place from October 19 to 23 in Miami, Florida, during which negotiators are expected to largely focus on peak tariffs related to garments, specialty chemicals and agricultural products, Hufbauer explained.

The agenda for the February 2016 session, he noted, will center on negotiating federal and sub-federal government procurement provisions.

TTIP has stirred controversy around the world, with opponents saying it has been negotiated in secret and undermines environmental, health, safety and labor standards, while proponents argue it will spur economic growth.

On Saturday, about 100,000 people rallied in Berlin, Germany to protest the TTIP free trade pact.

Gary Hufbauer is a Senior Fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Previously, he served as US Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Trade and Investment Policy.

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

France: Police Stage Rare Protest in Paris Against ‘Lax’ Judiciary

At least 7,500 police officers demonstrated outside France’s justice ministry Wednesday protesting a lack of resources and what they say is insufficient support from the judiciary in their daily law enforcement work.

The protest was billed as the broadest showing of discontent within the police since 1983, when then Justice Minister Robert Badinter faced similar protests and accusations of laxity after gangsters killed two policemen.

This time, too, the discontent came to a head a week after a prisoner who was granted a brief out-of-jail permit seriously wounded a policeman in a shootout in Seine-Saint-Denis on the northern edge of Paris…

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

French Climate Change Sceptic Weatherman Taken Off Air

A high-profile French TV weatherman has been taken off air after writing a book in which he questions climate change.

Philippe Verdier, a familiar face on the state-run France 2 channel, said he had been told not to return to work for the foreseeable future.

“I received a letter asking me not to come,” Verdier told RTL radio on Wednesday.

“I don’t know any more than that, I don’t know how long it will last. It’s all to do with my book.”…

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

Italy: Armenian Ambassador: With Jews to Fight Indifference

Ghazaryan and Gattegna present book on 20th century genocides

(ANSA) — ROME, OCTOBER 15 — “Our responsibility as Armenians and Jews who survived genocides is to fill the void left by indifference” said Sargis Ghazaryan, Armenian Ambassador to Italy together with Renzo Gattegna, President of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy (UCEI) at the presentation of Gabriele Nissim ‘s book “Letter to Hitler”.

The book, published by Mondadori, is dedicated to the German writer and dissident Armin Wegner, who was among the first to denounce the Armenian genocide and foresee the imminent tragedy of Nazism and the Shoah. “Unfortunately — stressed the diplomat — crimes against humanity are not relegated to history books but are still very much part of current events”.

Ghazaryan denounced historical revisionism and in particular, in the Armenian case, revisionism by the State, the refusal by successive Turkish governments, even in modern times, “to come to terms with their history” despite requests by part of Turkish society itself.

This year, the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide was celebrated with Jews: “a very important fact” remarked the ambassador. It is no accident, he recalled that in August 1939, while embarking on the invasion of Poland, Hitler called on his generals to be cruel and ferocious against Jews and at one point exclaimed: “who after all rembers the annihilation of Armenians?”.

The president of UCEI Gattegna described Wegner as a German intellectual who tried to save his country’s honour and spare it from an “abyss of barbarism”. Wegner even wrote two letters, one to Hitler in 1933, and one to Mussolini, in 1936, to stop their tragic drift. It was useless and he was himself deported to a Nazi concentration camp to which he miraculously managed to survive.

He did not halt the Shoah which holds — said Gattegna — “the sad record” among all perpetrated genocides “for its dimensions, duration, and scientific organisation” but there is a story to be learnt from Wegner’s personality and trajectory, from his lonely stand against the genocides of the twentieh century: “never again against anyone” said Gattegna.

Wegner was proclaimed a Righteous among Nations both by Israel in 1967 and by Armenia in 1996.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Carmelite Vicar-General Agrees Need to Apologise for Scandal

Agusti Borrell says also important to focus on truth

(ANSA) — Rome, October 15 — The Vicar-General of the Carmelite Order in Rome, which is embroiled in a gay prostitution scandal, on Thursday said he agreed with Pope Francis for the need to apologise for scandals in the church.

“We are always in tune with the pope,” Vicar General Agusti Borrell told TV2000.

“Yesterday he made an appeal in which he asked for forgiveness in the name of everyone. He didn’t speak of concrete cases, we don’t know exactly who he was referring to, but certainly from our side we are always ready, as Christians, to ask for forgiveness for our mistakes, our weaknesses, the sins in our life that occur in everyone’s lives,” Borrell said.

He added that his order would continue to search for the truth amid recent suspicions and public accusations. In recent days, Italian media reported that at least one senior Carmelite was being investigated for links to gay prostitution in Rome’s Villa Borghese park.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Southern Campania Region Bears Brunt of Extreme Weather

Damage also registered in southern Lazio, two hurt in Sicily

(see related) (ANSA) — Rome, October 15 — Storms and heavy rainfall continued to batter parts of Italy on Thursday as the authorities counted the human and material cost of Wednesday’s exceptionally bad weather.

The civil protection department in southern Campania, where two of the five victims died, extended its severe weather warning across the region until Friday afternoon. The province of Benevento has been particularly badly affected by the extreme weather spell, with schools in the privincial capital closed through Saturday and ongoing disruptions to rail services along the Foggia-Caserta line after the Calore river burst its banks. Telecommunications services in the area have also been affected after two fibre-optic cables were damaged in a landslide and blackouts have been reported due to water damage. Rubbish collection services have also been suspended in the provincial capital as a result of flooding and 35 families have found temporary shelter with the local Caritas. Nunzia De Girolamo of the opposition party Forza Italia, herself from Benevento, called on the government to declare a state of emergency in Campania and other southern regions hit by the bad weather. Elsewhere, in the southern island region of Sicily two people were slightly injured when a train derailed near Caltanissetta. Further north in the southern Lazio province of Frosinone authorities were working round the clock to clear damage caused by flooding and landslides. Also on Thursday a Ryanair flight from Bergamo to Cagliari returned to the northern city shortly after takeoff at 8.30 local time after being struck by lightning. No-one was hurt in the incident and the plane re-departed for its Sardinia destination three hours later.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Over 100 Detained in Brussels at Anti-TTIP Protest Ahead of EU Summit

Belgian police arrested some 104 participants of a demonstration staged in a protest over the signing of the US-EU free trade deal ahead of the EU summit, local media reported Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) seeks to liberalize trade between the United States and the European Union, among other parties.

About 600 activists gathered in central Brussels near the EU headquarters, trying to block the venue of the summit, RTL Info news broadcaster said.

Local law enforcement agency was forced to make the administrative arrests to stop the most active protesters from penetrating the security perimeter, the broadcaster stated.

“The aim was to prevent the blocking of the entry of European leaders at the summit,” Brussels police spokesman Christian De Coninck was quoted by the news outlet as saying.

There were about 30 Spaniards, including four parliamentarians and a minor among the detainees.

The TTIP, negotiated in an unusual secrecy, is considered controversial by its opponents, claiming that the pact would undermine standards and regulations on environmental protection, health and safety, as well as workers’ rights, among other points.

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

Polish Author Gets Death Threats for Questioning Polish Tolerance

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk received an avalanche of hate mail after saying in a TV interview that Poland must confront parts of its history, declaring that contrary to Poles’ popular conception, their national history is not that of a haven of tolerance.

“We have dreamt up our own history. We have thought up a history of Poland as a land of exceptional tolerance, and openness, a land that did not do anything bad in relation to its minorities,” said Tokarczuk in the interview with Poland’s TVP.Info on October 7.

“I think it is necessary to confront your history face to face and try to describe it over again, without covering up all the terrible things we did as colonizers, the biggest national group suppressing the minority, as slaveholders, murderers of Jews,” she continued.

Tokarczuk gave the interview after winning Poland’s prestigious Nike Literary Award last week for her novel ‘Book of Jacob.’ However, her joy at receiving the prize was tempered by receiving more than 1,000 hate messages, including threats of violence, after the interview.

“I request that you apologize to Poles,” one blogger began an open letter posted on the internet, calling the writer a “traitor” and offering 1000 zlotys [$270] to someone willing to “spit in the face of the hypocrite.”

“Maybe someone should give her a visit,” wrote one contributor to an internet forum, while others called her a “Jewish rag,” and a Ukrainian whore.”

On Saturday Tokarczuk, who is considering taking legal action over the threats, responded to the furore with a post on her Facebook page.

“In connection with the great amount of hate that has been aimed at me in the last few days, including death threats, and in connection with the primitive and malicious interpretation of what I said to TVP.Info, I would like to calmly explain that I didn’t say anything that is unknown to historians and anyone with a basic knowledge about the history of Poland.”

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

UK: ‘Witchcraft’ Abuse Cases on the Rise

Child abuse linked to exorcism and witchcraft accusations is on the rise, figures obtained by the BBC suggest. The Metropolitan Police said there had been 60 crimes linked to faith in London so far this year. It saw reports double from 23 in 2013 to 46 in 2014.

Ibidapo was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria in 2007, to work as a servant for relatives in the North of England. They accused her of being a witch, stopped her going to school and physically assaulted her. She escaped with the help of a Nigerian woman living nearby.

Debbie Ariyo, founder of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, said accusations were often made when families experienced problems: “Children are blamed — especially stepchildren.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK: CofE Churches May Soon Only Open at Easter and Christmas Due Low Worshippers

Centuries-old churches across the country may shut their doors for most of the year while others may only open for major religious holidays, according to a report on 16,000 Anglican churches.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Macedonia: 7 Arrested for Supporting Terrorists in Kumanovo

18 people had been killed in armed clashes in May

(ANSA) — SKOPJE — The Macedonian police have arrested in Kumanovo (north) 7 people accused of having supported the action of the terrorist group which had clashed for several hours with security forces in a city neighbourhood last May. According to local media, the arrests took place as part of a major police operation conducted with helicopter support. In the clashes which occurred in May, mainly in the Divo area, on the outskirts of Kumanovo, 8 police officers and 10 armed men were killed — all of them radical Albanian separatists, many of them coming from neighbouring Kosovo. Another 30 terrorists surrendered to local security forces.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Two New Lockerbie Suspects Identified

‘Involved along with al-Megrahi’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 15 — Scottish prosecutors said Thursday they want to interview two Libyans they have identified as new suspects over the Lockerbie bombing.

They believe the two suspects were involved, along with the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person to have been convicted of the 1988 atrocity.

A total of 270 people died in the bombing.

Megrahi was released in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in 2012, protesting his innocence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hamas Calls for “Day of Rage” Tomorrow

‘Need to punish Israeli army for its crimes’

(ANSAmed) — GAZA, OCTOBER 15 — Hamas invoked a ‘Day of rage’ in the West Bank and East Jerusalem at the end of Friday prayer, Hamas media in Gaza reported.

In particular, Hamas called on the masses to confront the Israeli army “to punish it for its crimes”.

Hamas also turned to other Palestinian forces to join in the fight.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

What is Behind the Days of Rage by Arabs in Israel?

The reality is that PA President Abbas, other members of the PA government and the Israeli Arab radical Islamist leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement ,Sheik Saed Salah, have incited and recruited Arabs . They have fomented what Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, has called the Jerusalem or al Quds, Intifada, a reference to the 100 year old blood libel that “the Al Aksa Mosque is in danger” from Jews. Add to that the evident disloyalty of Arab Joint list Knesset Members who held massive rallies of Israeli Arab Muslims urging them to rise up along with their Palestinian brothers. Note this Jerusalem Post report on the disruption of an Israeli Channel 2 interview by Arab Joint List leader Ayman Odeh by Nazareth Mayor, Ali Salam:

Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam shouted at Joint List head Ayman Odeh [ of Hadash] to leave his city as the MK was about to be interviewed live on Channel 2 there on October 11th.

“Ayman, you need to go elsewhere, you’ve destroyed our city!” yelled Salam at Odeh from his car, which pulled up next to [ to him while he was} standing on the sidewalk in front of the television camera.

“Get out of here. Enough with the interviews!” shouted Salam. “You all have destroyed everything! Go back to Haifa!…What are you being interviewed about? What are you doing to us? You are doing nothing!” shouted Salam.

Odeh, for his part, remained quiet, but appeared to be greatly irritated.

The sharp confrontation followed accusations by Salam earlier in the day in an interview on Army Radio in which he said Joint List MKs were “ruining coexistence.”

Joint List MKs have been organizing and leading protests riling up the Arab public to violence, which Salam said has led to a sharp drop in Jewish customers and complaints from local business owners…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Ankara Concerned Over Possible Cooperation With Kurds in Fight Against ISIL

Turkish Ambassador to Russia said that Ankara is concerned over some countries’ possible cooperation with Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State and will take measures against such cooperation.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ankara is concerned over some countries’ possible cooperation with Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State and will take measures against such cooperation, Turkish Ambassador to Russia Umit Yardim said Thursday.

“We are concerned over this and this will remain a subject of our concern. We are discussing this issue not only with Russia, but with other countries friendly to us,” Yardim said.

He said that Ankara has “made it perfectly clear” that if support is given to the Kurds by other countries, including by the United States, then Turkey “would react immediately.”

The Islamic State extremist group has captured large areas in Syria and Iraq. Its advance is being countered by the airstrikes of a US-led coalition, as well as a Russian air campaign. Kurdish forces, as well as Syrian and Iraqi troops, are fighting IS on the ground.

On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Ankara had warned Moscow and Washington of the inadmissibility of providing military aid to Syrian Kurds. According to Davutoglu, there is no guarantee that weapons supplied to the Syrian Kurds would not end up in the hands of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson told RIA Novsoti earlier that the US and Russian ambassadors were summoned to the ministry on the issue.

Later Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was providing military and technical assistance to Iraqi Kurds with the consent of Baghdad and exclusively through the Iraqi government.

Tensions in Turkey escalated in mid-summer when the country launched a military campaign against PKK in northern Iraq, after the militant group claimed responsibility for the murders of two Turkish police officers who they claim had aligned themselves with Islamic State.

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

Iran Reveals Deep Underground Tunnel Packed With Missiles

(ABC News Australia) Iranian state television has broadcast unprecedented footage of a deep underground tunnel packed with missiles and launcher units, which officials said could be used if “ enemies make a mistake”.

The pictures were released just three days after Iran tested a new long-range missile that the United States said may have breached a UN Security Council resolution.

The tunnel, hundreds of metres long and about 10 metres high, was filled with missiles and hardware.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamic Halal Economy Set to Grow

Products without pork or alcohol; tourism and financial services according to Sharia grow by 2% per year. The volume amounts to 2300 billion US dollars. No one remembers that the foods of the “people of the Scripture” (Christians and Jews) are also considered pure.

Dubai (AsiaNews) — The economy of halal products (“pure” for Islam) is set to grow, given that the Muslim population is increasing worldwide, and with it greater demand for products that have been anointed by the orthodox ritual.

“Halal” products range from foods that do not contain pork or alcohol, tourism or financial services that comply with Islamic rules, etc .. Increasingly products are being certified as sharia-compliant, passed by Imams or other experts Koran.

According to industry experts, the “Halal” economy is growing by 2 to 2.3% per year.

According to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation the entire global “halal” industry is worth about 2.3 trillion US dollars. Obviously, “Halal” products will primarily target the Muslim population.

It is thought that by 2030 there will be around 2.2 billion Muslims in the world, thus constituting a giant “catchment area” for these products.

It must be said that in the Koran Christians foods are called “halal” (v.: “ This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them”, Koran, al-Ma’da [The Table] 5, 5). But this has never been specified on the labels of “Christian-Western” nor on Islamic products. For some experts, the emphasis on “Halal” products is likely to be a kind of trade protectionism.

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

Italy: Saudi Women Get Free Rides for Breast Cancer Screening

Easy Taxi app to take them to the polls in November, too

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 15 — Since women are prohibited from driving in Saudi Arabia, the company that created the Easy Taxi smartphone application and the Zahra Breast Cancer Association have begun offering free rides to enable them to have check-ups to prevent breast cancer, reports the Saudi Gazette. The service is offered in cooperation with some hospitals in Riyadh and Jeddah. The women interested in the service will receive a ticket for a free ride via the email address they use to register on the Easy Taxi app, the company said. Easy Taxi announced in September that they would be offering the same service to female voters in the first time ever they will have the chance to exercise this right, in the municipal elections to be held in four Saudi cities in November. “We hope to be able to contribute to women’s first time at the polls, to eliminate problems and make the procedure as easy as possible,” they said. Women will vote for the first time ever in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Al-Khobar.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Nusra Front Militants Massacre Civilians in Syrian Province of Homs

The Nusra Front massacred civilians in the central square of a village in the Syrian Homs Governorate, according to local media reports.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) terrorist group have committed a mass massacre of civilians in a northern part of the Syrian Homs governorate, local media reported Thursday.

The death toll has not yet been confirmed.

According to the Syrian news portal Champress, the massacre took place near the mosque located in the central square of a local village. The terrorists have accused the Syrian army of destructing mosques and houses.

The Syrian army has repeatedly dismissed claims of attacking civilian settlements.

On Thursday morning, Syrian government troops began a large-scale operation in the north of the Homs Governorate. According to latest reports, two settlements were liberated while some 20 terrorists were killed.

Syria has been engulfed in a civil war since 2011, as Syrian government forces fight opposition factions and extremist groups, including Islamic State and the Nusra Front insurgent groups.

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

Saudi Execution Toll Climbs to 135

Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed one of its citizens convicted of murder, bringing to 135 the number of people put to death this year, according to an AFP tally.

The number is up sharply from the 87 Saudis and foreigners executed during the whole of 2014.

In the latest case, authorities carried out the death sentence against Abdullah al-Ahmari in the southwestern region of Asir, the interior ministry said.

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

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry State: Saudi Arabia Persecutes Non-Sunnis

The Saudi government doesn’t recognize worshipers’ freedom to practice any religion other than Islam publicly and persecutes Shiites, according to the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report prepared by the US State Department.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Saudi Arabia limits the religious freedoms of non-Muslims and continues to persecute members of the Shia religious community, the US State Department stated in its 2014 International Religious Freedom Report on Wednesday.

“The [Saudi] government did not recognize the freedom to practice publicly any non-Muslim religions,” the report explained. “The government continued to target Shia clerics and activists for arrest and prosecution.”

Saudi Arabia, the report noted, sentenced to death at least one prominent Shia cleric and arrested several activists after they publicly criticized discrimination practices.

“The government detained individuals on charges of violating Sharia, committing blasphemy, sowing discord in society and insulting Islam,” the report added.

Saudi Arabia has also restricted non-Muslim religious groups’ activities, both publicly and privately, according to the report.

“The government permitted many foreign residents to privately worship within their homes or in other small gatherings,” the report pointed out.

Other private, non-Muslim religious meetings were raided and participants arrested, detained or deported, it said.

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

Syria’s Olive Warriors Fighting Back Against War to Boost Oil Sales

Despite a four-year long civil war and ongoing conflict erupting around them, it seems Syria’s embattled oil olive producers are showing signs of a fightback, with the country set to become the world’s fourth largest olive oil producer in 2015, according to the International Olive Council (IOC).

The Madrid-based IOC predicted that following the release of crop estimates from Syrian authorities, 215,000 tonnes of olive oil would be produced in the country over the next 12 months.

Due to favorable growing conditions and the devastating impact that war had on the industry last year, the IOC said that Syria’s predicted olive oil production increase “stands out” as it is 105 percent higher than the return in 2014.

Syria’s predicted output of 215,000 tonnes sees it rank fourth in terms of global olive oil production estimates for 2015-2016, behind Spain (1.2 million tones), Italy (350,000) and Greece (320,000), and ahead of other olive oil producing countries such as Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco.

However, despite the positive predictions, authorities noted that Syria’s olive oil producers faced numerous obstacles to turn their harvests into a sellable product.

With fighting still raging between various government forces and rebels groups in Syria, many areas aren’t accessible for olive workers.

To complicate matters further, many olive oil producers in Syria noted that militia groups were known to hijack trucks transporting their products, while drivers were forced to pay bribes when traveling through areas controlled by different groups.

And while weather conditions have allowed for a bumper season of olive growth, there are also concerns that the conflict in Syria will cause significant damage to some of the country’s olive groves, with centuries-old olive trees being cut down and used for firewood.

However, despite the dangers of war continuing in Syria, officials believe there is reason for the country’s ‘olive warriors’ to be optimistic about the future — Syria’s oil is expected to make up seven percent of the world’s total production.

This fight back has been seen as a sign of the resilience of the Syrian people after four long years of bloody war and tragedy.

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

The Su-34 in Syria

The Su-34 fighter-bomber, a substantially modernized version of the Su-27, is a generation 4+ aircraft, designed to destroy ground and naval forces as well as air defence systems. It can perform these tasks in all weather conditions, at any time of day or night. Among the key advantages of the aircraft are the large amount of fuel they can carry, the ability to refuel in the air and the very efficient engines, all of which gives the Su-34 a real combat radius comparable to that of medium-range bombers like the Tu-16 and Tu-22M.

Potential customers

The Su-34 is now available only with the Russian defence services. Russia’s Defence Ministry plans to acquire 124 units of the Su-34 by 2020. Deploying it in Syria and displaying its performance under combat conditions, is likely to attract foreign buyers.

Each aircraft costs between $30 and $50 million, depending on which combat equipment options are selected.

“Among the Middle Eastern countries, likely customers are Iran and Algeria. At the same time, Iran is interested in obtaining a contract to manufacture these aircraft locally. However, creating a technological production chain would take quite a long time. If we talk about Algeria and Latin American countries, then we can consider that these might purchase small batches of these aircraft; up to 10 combat jets. For countries with small air forces, a better fit are the more versatile Su-30 jets. The Su-34 is primarily required by large air forces,” Vladimir Karnozov, an independent aviation analyst said.

Best in price-quality

The Su-34 is the best product amongcombat jets of this class, in price and quality terms, and in terms of its combat potential. The direct competitor of this Russian fighter jet, the American F-15 Eagle, has become obsolete. A Lebanese newspaper Ad-Diyar, reported last week that six Su-34 jets, flying out of the Hamim Base in Syria, in the skies over the Mediterranean came upon four Israeli F-15 fighter jets, observing the delivery of Russian weapons to Latakia. After the Su-34’s locked on to the F-15’s, the Israeli warplanes quickly left the airspace. The Su-34’s on-board radar-based security systems allows it to conduct bombing operations in Syria without threat of being shot down by ground-based air defence weapons.

“For the Su-34, the Syrian campaign primarily provides a testing ground for this new aircraft, operated by the Russian Air Force. It is being tested in real combat conditions, and is not just a demonstration of the aircraft to seek possible buyers,” independent military analyst Oleg Zheltonozhko said. “The export of these jets is unlikely these days, given that the market for such specialized aircraft of this class is much smaller, for example, than for universal fighter jets, while the Russian Air Force has a great need for these Su-34’s, given the size of our country and the growing obsolescence of the Su-24’s,” Zheltonozhko said.

“If, nevertheless, export production does start, then the most likely buyer would be Vietnam, especially in light of that country’s long-standing and good relations with Russia, their experience of operating Sukhoi aircraft, good financial situation, and tensions with neighboring states over disputed islands that are located at a considerable distance from the coast. According to past experience of other combat aircraft purchases, the first batch will most likely consist of 5 to10 jets, with the final number being determined by how much interest will develop in the future,” said Zheltonozhko.

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

Turkish PM’s ‘360 Degree Difference From ISIL’ Blunder Sparks Viral Outcry

In an attempt to explain to a Turkish journalist the difference between the Islam that is being defended by Turkey and the one advocated by the ISIL, Prime Minister Davutoglu proclaimed that “there is not a 180 degree, but a 360 degree difference”; the apparent gaffe instantly sparked mockery online, with many recalling that he is a professor.

During a live TV interview on Wednesday night, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu attempted to explain the difference between the religion advocated by Turkey and the one pursued by the Islamic State.

The attempt backfired hilariously, leading to a furious bout of online mockery which went instantly viral on Turkish social media.

“There is a 360-degree, not 180 degrees, difference between the Islam we defend and what daesh [ISIL’s Arabic acronym] has in its mind,” the prime minister said.

An apparent geometric gaffe has sparked a series of tweets ripping into the PM’s statement, which naturally implied the government and ISIL are on the same page in their interpretation of Islam.

Many users also brought up the fact that the prime minister is, first and foremost, an academic and professor.

“Davutoglu said there is a 360-degree difference between ISIL and them. They would sue others who would say that,” academic Koray Caliskan said.

“Professor Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a closed disc has 360 degrees,” Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Cem Toker tweeted, recalling Davutoglu academic qualifications.

“Mr. Davutoglu, you should not be a pro-parallel to know the difference between 180 degrees and 360 degrees,” a well-known Turkish geometry teacher, known as Ekol Hoca, tweeted with a smiling emoticon.

“Here is an example why math should be a must at primary school,” another user tweeted.

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

Turkish Police Holding Italian Minor in Custody — Sources

Girl held in Adana province, near Turkish-Syrian border

(ANSA) — Istanbul, October 15 — Turkish police have been holding an Italian minor in custody in Adana province for the past two weeks, local sources have reported.

The sources say the girl was not with her parents when she was stopped by police, and her parents were also not in Turkey at the time. The girl has an Italian passport and is resident in France. Adana province is close to the Turkish-Syrian border where several foreigners have been stopped by Turkish authorities, accused of trying to cross the border to join the Islamic State militant group.

Italy’s consulate in Izmir is handling the case. Turkish authorities have not provided an official reason for why the girl is being held.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Watch: John McCain ‘Guaranteed’ Two Years Ago Russia Wouldn’t Act in Syria

Not exactly known for his accurate military predictions, US Senator John McCain was once firmly convinced that Russia would never act in Syria. Oops.

Back in 2013, Russia, China, and Iran all warned the United States of the devastating consequences that would occur if it began airstrikes in Syria. Destabilizing the legitimate government of President Bashar al-Assad would lead to the inevitable rise of terrorist groups like the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

Arizona Senator John McCain, however, could not foresee this. And he was dead wrong about the future in other ways, as well.

“It doesn’t concern me in the slightest,” McCain said in 2013, when asked if he was worried about a Russian and Chinese intervention in Syria. “Because they will not act.”

“The United States is the most powerful nation in the world, and we’re not going to be intimidated by Russia and China,” he added. “We are not, so I guarantee you that they will not act.”

Flash forward two years and the United States is, indeed, being intimidated. Beijing’s construction of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago is forcing Washington to scramble together alliances in the Pacific.

But, more importantly, Russia’s anti-terror campaign in Syria has forced the United States to completely rethink its regional strategy. Airstrikes have devastated IS militants, and since the bombing began on September 30, Russian support is already helping to stabilize a nation thoroughly wrecked by the United States and its allies.

On Thursday, reports surfaced that a Russian airstrike killed Abu Bakr al-Shishani, a prominent leader of the Ahrar ash-Sham terrorist group.

“A group of militants, including the leader of Jaish al-Sham terrorist group, Chechen native Abu Bakr al-Shishani, was eliminated on October 14 as a result of a Russian airstrike in the Homs province,” a Syrian military source told Sputnik.

McCain, at least, is not in denial. Recognizing Russia’s success, the senator wrote an op-ed for CNN on Wednesday.

“Vladimir Putin must be stopped,” he wrote.

At least he didn’t risk his reputation by writing “Putin will be stopped,” because that would be…another false prediction.

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

Moscow: Astana Have Big Plans for Joint Oil Extraction in Caspian Sea

Russia and Kazakhstan have significant plans for joint oil production projects in the Caspian Sea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

ASTANA (Sputnik) — Putin arrived in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Wednesday evening for a two-day visit. He is expected to meet with high-ranking Kazakh officials as well as participating in a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

“We [Russia and Kazakhstan] have big plans on joint oil production in the Caspian Sea,” Putin said.

Putin added that the sides had signed an agreement on the demarcation of the northern part of the Caspian Sea’s, a move that would help oil companies to develop a large-scale oil field there.

Earlier, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said that the document regulated oil production at the Tsentralnaya site.

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

The MH17 Report: Caveat Emptor

by Srdja Trifkovic

Reports by various commissions of inquiry — national as well as international — into politically significant tragic events tend to be distorted by politics. The Dutch-led inquiry report into last year’s downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, released on October 13, is no exception.

The British Lusitania Inquiry, chaired by Lord Mersey one hundred years ago, provides an early example of the problem. It concluded, in July 1915, that the loss of the ship and 1,197 of its passengers two months earlier — including 123 Americans — was “caused by torpedoes fired by a submarine of German nationality whereby the ship sank.” In its opinion this was done not merely with the intention of sinking the ship, but also “with the intention of destroying the lives of the people on board.” In other words premeditated murder most foul. German claims that the Lusitania was a legal and legitimate target because it was carrying ordnance for Britain were dismissed out of hand as “propaganda” on both sides of the Atlantic.

When a survivor of the disaster, Professor Joseph Marichal (a former French army officer), testified at the Inquiry that the ship had sunk in a matter of minutes in all probability because a hidden cargo of munitions had triggered a massive second explosion after the torpedo struck, his testimony was duly dismissed. The British authorities went out of their way to undermine Marichal’s credibility, and especially his insistence that as a military man he knew the difference in sound, speed and magnitude between the main boiler’s bursting pipes (as officially claimed) and the detonation of high-power explosives. Marichal was killed on the Western Front in 1916, but the suspicion of foul play did not die with him.

In the United States a case was filed against Cunard Line by 68 American survivors and heirs of the dead. Judge Julius Mayer decided in 1918 — by which time the United Statees was at war with Germany — that no question could be raised in his court regarding whether Lusitania had been armed or carrying troops or ammunition. He ruled that “the cause of the sinking was the illegal act of the Imperial German Government,” and that any claims for compensation should be therefore addressed to Berlin…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

Ukraine Threatens ‘Legal War’ With Russia Over Debt

Ukraine threatened Thursday to launch a “legal war” with Russia after Moscow held out on a vital debt restructuring agreement to stop the crisis-torn nation from hurtling into default.

The Ukrainian government gave Moscow a strict October 29 deadline to either accept the same terms as its other debt holders or face it in the international courts.

“All of Ukraine’s creditors by their majority — which stands at more than 75 percent of the creditors’ committee votes — agreed to write off Ukraine’s debt,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a televised government meeting.

The Western-backed leader said the deal at talks on Wednesday in London would provide his cash-strapped country with an immediate write-down of $3 billion (2.6 billion euros) and restructure future debt worth $8.5 billion…

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

Afghanistan Unable to Handle Security Situation With ISIL Alone

According to Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO, Afghanistan cannot deal with thousands of Islamic State militants without any outside cooperation.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Afghanistan’s security forces are incapable of handling the situation inside the country without outside help since 4,000 Islamic State (ISIL) militants have entered the country, Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO said Tuesday.

“[The bombing of the hospital in] Kunduz was a cold shower for those here in the NATO headquarters, and they don’t hide this. The city was taken by a small number of forces and national security forces ended up in a difficult situation. It’s obvious they cannot handle the challenges without any outside cooperation,” Alexander Grushko said on his Twitter account.

He said that thousands of Islamic State militants have slipped into Afghanistan.

“We see not only a strengthening in the Taliban movement, but what is particularly alarming is that ISIL is slipping into Afghanistan. According to preliminary figures, approximately 4,000 ISIL militants are already in Afghanistan and their ranks are growing,” Grushko added.

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

Beijing Should Prepare to Counter US ‘Coercion’ In S. China Sea — Report

With Washington expected to send warships near artificial islands Beijing has built in the disputed South China Sea, Chinese media on Thursday criticized the United States for “ceaseless provocations” in the region.

An editorial in Chinese newspaper Global Times, which is closely aligned to the country’s ruling Communist party, condemned US “coercion.”

“China mustn’t tolerate rampant US violations of China’s adjacent waters and the skies over those expanding islands,” it read.

It went on to say that China’s military should “be ready to launch countermeasures according to Washington’s level of provocation.”

Beijing has ignored calls from the United States to cease land reclamation projects in the South China Sea, where China’s claims overlap with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Washington suspects that Beijing plans to militarize the man-made islands, while China insists that they will serve a primarily humanitarian purpose.

Following a meeting of American and Australian officials on Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that Washington will continue to send its military where international law allows, including the South China Sea.

Senior officials in Washington have indicated that the US military could sail by these islands in the coming days or weeks.

The warship or ships would pass within the 12-mile territorial limit China claims around the structures, to demonstrate that US commanders do not recognize it.

Such a move, the Global Times suggested, could be a “breach of China’s bottom line.”

“If the US encroaches on China’s core interests, the Chinese military will stand up and use force to stop it,” the paper warned.

On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “certain countries have been flexing military muscles in the South China Sea over recent period of times.

“That is the biggest cause of ‘militarization’ in the South China Sea.”

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

Dozens Killed as Suicide Bombings Hit NE Nigeria Mosque: Witnesses

Dozens of worshippers were killed Thursday when suicide bombers targeted a mosque in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, witnesses said.

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

Nigeria: Kidnapped ‘Chibok Girl’ Reportedly Flees Boko Haram, Says Others Alive

One of the hundreds of Christian schoolgirls kidnapped 18 months ago by Boko Haram reportedly made it out of the Nigerian terrorist group’s stronghold and told of her fellow captives’ ongoing misery, but a military official disputed the claim.

The April 14, 2014, kidnapping of 276 girls from the northern town of Chibok prompted international headlines and a social media campaign made prominent by First Lady Michelle Obama calling for authorities to “Bring back our girls.” While dozens fled in the initial months following capture, the unidentified girl would be the most recent victim to escape the infamous Islamic terror group’s clutches. According to local reports, she said dozens of girls are still alive, many pregnant from rape and riddled with disease.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US to Send 300 Troops to Aid Fight Against Boko Haram

The United States is sending 300 U.S. troops, along with surveillance drones, to Cameroon to bolster a West African effort to counter the Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

In a notification to Congress, President Barack Obama said an advance force of about 90 military personnel began deploying on Monday to Cameroon, with the consent of the Yaounde government.

The troops will “conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the region,” Obama said. “These forces are equipped with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security, and they will remain in Cameroon until their support is no longer needed.”…

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

Cuban Military Chief Reportedly Visits Syria in Support of Assad Regime

The head of Cuba’s armed forces recently traveled to Syria, according to a Miami-based research group that claims a cadre of defense officials from the communist island have been dispatched to join Russia’s growing military operations in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In a memo circulated to reporters this week, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami said it had received inside information that Havana was sending the defense officials to operate sophisticated Russian tanks that Moscow has been providing to the Syrian military. The visit comes as the Obama administration is pushing forward with a rapprochement after a half-century of hostility between Havana and Washington…

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

Daughter of Peru Ex-President Fujimori Leads in Polls

Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of disgraced ex-president Alberto Fujimori — currently serving a 25-year prison sentence — is far ahead in a poll of Peruvian presidential hopefuls out Tuesday.

With six months to go before the April 2016 election, Keiko Fujimori with the right-wing Fuerza Popular (Strength of the People) has 32.9 percent support, according to a CPI survey.

Fujimori, 40, has twice as much support as her nearest rival, conservative former cabinet minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who has 15.8 percent support…

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

Austria to Spend $740mln on Refugees in 2016 — Finance Minister

Austria expects refugees to cost the country almost 1 billion euro ($740 million) in 2016, with each refugee to cost Austrian taxpayers 10,724 euro per year, Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling said Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The minister presented a 2016 budget plan based on a projection of 85,000 asylum seekers arriving in Austria over the year, the country’s Heute daily reported.

The funds for food, housing and health insurance will cost 420 million euro, 75 million euro will be available for integration of refugees, and another 70 million euro for employment assistance, according to the budget plan.

Europe is currently facing an enormous migration crisis as hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa seek refuge in the bloc.

Last week, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said the country would support Greece’s efforts to upgrade the registration centers for refugees arriving in Europe.

According to the Austrian authorities, migrants that are first registered in such centers should be properly distributed throughout the EU countries, while those who are not eligible to receive asylum should be sent back to their home countries.

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

Commission-Turkey Reach Accord, Needs EU Summit OK

Presented at permanent ambassadors meeting

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, OCTOBER 15 — The European Commission on Thursday reached an agreement with the Turkish government to move forward with an action plan on migrants.

The terms of the agreement were reported in the meeting of Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) prior to the summit, said diplomatic sources.

The EU summit currently underway must authorize it prior to bringing it into effect. The agreement, negotiated by Vice President Frans Timmermans and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn with the Turkish government at their mission in Istanbul and Ankara, foresees — according to the sources — four points: 3 billion euros in financing to Turkey for refugee camp management (part from the EU budget, part from member states funds), an accelerated program for the lifting of visas, the opening of five EU membership chapters and Turkey’s inclusion on the list of ‘safe countries’ (asylum seekers from the country will thus not get the priority treatment ensured to those from places like Syria and Eritrea).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Dream Turns Sour for Ethiopian Migrants Jailed in Malawi

The dream of a new life in South Africa has turned into a nightmare for hundreds of Ethiopian migrants held in overcrowded Malawian jails despite having served their sentences for illegal entry.

“This prison is hell on earth. We are in prison despite paying the fine,” a tearful 15-year-old Eyasu Tadiya told AFP inside Dedza prison, 85 kilometres (50 miles) south of Lilongwe, the administrative capital.

Eyasu, looking weak and thin, said he had been on his way to join his father in South Africa, but had now given up hope of making it to the continent’s most developed economy…

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

EP OKs Over 400mn for Refugee Crisis

Funding to be allocated immediately

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 15 — The European Parliament on Thursday approved the allocation of 401.3 million euros to EU member states and agencies operating on the front lines of the current refugee and migrant crisis The funding was approved with 577 votes in favour, 66 against and 14 abstaining, and can be disbursed immediately.

Of the total, 100 million euros are going to the Asylum, Migration & Integration and Internal Security funds, 1.3 million euros will cover 120 new hires at EU border agency Frontex, and 300 million to the EU regional trust fund set up in December 2014 to help Syrians refugees fleeing an ongoing civil war in their country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

France’s SNCF Wants Migrants Treated ‘Humanely’

Train inspectors ordered to be kind

(ANSAmed) — PARIS — The French railways company SNCF on Wednesday ordered its inspectors to be kind to migrants found without tickets. The circular states that they should ‘print a zero-euro reservation and give them a place to sit’. The photo of it has gone viral on Twitter. The order is a ‘humanitarian’ one, but was issued also for the sake of public order. “These are not free tickets,” SNCF communications chief Christophe Piednoël said after complaints from the Front National party, which accused the company of handing out free tickets to migrants. “We only decided on the possibility of a free reservation,” he said, in order to hand out numbered seats so that they “stay in a group and there is no risk of conflict with other passengers in case they were to sit in reserved seats.” These people, he said after the polemics arose, “will be checked like the others. Like others, they will have to have a ticket and can also be fined. We have. however, asked our personnel onboard and those at the stations to use their common sense. For us, these are not transgressors who want to violate the system. They are people in exceptional circumstances, often in a state of desperation and exhaustion, and it is only normal that they be treated humanely.” He added that “if a family gets on without a ticket, we will certainly not make them get off at the next stop and leave them to sleep in the cold,” Piednoel added, underscoring that the number of those in exile traveling on French trains is not comparable to what is happening in Austria, Hungary and Germany and that the vast majority of them are found to have bought tickets.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Want to Fingerprint All Visitors to EU Countries

Only travellers from non-EU countries were due to be subjected to the checks at the borders to Schengen countries, but France wants it to be extended to everyone.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

French Rail Network Will Allow Migrants Heading to Calais to Travel for Free

France’s national railway has sparked outrage by allowing groups of illegal migrants — including many heading for Calais and then Britain — to travel for free.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

German Bundestag Approves Laws to Limit Migrant Numbers

The German parliament Bundestag approved a new package of immigration legislation which officially acknowledges Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro as safe countries of origin, free of political repression and armed conflicts, and stipulating that, under German law, migrants from these states will no longer be entitled to apply for asylum in Germany.

BERLIN (Sputnik) — The German parliament Bundestag voted on Thursday to approve a package of immigration measures that include further restrictions on asylum seeker acceptance.

The new legislation officially acknowledges Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro as safe countries of origin, free of political repression and armed conflicts, and stipulating that, under German law, migrants from these states will no longer be entitled to apply for asylum in Germany.

The new package will be considered by the Bundesrat on Friday.

“We have to make easier integration of people who legally come to us as refugees, and be able to immediately get rid of those who don’t need a refugee status,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in an interview with Germany’s ZDF television, commenting on the new laws.

Under the new legislation, refugees will have to stay much longer in the first EU member state of their arrival.

The package of laws has been widely criticized by German opposition groups, who call it a “cruel attack on migrants’ rights.”

Europe is currently experiencing the largest migrant flow since World War II. According to predictions by German media, the country could expect an influx of about 1.5 million refugees in 2015, well over a previously announced official forecast of 800,000.

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

Juncker Calls for Deeds Not Words on Migrants

‘EU credibility at stake’

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 15 — The credibility of the European Council is at stake if EU member states do not honour their commitments concerning the refugee crisis, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said Thursday.

“It is time to move from words to deeds: member states must do as promised in terms of deploying new staff and resources on the migrant front,” Juncker said ahead of a two-day summit of European leaders in Brussels starting Thursday. “There are big delays. The credibility of the European Council is at stake,” he continued. Juncker said revision of the Dublin regulation concerning asylum applications in the EU, which is now widely considered obsolete and slated for reform by March 2016, would be “sped up”. The Commission president also said there was a “good chance” of reaching an agreement with Turkey to try to stem the flow of migrants and refugees across its border into Europe under the terms of the European Agenda on Migration presented by the Commission in May. Juncker’s deputy Frans Timmermans and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn were in Ankara for talks on Thursday.

“The talks are going in the right direction,” Juncker said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Merkel in U-Turn on Turkey Being Declared Safe Country for Migrants

Ahead of a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has signaled Berlin’s willingness to declare Turkey a ‘safe country’ for migrants to be returned to, despite European opposition.

Merkel is already facing a split in her coalition government over her stance on the European asylum-seeker crisis, having declared Germany’s doors open and refusing to set a limit on the total number of refugees her country will take.

Merkel reached an agreement with Horst Seehofer, the Governor of Bavaria — which has borne the brunt of the refugee crisis on its border with Austria — to set up transit zones in the southern state to hold and process migrants and refugees.

Those who are not refugees from war zones and whose asylum request stands no chance of being allowed will be sent back from those zones — but only to ‘safe countries’. Hitherto, Turkey was considered not to be safe because of widespread concerns over human rights issues and Erdogan’s policies toward, among others, Kurds and the media.

In its October 2014 progress report on Turkish accession to the EU, the European Commission also said it had “serious concerns regarding the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers.

“The widespread reassignments and dismissals of police officers, judges and prosecutors, despite the government’s claim that these were not linked to the anti-corruption case, have impacted on the effective functioning of the relevant institutions, and raise questions as to the way procedures were used to formalize these.”

Despite this, a senior German government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity: “I could imagine that in a broader context it would make sense to put Turkey on the list of safe countries,” apparently signaling a reversal of opinion in Berlin.

By declaring Turkey to be a safe country, economic migrants and refugees would be refused asylum and sent back to Turkey, despite opposition from human rights groups who say many are fleeing oppression under Erdogan.

In its 2014/5 report into Turkey, Amnesty International said “the authorities became more authoritarian in responding to critics. They undermined the independence of the judiciary, introduced new restrictions on internet freedoms and handed unprecedented powers to the country’s intelligence agency.

“The rights of peaceful demonstrators were violated and police officers enjoyed near-total impunity for the use of excessive force. Unfair trials continued, especially under anti-terrorism laws, but the excessive use and length of pre-trial detention declined. By the end of the year, 1.6 million Syrian refugees were living in Turkey, many of them destitute.”

Merkel is also believed to want to add Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro to the ‘safe countries’ list so that asylum-seekers from those countries will also be refused asylum and sent back.

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

Merkel Faces Domestic Revolt Over Refugee Welcome

Germany’s Angela Merkel is used to owning the room when she speaks to her party faithful, but the mood turned hostile when she defended her open-door refugee policy this week.

In a heated atmosphere, some of the 1,000-odd members at the meeting warned of a “national disaster” and demanded shuttering the borders as Germany expects up to one million migrants this year.

“Stop the refugee chaos — save German culture + values — dethrone Merkel,” read a banner at the congress late Wednesday in the eastern state of Saxony, the home base for the anti-foreigner PEGIDA movement.

Merkel, who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in the communist East, insisted she would stay the course and told party members that “isolation already failed in the days of East Germany”…

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

Merkel Says Initial Steps on Greece, Italy Hotspots

‘Europe facing historic challenge on migrants’

(ANSA) — Berlin, October 15 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Greece and Italy have taken initial steps to set up so-called hotspots to process asylum claims, but this is shared European duty.

Outlying islands of both countries are the first landfall for refugees sailing across the Mediterranean in a bid to flee war and destitution in Africa and the Middle East.

“Greece and Italy have taken the first steps on hotspots, but we must consider this a joint European task,” she told the German parliament, or Bundestag.

Germany is willing to provide staff and other aid, she added.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Europe is facing a historic challenge,” she told German lawmakers.

“I expect everyone to contribute,” she said, citing today’s European Council meeting in Brussels.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

More Horrible Than Rape: Spengler

By David P. Goldman

The body of a 20-year-old Syrian woman, “Rokstan M.,” was unearthed from a shallow grave in the small Saxon town of Dessau last week. Her father and brothers stabbed her to death on her mother’s orders, after she was gang-raped by three men. The rape left her “unclean” and the mother allegedly demanded the killing to restore the family’s honor. German police are seeking the father and brothers. That by itself is not newsworthy; what is newsworthy is the news itself, which appeared in not one of Germany’s major daily newspapers or websites. The tabloid Bild-Zeitung ran the story, along with the regional press, while the arbiters of enlightened opinion buried it. Der Spiegel, the country’s biggest news site, and the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, the newspaper of record, made no mention.

The case of Rokstan M. is heart-rending. She had found work in Germany as a translator for the government, but she knew her family would track her down and kill her. “I am awaiting death. But I am too young to die,” she had written on a social media profile. Her story deserves a line or two in the quality press. But it’s one of many that German leaders want to ignore.

Political leaders in Germany—which may absorb 1.5 million migrants this year—are struggling to respond to reports of a sex crime epidemic among newly-arrived Muslims. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere urged Germans not to believe rumors of widespread rape at refugee centers, while Germany’s police union chief Rainer Wendt warned, “There is a lot of glossing over going on. But this doesn’t represent reality.” Wendt added, “It is understandable that there is the desire to calm things down politically.”

Germany’s elite knows perfectly well that the migrants bring social pathologies, because they have already seen the world’s worst sex crime epidemic unfold in Scandinavia. Sweden now has the highest incidence of reported rape outside of a few African countries, and nearly ten times the rate of its European peers—and all this has happened in the past ten years. Sweden ranks near the top of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, yet it has become the most dangerous country for women outside of Africa, with an incidence of rape ten times that of its European peers. Sweden’s political leaders not only refuse to take action, but have made it a criminal offense to talk about it.

Even in liberated, feminist, gender-neutral Sweden, there is something more horrible than rape, something horrible enough to persuade the political elite to sacrifice the physical and mental health of tens of thousands of Swedish women. That is the horror of social disintegration in the Muslim world. Sweden opened its borders to refugees twenty years before the migrant flood arrived on Germany’s doorstep, and the foreign born rose from 9% of the population in 1990 to 15.4% in 2012. Foreigners have a higher birth rate, so the percentage is higher including second-generation immigrants.

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

Norway Seeks to Return Syrian Asylum Seekers Arriving From Russia

According to Norwegian State Secretary, the country intends to turn around those refugees who have already been granted residence permits in Russia or have an oppertunity to receive them.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Norwegian authorities struggle to cope with the influx of Syrian asylum seekers arriving through the country’s northern border with Russia, and intend to return these persons without processing their asylum applications, Norwegian State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice Joran Kallmyr said Thursday.

“The increased influx of asylum seekers to Norway is a challenge, and in Finmark [northern region bordering Russia] we have struggled to provide everyone with shelter,” Kallmyr told Norway’s VG newspaper.

According to Kallmyr, many of those arriving have already been granted residence permits in Russia, or may be able to receive them. “We can then avoid processing these applications and send them back, following the principle of the first country of arrival,” he said.

“Some of these people even have dual citizenship and have lived in Russia for several years. Others have recently arrived, but are not persecuted in Russia. Nor is there an ongoing war or other security situation in Russia suggesting these refugees could not be returned,” he underscored.

Norwegian authorities have in recent weeks repeatedly expressed concern over the new, so-called northern refugee route through Russia.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Anders Anundsen told Norway’s NRK broadcaster that Norwegian authorities suspect the refugee influx from Russia to be organized, though without specifying whom it may be organized by.

The minister also questioned why the refugees are not heading for neighboring Finland and stated that Russian authorities must be aware of the situation, as the asylum seekers are arriving from a militarized area where there usually are no civilians.

Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende told local media on Thursday that he had asked his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for an explanation regarding the situation on the sidelines of a Barents Euro-Arctic Council meeting earlier this week.

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

Refugees Surprised by Polar Bear When Attempting to Jump Into Back of Truck in France

A group of refugees attempting to reach the United Kingdom got a surprise when they attempted to board a truck and discovered a polar bear inside. The polar bear, Nissan, was on the last leg of his journey on Wednesday from Moscow to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park when several refugees attempted to board the truck in Calais, France.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey Expects to Agree Visa-Free Travel With Europe in 2016

Turkey expects to strike a deal allowing its citizens to travel visa-free to the European countries within the so-called Schengen Area next year, the country’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said in a televised interview on Thursday.

ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkey applied to join the 28-nation European Union in 1987. Negotiations on its accession to the bloc began in 2005. Twenty two EU member states and four non-EU European countries participate in the border-free Schengen Area.

“A visa-free regime with the EU is a priority in our talks [on EU membership]. I’ll announce the good news on visa-free Europe as early as in 2016,” Davutoglu said to the TGRT television channel.

EU leaders are meeting with Turkish officials for talks on the migrant crisis. Ankara will be asked to bolster border controls to curb refugee travel to Europe.

The Turkish government estimates that the country currently hosts about 2.5 million refugees, many of them from Syria. It is expected to ask for concessions from Brussels for retaining additional Syrian asylum seekers.

A diplomatic source in Brussels confirmed to RIA Novosti on Tuesday that Ankara planned to use the option of creating new refugee camps on its territory as a bargaining chip to press Europe to open its borders to Turkish travelers.

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

UN Official Says UK Refugee Policy Echoes the Way Jews Were Treated by the Nazis

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said the rhetoric being used by politicians in the UK and Europe had echoes of the years leading up to the Second World War.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Dangerous Art of the Ultimate Selfie

If 2014 was the year of the selfie, then 2015 took the art of self-photography to a new and dangerous level. People are, quite literally, dying to take a picture of themselves.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

11 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/15/2015

  1. It is the complete break down of the national governments, undermined by EU and UN and all inculcated with pan European societies driven by Richard Nikolaus Coudenhove Kalergi.

    Here is one site that is for guidance and education of youth.
    Then look through the website and see how deep and influential it is in schools etc.

    Interesting to see the patrons, see who speaks at their work shops and what awards where essays are written, seeing how they will deal with the conflict on the way to a paradise future of Europe.

    Just note the media, politics, business, academia, schools, and inter connections and then there are the workshops so they meet for 2 days and how they will work to an agenda.

    These are the people pushing and displaying such merit in Merkel, Hollande, Cameron, and all those supportive political parties.
    With such supportive people they make effective rabid dogs on any one that threatens their view of a peaceful pan Europe.

    I did read one of the essays that infers that there will be much “conflict”, and primarily undoubtedly against any of their people who disagree and believing it will be right for being successful and leading to a peaceful Europe in 15 years time, all through rose tinted glasses, of “giving it to the man” and combating corruption to make room in this Europe, powered by these young people

    In an earlier post “Psycho-Germany” one wondered why people thought like that. Through out Europe they are trained to think like that, and to “LOVE” pan europe with all its multi individual ethnic religiosity ideology. Just look at the photos in their “workshops” and how nice everything will be.

    I always did think the European back packers were regurgitating a siren call, and now I see a glimpse of the source of this. It seems widespread even if there schools or universities are not directly connected.
    I am sure some European commentator will soon give us an idea of how big this is and perhaps more of an explanation?

    Would be interesting to know who funds this??

    • The usual suspects, I used to be part of that sort of political circle. The EU funds a lot of it and then there is the usual retinue of US Aid, Soros Foundation and other so called ““civil society organizations”. It is a toolbox of behavioural campaigning, to format groups into classic Orwellian “group thinking” mentality.

      Just take the example of the Maidan revolution in Ukraine, it bore all of the hallmarks of a very well funded campaign, underpinned by long running series of various workshops, seminar, training courses, such as the one, Tech Camp outlined in Oleg Tsarev’s speech:

      • Thank-you.
        Being so far removed from Europe, yet seeing it on the news, even though I think on it and do bump into back packers, It seems always difficult to believe that people think so differently.
        Yet I actually see it in the local news, local politicians and just how current issues are handled, particularly by the media.
        It is more than just a generational gap, as I see even “down under” the subtle changes in education, and so the views of children are being shifted away from the parents thinking. The ability as you mention to do this with this social media and enhancing the “group thinking” “peer pressure” that also simultaneously seems to remove reasoning, logic, that seems to have a cult like hold, that many do not seem to be able to grow out of.

        The media is so insidious, even though you may see through it, makes all participants use that same style, to avoid aggravating time wasting tedious situations in their interviews and write ups.

        That “exercise in self aggrandizement, EU style”, makes them feel important so it gives a very strong base to attack any person that is perceived to be opposing their “group think” as an attack on their “religion”, their very being.

        What made you see through these political circles?
        I am looking for how to debate with young travelling backpackers, or as I often try to sow a seed of doubt in their pattern of thinking.

        Thank you for that link, as it matches in what I have heard, even though every thing is swamped and awash with all of the projected and blurry media views.

        • thanks for the reply.

          To answer your question briefly

          What made you see through these political circles?

          The shallow self congratulatory 2d mindset of the ‘management’ & their intransigence to discuss & talk rational proposals.

          The feeling of being in a human hamster wheel dealing with a range of policy issues based on EU. Policy worked on for ages until some entity in Brussels said “stop that’s not our policy line” with reason given. Extremely frustrating.

          Of course then I was very pro Palestine, and was against the 2nd war in Iraq. Stood on the streets of London with a million other, yet all totally ignored by the gov of the day. Pointless waste of life across the board. Didn’t make sense and it still doesn’t. The high level political is set in cement

          Time after time there are these key events, people get caught up & think it is worthwhile. Then what? It becomes like a slowly deflating balloon. The pieces didn’t quite fit, particularly as I used to live in a very multi ethnic area and was the target for certain communities, just because I wasn’t one of them. I work in justice and saw the disjointed policies being applied, different parameters being set solely based on religion & skin tone, not ability or experience.

        • I think to look at the young backpackers, there is an easy question to ask. Education & career prospects.

          Over the decades gone, the job scene expects more & more young people. Whereas it was possible to get reasonable quickly without a degree, it all likelihood, the same job now would probably require a Master degree with serious amount of unpaid work ‘experience’. Take for instance primary school teachers.

          How do they feel being asked to study for long and then end up at the lower scale of the salary package offered. They have to work for a lot lot longer generally than their parents do (did). It doesn’t make sense since most youth unemployment in the EU is soaring. Who’s gonna pay the bills?

          • Thank you, for your reply.

            Yes majority of back packers on a “gap year”. Sometimes it is easy to get them to relate to practicalities of life and death cycles, practical environment ideas, but for some their ideas are so ingrained.
            It takes time for some to see the cycle, and then to reason for commonsense.
            The principle of such “heavenly aspiration that they are of no earthly use”, is not quite true as often they can be harnessed to create a lot of damage.
            As you mentioned “The shallow self congratulatory 2d mindset of the ‘management’ & their intransigence to discuss & talk rational proposals” and so closing down discussion and debate, and closing down the mind.
            Yes the “backpacker” is trapped in the education cultural relativity and nor does he want to risk any black mark on his openings to a career, as even lower pay is better than nothing. That million march protest is probably seen as a credit on a young person’s cv

            For me I note that things do not add up,, hey this does not feel right, and in questioning more as you say find this “intransigence”.

            Our longer education is often filled an indoctrination, that pervades teaching , nursing, policing etc. etc. to bring on a “cultural sensitivity” and now you need a “practical awareness”, ” gender awareness” and can flow through so many trades and professions through rules and regulations. It is ever changing to keep one on the back foot, and any protestations will be called out to be named and shamed.

            I have seen it operated as the “Delphi Technique” that can be done by chairmen / facilitators /mediators even in open meetings that move a large number of people to own and accept the preconceived out come.

            Despite being called rascist, xenophobic and islamphobic with dancing on the head of a pin with my reasoning, and eventually saying leave it, “agree to disagree” for the time being, and mark my words to see if I am right or wrong in the near future. Also just take a moment to see and observe certain suburbs in your home country, and is it really safe to walk there?

            I can not understand all about the Ukraine, but “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” and what flows through the news media, and to hear it from you and put in another way just helps to confirm the stench.

            Nothing is perfect, like Israelis and Palestinians , but the true gist of their basic philosophies does give more than an inkling of what it is all about, and why a lasting peace can not be.

            Again thank you

  2. This is the site of the The International Charlemagne Prize.
    The language can be changed to what you wish by clicking on the button flags at the top.

    It has been dishing out prizes since 1950.

    The youth prize is for 16-30 year old for projects of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects. The prize is 10 thousand euros.

    Interesting to see the names of the patrons, laureates.

    Do not get me wrong, it is with laudable aims. It is the philosophy behind driving this “as if the means justifies the ends”.so “riding rough shod” over their own people, and can be glimpsed at, as a fast pace to be set, in some of the speeches for receiving the prize.

    I do not know if it is me, or my thinking, that if you are not for it then get out of the way. But citizens of a country or Europe itself, even if the majority, must take care of its own minorities too, older people, working class, unemployed.

    Perhaps again a European commentator can tell me how popular these prizes are?
    Is this the way of thinking of Europeans?

    • Not known at all outside the chattering political & media elites. A pointless (for the common man & woman) exercise in self aggrandizement, EU style.

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