Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2015

According to the latest projections, the Liberal Party is the winner in today’s Canadian elections, clearing the way for Justin “Baby Doc” Trudeau to replace Stephen Harper as prime minister.

In other news, Croatia opened its border with Serbia, allowing thousands of “refugees” who had backed up there to enter the country. However, there are still potential bottlenecks for the flow of migrants at the borders of Slovenia and Austria.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, Nick, 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
» Argentine Voters Shrug Shoulders at Chronic Inflation
» China’s Q3 GDP Growth 6.9%, Lowest Since 2009
» EC Likely ‘Won’t Send Italy Budget Back for Changes’
» Italy: New Cash Transaction Limit Good for Consumption Says Sangalli
» US Softens Stance on China’s Undervalued Yuan
» Old Trick: Painting NATO’s Future in Dark Colors to Boost Defense Spending?
» Red-Baiting Tom Wolfe
» Secret Service Protection Activated for Trump, Carson
» Source: FBI Looking Into Claims CIA Director’s AOL Account Hacked
» Trump is Right About 9/11
» Bombardier Out to Win Medium-Range Jet Bet Despite Airbus Setback
» Canada Election: Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau in Tight Race
» Harper Battles Liberal Icon’s Son in Canadian Elections
Europe and the EU
» After Thwarted High-Speed Train Attack, France Tightens Security on Public Transit
» Attachment to Wealth Splits Families, Causes War — Pope
» Austria: Military Imam to Speak to Recruits on National Day
» Belgium: Between 1,000 and 9,000 Euro Per Jihadi
» Belgium: Police Detain Kidnap and Extortion Gang
» Chinese President Xi Jinping State Visit Puts US-UK Relations Under Strain
» ENI to Start Pumping Oil From Barents Sea in Weeks
» ESA’s First Technology Nanosatellite Reporting for Duty
» Every Fourth Danish Muslim Wants the Law to be Based on the Koran
» Germans No Longer Believe Anti-Russian Propaganda — German Publicist
» Germany Promotes Turkish EU Accession for Own Economic Benefit — UKIP MP
» Iceland Said Unlikely to Accept $2.7 Billion Creditor Deal
» Italy: De Luca Cleared of TAV ‘Crime Instigation’
» Italy: Consumers, Businesses Join Against Rome Urban Neglect
» Italy: Outgoing Rome Mayor Marino Quizzed by Prosecutor
» Killed in Action: Three Die in the Workplace Each Day in Italy
» Merkel Pushes for Turkey EU Membership Talks
» Sculpture of British Nurse Executed in 1915 Unveiled in Brussels
» U.K. Throws Lavish Welcome for Xi in Hopes of ‘Golden Era’ In China Trade
» UK to Allow Parents Seize Children’s Passports Amid Extremist Threat
» UK: Former Qatari PM Claiming Diplomatic Immunity to Halt Torture Case
» UKIP Lawmaker Derides Threat of Fines for Revealing Details of TTIP
» Bosnia: Arab Investment in Tourism Industry
North Africa
» Ambassador Sought Security Staffing Before Benghazi Attack, Cable Shows
» How the Libyan Revolution Opened the Door to the Islamic State
» Most of Libya’s Recognised Parliament Against UN Deal: MP
Israel and the Palestinians
» An Israeli’s Take: Roots of Recent Violence Lie in ‘Hateful Incitement’
» Berlusconi Says Equidistance on Israel ‘Unacceptable’
» Israel Begins Construction of New Wall Separating Jews and Arabs in East Jerusalem
» Israel Summons French Ambassador Over Temple Mount
» The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada
Middle East
» British Woman Dead in Ankara Airport Not a Suicide — Friends
» Death Toll From Saudi Arabia Hajj Stampede Climbs to at Least 2,110
» ‘Drop-and-Forget’: Russia Develops Supersonic Smart Bomb
» Fanning Flames of War: Syrian Opposition Receives New Batch of US-Made Arms
» First Humanitarian Convoy Enters Village in Besieged Syria’s Idlib
» Game Changer: Chinese-Made Killer Drones Operating in Iraq
» ISIS: Training Camps Discovered in Istanbul
» Journalist Found Dead at Istanbul Airport After Allegedly Missing Connecting Flight
» Kuwait Rights Body Decries Bias Against Expats in Healthcare
» NATO Front Crumbles: Slovakia Welcomes Russia’s Involvement in Syria
» Russia’s Achievements in Anti-ISIL Campaign Ruin Washington’s Reputation
» Saudi Arabia Said to Delay Contractor Payments as Oil Slumps
» Turkey: Stop to Anti-Erdogan TV Channels on the Eve of Vote
» US Financial, Political Elites Firmly Wedded to House of Saud
» US Sent Toyotas Not to Syrian Moderates, But to Nusra Front — German Media
» Violence Spirals in Turkey’s Kurdish Southeast
» Gap Between Kiev and Donbass is Growing, Reunion of Ukraine is Unlikely
» Moscow Protests French Fighter Buzzing Duma Plane
» Russia: Putin Proposes “Immunity” For Sacred Texts: They Cannot be Judged Extremist
» Ukraine: Portraits of Stalin in Donetsk
South Asia
» A Pakistani Family Converted to Christianity is Hounded, Victim of Death Threats
» Churches in Aceh, Indonesia, Demolished Amid Hardliners’ Demands
» Indian Police Arrest Two Teenagers Over Delhi Rape of Toddler
» India: BJP Activists Threaten to ‘Skin’ Australian Tourist Over Tattoo
» Italy-Germany-Turkey ‘To Keep Troops in Afghanistan’
» Taliban Did Use Bombed Hospital as a Shelter, Afghan Defense Minister Says
» US F-16 Struck by Enemy Fire in Afghanistan in Rare Attack
Far East
» Chinese Hack Attacks Against US Companies Persist Despite Leader’s Pledge, Report Says
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Aid Agencies Accused of Hiding Scale of Sexual Assaults on Employees
» Boko Haram Enlists Young Girls as Suicide Bombers
» Muslim Teen Arrested for Homemade Clock Meets Sudanese President Bashir
» Smugglers, Jihadists Prey on Mali’s Rare Desert Elephants
Latin America
» Jet Deal on Agenda Amid Brazil Visit to Sweden
» Witnesses: Pre-Election Violence Flaring Up in Haiti Slum as Politically-Aligned Gangs Feud
» 664 Migrants Dock in Cagliari, 150 Suspected Scabies Cases
» Anger Over Police Chief’s Call to Build Border Fence
» Anti-Immigration Party Wins Swiss Elections
» Anti-Immigration SVP Wins Swiss Election in Swing to Right
» Austria: Styria Braced for Thousands of Refugees
» Balkans Struggles With Growing Backlog of Migrants
» Belgium: 300 Asylum Seekers to be Housed Near Ferry Terminal
» Croatia Opens Border to Thousands of Refugees as Temperatures Drop
» Dresden Police Expect 10,000 for PEGIDA Rally, Counter-Demostration
» Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Calls on Arab Gulf States to Aid Refugees
» France: Calais: The ‘New Jungle’ Photographed From the Sky
» France’s Migrant ‘Cemetery’ In Africa
» France: ‘Khartoum-Upon-Seine’: Sudanese Refugees Take Shelter in Wealthy Paris Suburb
» Germany: Conflict Inside the CDU, Motion to Close Borders
» Germany to Grow to 100 Million Residents by 2020?
» German Interior Minister De Maiziere Condemns PEGIDA After ‘Horrifying’ Attacks
» Greek Coast Guard Rescues 2,561 Migrants Over the Weekend
» Historic Win for Swiss Anti-Immigration, Anti-EU Party
» Italy: Thirty Tunisian Asylum Seekers Repatriated
» Italy: Ten Years Sought for Priest Suspected of Preying on Migrants
» Merkel Ignores Opinions of Other 27 EU Members — UKIP MP
» Merkel’s Deal With Turkey Angers Left and Right
» Migrant Crisis: Croatia Opens Serbia Border
» Migrant Crisis: Tensions Rise as Balkan Path Blocked
» Netherlands: Threats Against Pro-Refugee Councillors Are Totally Unacceptable, Says PM
» Number of Germans Unsatisfied With Government Rises 11% Amid Refugee Crisis
» Over 9,000 Seek Asylum in Sweden in One Week
» Over 197,000 Migrants Enter Croatia in Escalation of Migrant Crisis
» President Niinistö: Finland Needs to Prepare for Continued Stream of Asylum Seekers
» Slovenia Can Only Accept as Many Migrants as Can Exit Into Austria
» Sweden: Umeå Opts to Keep Refugee Housing Whereabouts Secret
» Sweden: Refugee Homes Become ‘Secret’ After Fire Attacks
» Sweden: Hitler ‘Supporter’ Offers Sweden Refugee Homes
» Switzerland Shifts Right as Anti-Immigration Party Wins Elections
Culture Wars
» Italy: Rome Vicar General Says Govt Civil Unions Bill Not Needed
» The Martian Astrobiologist

Argentine Voters Shrug Shoulders at Chronic Inflation

Argentina’s next president will inherit an economy dogged by chronic inflation, but voters have grown so used to it they hardly seem to care.

Spiralling prices have come to be seen as normal in Latin America’s third-largest economy, where annual inflation has stood above 20 percent for the past eight years.

“Sure, living with inflation is a problem and it always will be — otherwise this wouldn’t be Argentina,” joked Mercedes Salto, 58, who plans to cast her ballot on October 25 for Daniel Scioli, the candidate of the left-wing coalition that has governed Argentina since 2003.

This year’s inflation figure — around 30 percent, analysts forecast — is low compared to the hyperinflation crises of the 1970s and 80s, when Argentines’ salaries got decimated before they could even cash their paychecks…

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

China’s Q3 GDP Growth 6.9%, Lowest Since 2009

During 2009 financial crisis growth was 6.2%

(ANSA) — Beijing, October 19 — China reported third quarter GDP growth of 6.9% on Monday, the lowest since 2009 when growth was at 6.2%.

In the second quarter of 2015, China’s GDP growth rate was 7%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EC Likely ‘Won’t Send Italy Budget Back for Changes’

Still assessing migrant emergency clause

(ANSA) — Brussels, October 19 — The European Commission (EC) will likely not send Italy’s budget bill back for changes, qualified EU sources said Monday. The climate after a first EC reading of the proposed budget is “positive” as Italy is said to be “more solid” than last year. Granting flexibility because of Italy’s spending on migrants remains an issue, the sources said. The draft budget the government has sent to Brussels puts current spending on the migrant emergency at three billion euros, with a total cost of 3.3 billion euros, sources said Friday. Of these, 50% is spent on hosting the asylum seekers and 20-30% is spent on rescuing them at sea. Italy is requesting deficit flexibility based on these numbers. The budget currently amounts to 27 billion euros but this may rise to 30 billion if the EU OKs a clause on the migrant emergency, allowing Italy to raise the budget-to-deficit ratio from 2.2% to 2.4% — equivalent to just over three billion euros. Premier Matteo Renzi said last week he would send the same budget back to the European Commission if Brussels says it should be overhauled. The EC has repeatedly said it does not like the property-tax cuts in the 2016 budget bill, reminding Renzi that its standard recommendations to member States go in quite the opposition direction — to shift the burden from labour and consumption onto property among other things. The elimination of property tax IMU and property-related service tax TASI has also come in for criticism from the domestic opposition, which argues it is unfair to slash taxes on all residences, including castles and villas whose owners can well afford to pay. Renzi has retorted by saying his government, unlike previous centre-left ones, is out to ease poverty but not at the expense of targeting rich wealth creators. The premier made it plain Friday he would not stand for any Brussels strong-arm tactics, of the kind Italy has so frequently had to submit to in previous years.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: New Cash Transaction Limit Good for Consumption Says Sangalli

‘Amount doesn’t matter, steady rules needed’ says Cantone

(ANSA) — Rome, October 19 — The 2016 budget bill’s new cash-transaction limit, raised from 1,000 to 3,000 euros, will be good for consumer spending, the head of retail association Confcommercio said Monday as controversy over the measure continued.

“It is certainly a good choice, a choice we expected, a choice in line with Europe and at a time of difficult recovery, it simplifies the life of companies,” said Carlo Sangalli.

“It certainly goes in favour of relaunching consumption,” he said.

Critics of Premier Matteo Renzi have slammed the move, saying it makes it easier to dodge taxes and pay bribes. Italy’s anti-corruption czar Raffaele Cantone said Monday “the amount of money you can pay in cash does not affect tax evasion per se — but you need steady rules that aren’t continuously changed”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

US Softens Stance on China’s Undervalued Yuan

The US Treasury on Monday softened its longstanding position that the Chinese currency is “significantly” undervalued, saying it wants to see how market forces move the newly flexible yuan.

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

Old Trick: Painting NATO’s Future in Dark Colors to Boost Defense Spending?

NATO’s days are numbered, retired US Marine General and former National Security Advisor James Jones said, and to an extent he may be correct.

“I think it’s possibly the beginning of the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. I think it’s that serious,” Jones told the Washington Examiner. “We just can’t sit back and let this happen.”

The threat to NATO’s very existence, Jones believes, comes from Russia’s assertive foreign policy. Although Russia does not threaten any country, whether it is a NATO member or not, the alliance and its aficionados have long chosen Moscow as their archenemy.

Interestingly enough, Jones might be correct in his assessment that NATO’s (bright) days are numbered. On Sunday, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico voiced his support for Russia’s aerial campaign in Syria. Slovakia is a member state of the North Atlantic Alliance.

In general, the plight of Syrians in the Middle East and beyond has been an eye-opener for many in Europe. Officials and experts in European states, including some NATO members, have refused to follow Washington’s lead in the Middle East and are increasingly supporting Moscow’s strategy to ending the Syrian civil war and stopping the massive wave of immigration it helps fuel.

Comments similar to that of Jones have been made quite often. They appear to be part of a strategy, which some hope will help to keep NATO afloat. The idea is simple: claim that the bloc’s member states are threatened by a powerful enemy and push for increased defense spending while increasing internal cohesion.

But this aggressive rhetoric is only working up to a point.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in June revealed that the majority of Germans (58 percent), the French (53 percent) and Italians (51 percent) do not want their country to provide military support to a fellow bloc member if it is attacked by Russia. Probably, because they know that it is an unrealistic scenario and do not see Russia as an enemy.

Increasing defense spending does not seem to be on the agenda of key NATO members in Europe either.

Few states have managed to fulfill their pledge to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. According to a research published by the European Leadership Network in February 2015, Bulgaria, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom planned to cut their defense expenditures this year.

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

Red-Baiting Tom Wolfe

by Diana West

A new round of lush profiles re-examines the 14-ct mystique of Tom Wolfe now that his papers, which he sold to the New York Public Library for $2.15 million, are available for research.

That is, I think he sold them in exchange for that goodly fortune. Vanity Fair’s Michael Lewis reports the transaction more tastefully: “Back in November 2013, the New York Public Library announced that it would pay $2.15 million to acquire Wolfe’s papers….”

Lewis then samples the trove for Vanity Fair. The results are Vanity Fair to a vanity-fair-thee-well, as when Lewis, taking his reluctant young daughter along on his reportorial travels, writes: “So I try all over again to explain why, to travel quickly from Martha’s Vineyard to Long Island, you can’t fly in a normal plane, only a small one or a helicopter …”. Such dedication to craft is always inspriing.

Anyway, Lewis did fish up something quite interesting from the papers, letters, notes, masses of ephemera (report cards, tailor bills, etc.) that make up the Wolfe collection.

Discussing Tom Wolfe’s graduate school career at Yale, Lewis writes:…

           — Hat tip: Diana West [Return to headlines]

Secret Service Protection Activated for Trump, Carson

The Secret Service is moving forward on activating 24-hour protection for Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson, Fox News has learned.

The agency sent letters Monday to key leaders in Congress who have to sign off on the proposal, which Fox News is told would involve a rotation of 260 Secret Service agents. Congress traditionally approves such requests.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Source: FBI Looking Into Claims CIA Director’s AOL Account Hacked

The FBI is looking into claims that CIA Director John Brennan’s personal AOL email was hacked, a law enforcement source confirmed to Fox News.

An anonymous hacker, who spoke to the New York Post, earlier claimed to have breached Brennan’s personal account and had posted documents online, including a list of email addresses purportedly from Brennan’s contact file.

A CIA spokesman said they are aware of the claims: “We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities.’’

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Trump is Right About 9/11

George W. Bush didn’t do all he could to prevent the attack—and it’s time Republicans confronted that fact.

Donald Trump utters plenty of ugly untruths: that undocumented Mexican immigrants are “rapists,” that Syrian refugees are committing “all sorts of attacks” in Germany and represent a “Trojan Horse” for ISIS. But he tells ugly truths too: that “when you give [politicians money], they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” And that “the Middle East would be safer” if Saddam Hussein and Muammer Qaddafi were still in power.

His latest ugly truth came during a Bloomberg TV interview last Friday, when he said George W. Bush deserves responsibility for the fact that “the World Trade Center came down during his time.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Bombardier Out to Win Medium-Range Jet Bet Despite Airbus Setback

Despite failing to agree a potential tie-up with Airbus, Canadian planemaker Bombardier insists it can make its bet on entering the lucrative medium-range passenger jet market a winner, while also leaving the door open to possible future alliances.

“Bombardier is fully committed to the CSeries and we have the financial resources in place to support the programme,” spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera said regarding the 100 to 150 seat aircraft now nearing certification, shrugging off not being able to sell Airbus a majority stake in the project.

But the company’s confidence is set against analyst concerns about Bombardier’s ability to survive the financial stress of bringing the first all-new medium-range passenger jet in 25 years to market as the development costs of the CSeries have doubled to $5.4 billion…

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

Canada Election: Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau in Tight Race

Canadians have started voting in fiercely contested parliamentary elections that could give them their first new leader in nearly 10 years.

Incumbent Conservative PM Stephen Harper is fighting for a rare fourth term but the frontrunner is Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, son of late prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

The left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) could also play a decisive role.

Opinion polls have suggested many people are still undecided.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Harper Battles Liberal Icon’s Son in Canadian Elections

Pivotal elections Monday pitted embattled Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his vision of a Conservative Canada against the son of an iconic late prime minister determined to put Canada back on a liberal course.

Canada has shifted to the center-right under Harper, who has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation and clashed with the Obama administration over the Keystone XL pipeline. But after nearly 10 years in power, he has trailed in opinion polls behind Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

After Thwarted High-Speed Train Attack, France Tightens Security on Public Transit

France is tightening security on its vast public transit network after an attack on a high-speed train that was thwarted by a group of American friends.

The measures announced Monday by France’s interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, close security gaps that complicated baggage searches and ID checks. The attacker on the Thalys train boarded with a small arsenal of arms and had been flagged for links with Islamic extremists. Three Americans and a Briton subdued him after he tried to open fire in the Brussels-to-Paris train.

Under the measures, rail security officers will be able to wear plainclothes and deny travel permission to anyone who refuses a luggage search; police will be able to search bags at any time. The new rules must still be made into law.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Attachment to Wealth Splits Families, Causes War — Pope

Francis says faithful can’t serve two masters

(ANSA) — Vatican City, October 19 — Pope Francis on Monday blasted the attachment to wealth, which he said splits families and causes wars. “Attachment to wealth is idolatry,” the pope said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican residence where he lives.

He added that is not possible to “serve two masters” and worship both money and God. “Think of how many families we know who have argued, who don’t speak to each other, who hate each other over an inheritance,” the Argentine pontiff said. “In this case what’s most important is not love of the family, love of children, of brothers, of parents, but money.

And this destroys.

“And it also causes wars, the wars we see today. “Money is behind them — the money of the arms traffickers, the money of those who take advantage of war”. Francis said Jesus was not “against wealth in itself” but warned against entrusting one’s security to money and rendering religion an “insurance company”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Austria: Military Imam to Speak to Recruits on National Day

An imam will be present for the first time on Vienna’s Heldenplatz for Austrian National Day next Monday, at the swearing in of new army recruits. The Austrian army has employed a Muslim chaplain since July 1st, after reforms to the law on Islam.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Between 1,000 and 9,000 Euro Per Jihadi

According to a United Nations report those that recruit young men in Belgium to go and fight with the Islamist terrorist organisation IS are paid between 1,000 and 9,000 euro per recruit. The report also says that over the past 5 years 500 young Belgians have been recruited to fight with IS.

The UN expert group on mercenaries used data from the Belgian police, the judicial authorities and experts for its report. On the basis of the data it concluded that proportionally Belgium has the highest number of recruits in the whole of Europe.

There are currently 207 Belgian jihadi fighting in Syria. 77 Belgian jihadi have been killed in action over the past 5 years and 128 jihadi have returned from Syria. Of those that have returned, 46, most of whom Sharia4Belgium activists, have been or are currently in the process of being prosecuted.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Police Detain Kidnap and Extortion Gang

Police in Brussels have detained a gang that is believed to have kidnapped and robbed several people in the area around the VUB/ULB campus in Elsene. Jennifer Vanderputten of the Brussels Judicial Authorities told journalist that the lured drunken students into its car in the early hours of the morning. They were then forced to hand over their mobile phone, wallet and bank cards.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese President Xi Jinping State Visit Puts US-UK Relations Under Strain

The state visit to Britain of Chinese President Xi Jinping — including his stay at Buckingham Palace — is set to put relations between Washington and London under strain.

President Xi Jinping begins his visit Monday night amid denials from Downing Street that his tour will damage relations between Britain and the US. The president’s welcome in London is set to cement a series of investment deals that will see China pump more than US$155 billion into Britain’s infrastructure — including new nuclear power stations.

However, critics say Britain’s wooing of China will rock its special relationship with the US, which has accused China of espionage and cyber-attacks on the US and objected to Britain’s membership of China’s new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The UK Chancellor George Osborne toured China is September, closing deals between British and Chinese companies as well as securing promises of investment by Beijing. He declared he would “make Britain China’s best partner in the West.”

“Let’s stick together and create a golden decade for both of our countries.”

The UK has long considered China as its closest ally and the two nations have hundreds of years of diplomatic and defense ties. However, the US is currently stepping up its campaign against what it sees as Chinese aggression and is preparing to send a surface ship inside the 12-nautical-mile territorial limit China claims for its man-made island chain.

Meanwhile, Washington is embroiled in a row over claims of Chinese cyber-attacks on a US government entity. According to Palo Alto Networks, the latest China-based attack on a US government interest follows a Trend Micro report of an extended, ongoing cyber-attack campaign against other US government contractors.

According to Trend Micro, Operation Iron Tiger, was confirmed to have plundered terabytes of data from its defense contractor victims. Iron Tiger was believed to have been aided by use of earlier-stolen Office of Personnel Management data.

“Perfect Alignment?”

Given the close relationship between the UK and US defense and intelligence departments, President Xi’s visit to London — which will included a state banquet at Buckingham Palace — will be seen as disloyal to Washington.

On his state visit to the UK in 2011, US President Barack Obama declared: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship — for us and for the world.

“When the United States and Britain stand together, our people and people around the world can become more secure and more prosperous.”

“The reason it thrives is because it advances our common interests and shared values. It is a perfect alignment of what we both need and what we both believe,” Obama said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron denied the “special relationship” with the US would cause tension between London and Washington, saying:

“We see no conflict with having that very special relationship, with wanting to be a strong partner for China as the Chinese economy continues to grow and China emerges as an enormous world power.”

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

ENI to Start Pumping Oil From Barents Sea in Weeks

(AGI) Paris, Oct 16 — Energy giant Eni will be ready in weeks to start oil production in the Barents Sea, said CEO Claudio Descalzi. Intensive testing was needed “because the environment is very delicate,” he said while attending an Oil & Gas Climate Initiative meeting in Paris. “Our main objective is not to conquer the Arctic, our priority targets are conventional assets,” he said, referring to Eni’s discoveries in Egypt.

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

ESA’s First Technology Nanosatellite Reporting for Duty

ESA’s first technology-testing CubeSat, released last week from the International Space Station, is in good health and is set to start work on its six-month mission.

“This tiny satellite was developed in only a year and now we are very pleased with the rapid progress made during the first few days in orbit to check its readiness for its mission,” notes Roger Walker, overseeing ESA’s technology CubeSat effort.

GomX-3 was designed and built for ESA by Denmark’s Gomspace company. Engineer David Gerhardt adds: “Following its release from the Station on 5 October, much of the satellite’s proving phase is complete, demonstrating that it is operational and in good health.

Despite its small size of 10x10x30 cm, the nanosatellite precisely controls its orientation by spinning miniaturised ‘reaction wheels’ at varying speeds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Every Fourth Danish Muslim Wants the Law to be Based on the Koran

Some 40 percent of Denmark’s 250,000 Muslims believe that Danish law, at least to some extent, should be based on the words of the Koran, according to a new Wilke survey carried out for Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The survey also found that about 10 percent believe the constitution shouldn’t play any role at all and that Danish law should only reflect the Koran. Conversely, about 54 percent of Danish Muslims believe that Denmark’s laws should only be based on the constitution.

“It’s a majority, yes, but one could question why almost everyone doesn’t agree with it,” Jens Peter Frølund Thomsen, an associate professor in political science at Aarhus University, told Jyllands-Posten.

“It is fundamental to our democracy that the constitution is the foundation for everything.”

Right-wing party Dansk Folkeparti contended that the results offer further evidence that the migration of Muslims to Denmark should be halted.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germans No Longer Believe Anti-Russian Propaganda — German Publicist

There is growing discontent in Germany over the fact that the country’s government policy is dictated by the US. Germans oppose the biased attitude towards Russia and want Germany to pursue a more balanced and independent policy, German writer Christoph Herstel said.

Long-term US strategy in Europe is aimed at creating conditions for provoking conflict with Russia. In this regard, Washington is doing everything to embroil Berlin and Moscow, according to a German writer and government consultant Christoph Herstel.

However, many Germans view this course as harmful and think that it may damage German and European interests. Forty thousand German citizens have signed a petition to the federal government against the deployment of British and American bases in Germany.

“The fear among Germans is increasing every day because people are closely watching the US policy. And what do they see? Support for ISIL and the desire to start a conflict with Russia. But no one here wants this conflict, everyone wants friendly relations. This is why I developed this petition and call for the withdrawal of US and British troops from Germany on my Facebook page,” Christophe Herstel told Radio Sputnik.

According to the German journalist, the central task of the US is to prevent the development and strengthening of relations between Russia and Germany, what would be beneficial for “backstage forces” and “the global mafia network of concerns”. Thus Germany may get involved in a war against Russia against its own will if it continues to follow the course dictated by the United States.

However, the journalist argues, German residents are already beginning to “wake up from their sleep,” and the dissatisfaction with the current governmental course is growing.

“Germans are becoming increasingly aware that Germany is losing its sovereignty. Our media incites people against Russia, as if they were sponsored by Washington. But Germans no longer believe in this nonsense and do not want to read it,” Herstel said.

“Cultural and political changes are starting to take place in Germany, dissatisfaction with the government is growing. We do not want biased policy against Russia any longer. Russia does not deserve it, and so doesn’t Europe,” the journalist concluded.

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

Germany Promotes Turkish EU Accession for Own Economic Benefit — UKIP MP

Germany is pushing for Turkish accession to the European Union in the interest of its own economic gain, not to promote the bloc’s agenda, a UKIP member of the European Parliament told Sputnik Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkey, where she expressed support for the country’s leadership in its bid to join the European Union in return for cooperation to stop the refugee flow to Europe, adding she would discuss the issue with the other members of the bloc.

“I think it is almost a certainty,” Raymond Finch said about the possibility of Turkey joining the European Union.

“Because Germany’s birthrate is declining massively, they have already a large Turkish population, and they want more cheap labor, and they see, would probably see, the Turks as a means to get cheap labor to suppress local wage conditions.”

Last week, Brussels pledged up to $3.4 billion in aid, simplified visa procedures and accelerated EU ascension procedures for Turkey in exchange for its cooperation in stemming the unprecedented migrant flow to Europe.

“It is all about the economic indicators for Germany. Frankly, Angela Merkel does whatever she wants, she does whatever she thinks is best for Germany, not for the European Union, not for any of the European nations, and certainly not for the migrants,” Finch said.

Finch estimated that the process of Turkey acceding to the European Union, talks on which began in 2005, could be completed within 5 to 10 years, but he noted that the very fact of the country’s accession is “rather odd, because Turkey isn’t even a European nation.”

The Turkey-EU deal was forged by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said the action plan would provide guarantees that the refugees currently in Turkey would stay there. The deal will also ensures that no refugees use Turkey as a transit route to EU member states.

Some 710,000 people, fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, have crossed the European Union’s external borders in the first nine months of this year, according to the bloc’s border agency Frontex.

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

Iceland Said Unlikely to Accept $2.7 Billion Creditor Deal

That’s according to two officials close to the matter, who asked not to be identified by name because the talks are private. The 334 billion kronur ($2.7 billion) put forward by committees representing creditors in Kaupthing, Glitnir and LBI is still too far off the combined $3.8 billion the government is using in its calculations, the people said. Policy makers may be willing to accept a smaller amount if other terms are agreed, they said, without elaborating.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: De Luca Cleared of TAV ‘Crime Instigation’

Writer on trial after saying ‘every action’ legitimate

(ANSA) — Turin, October 19 — Italian writer Erri De Luca was cleared by a Turin court of charges of instigating crime by encouraging ‘No-TAV’ high-speed rail protestors on Monday.

The judges ruled that “a crime was not committed” and the sentence was greeted by applause from members of public present.

De Luca was on trial for allegedly instigating crime by encouraging protestors against the controversial TAV high-speed rail link between Turin and Lyon, saying that “every action” against the project was legitimate in 2013.

“An injustice has been averted,” he said. “This court is an outpost of the near future”.

Earlier on Monday the writer had stood by his words in court.

“I confirm my conviction that the so-called high-speed line should be hindered, prevented and sabotaged for the legitimate defence of the earth, air and water,” De Luca said before the judges gave their verdict. De Luca, who is an ex-militant of the 1970s radical leftwing group Lotta Continua (Continuous Struggle), also bemoaned that he has not been defended by fellow writers in a case that he said has an impact for freedom of speech. Critics of the TAV project have highlighted its high cost and damage to the environment. France and Italy argue it will save money and help the environment in the long run by cutting down on automobile traffic. Anti-TAV activists have organized a series of protests against the high-speed rail link throughout Italy over the last few years, some of which included violent clashes with police, vandalism, threats and disruption of highway traffic.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Consumers, Businesses Join Against Rome Urban Neglect

Committee will report to police, from potholes to racketeering

(ANSA) — Rome, October 19 — Rome businesses and consumers joined forces to fight urban neglect and widespread unlawfulness in the nation’s capital on Monday. Codacons consumer group, Comitas micro-business association and the Catering and Tourism Interregional Federation (FIRST) formed a committee called RomaxBene (Respectable Rome), on whose website concerned citizens and visitors are invited to report all forms of neglect — from potholes to illegally dumped trash to vendors operating without a license to tourists being fleeced.

The committee intends to report to report to police all such incidents, as well as suspected racketeering, consumer fraud, and unlawful occupations of public land or real estate.

“We’re tired of there not being enough inspections in this city,” said Codacons President Carlo Rienzi. “Citizens are taking back the possibility of controlling the things that don’t work. Here in Rome everything goes in slow motion, and there’s very little oversight”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Outgoing Rome Mayor Marino Quizzed by Prosecutor

Magistrate heads probe into first citizen’s expenses

(ANSA) — Rome,October 19 — Outgoing mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino was being quizzed Monday by public prosecutor Roberto Felici, the magistrate heading a probe into the controversial expenses he ran up before he resigned, judicial sources said.

The investigation was opened following charges levelled by the Fratelli d’Italia and the radical 5-Star Movement parties.

Marino allegedly used his municipal credit card to rack up thousands of euros in expenses for personal meals rather than official ones.

The mayor, who himself published his expenses in a transparency bid that backfired, denies this.

Marino was being questioned on the eve of the opening Tuesday of the preliminary trial on corruption charges of the former head of the Rome street-cleaning agency AMA, Giovanni Fiscon, the first hearing in the ‘Capital Mafia’ Rome graft scandal.

Marino, who helped uncover the scandal and was praised by Premier Matteo Renzi for his honesty, indicated he would attend the opening of the trial at which he said before he resigned the city government would seek civil damages from the crime gang that allegedly pillaged Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Killed in Action: Three Die in the Workplace Each Day in Italy

For the first time since 2006, the downward trend of deaths in the workplace reversed. 752 have died between January and August this year, compared to 652 over the same period last year. What is going on?

Aniello De Luca, 47, never came out of the animal feed silo he was cleaning outside the city of Brescia. After he fell in, the blades spinning inside tore his body apart. Giovanni Racco, a 59-year-old artisan, fell off the roof of a warehouse he was fixing in Settimo Torinese, near Turin, and died. Giuseppe Scarano, 45, was killed after a truck ran him over on a highway construction site near Naples. These are only some of the latest cases. By the time you read these lines, more will have followed, because workers in Italy are still dying on the job by the hundreds. From January to August this year, there were 752 deaths, an average of three a day. That’s the equivalent of a hundred tragedies like the 2007 ThyssenKrupp fire, an incident in which seven workers burned to death at one of the company’s steel mills in Turin, happening in just eight months. With only a few lines in the local papers to mark their passing, the dead have been piling up without anybody taking notice. And this year, the pile is particularly high: for the first time since 2006, the trend of year on year improvement of Italy’s work safety record has been reversed, and so-called “white deaths” (which refers to the difficulty of assigning blame for such fatalities) have been on the rise. Data from INAIL, the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work, shows that between January and August 2015, 100 more cases of deaths in the workplace occurred than over the same period the year before. All men and women who left home to go to work and never returned…

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

Merkel Pushes for Turkey EU Membership Talks

German chancellor Angela Merkel gave her support on Sunday (18 October) to a new start in EU-Turkey membership talks.

“How can we organise the accession process more dynamically?” Merkel asked, after talks in Istanbul with Turkey’s prime minister Ahmed Davutoglu and president Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“Germany is ready this year to open chapter 17, and make preparations for (chapters) 23 and 24,” she said, referring to the chapter of the community acquis on economic and monetary policy, and the two chapters on justice, security and fundamental rights.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sculpture of British Nurse Executed in 1915 Unveiled in Brussels

A sculpture of a British nurse executed by German forces occupying Belgium 100 years ago during World War I, was unveiled Monday by Belgium’s Princess Astrid and Britain’s Princess Anne.

The stone bust of Edith Cavell stands in a park in the Brussels suburb of Uccle close to where she was executed by firing squad on 12 October 1915 in an incident that later inspired large numbers of British soldiers to join up.

To mark the event, Princess Anne, daughter of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, laid a wreath at the site watched by a group of local students clutching Union Jack flags.

The royals later attended a ceremony in the Belgian Senate, where Cavell was tried and sentenced for having helped allied soldiers escape Belgium…

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

U.K. Throws Lavish Welcome for Xi in Hopes of ‘Golden Era’ In China Trade

The U.K. is rolling out the red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit starting Monday. Amid the pomp of 41-gun salutes, lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and lodging at Buckingham Palace, Prime Minister David Cameron will be looking to Xi to open up the purse strings and dole out billions of pounds of new investment.

China opening the investment spigot would help redress a lopsided trade relationship that’s left the U.K. lagging its continental peers in winning Chinese largess. Chinese officials have said the amount of deals Xi will announce during the trip will be “huge.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

UK to Allow Parents Seize Children’s Passports Amid Extremist Threat

British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to announce on Monday that UK parents will be able to seize the passports of their children under the age of 18 to prevent them from joining terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State (ISIL).

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The press release of the UK government said:

“Parents concerned that their 16 and 17 year old children are at risk of traveling abroad under the influence of extremists will be able to apply to have their passports removed.”

Cameron is also expected to announce as a part of UK nationwide measures to counter terrorism that those involved in extremist activity will be automatically restricted from working with vulnerable people and children.

The number of UK citizens under 20 who have been involved in counter-terrorism related arrests is rising, the release said, citing recent British police figures.

According to the latest data from the UK Metropolitan Police, at least 700 UK citizens are estimated to have left for Syria and Iraq to fight alongside jihadists.

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

UK: Former Qatari PM Claiming Diplomatic Immunity to Halt Torture Case

A former Qatari Prime Minister is reportedly attempting to use diplomatic immunity to stop a UK court case where he has been accused of falsely imprisoning and torturing a British citizen.

Fawaz al-Attiya, a UK national who served as Qatar’s official spokesperson between 1996 and 1998, claims that security agents acting on behalf of former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani illegally abducted and imprisoned him for 15 months in conditions that amounted to torture.

After falling out with the former PM over a land deal, Mr Attiya says he lost his job as government spokesperson, had his land seized and was subjected to “increasing harassment, threats and surveillance,” according to court documents.

Mr Attiya says that he was then accused of leaking state secrets and was “forcibly taken” from Saudi Arabia to Qatar in 2009.

While being held in detention for 15 months, Attiya says he was kept in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep and was only rarely released from handcuffs.

Qatar’s assistant attorney is also alleged to have told Mr Attiya that:

“…he was being detained at the behest of the prime minister [Hamad bin Jassim], that there was no intention to release him and that any attempt to secure release through securing a court order… would either be prevented or any such order would not be carried out.”

Attiya was released from prison in January 2011, allegedly “on instruction of the crown prince of Qatar” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Diplomatic Immunity Claim Lodged

Despite denying the allegations, court documents have revealed that Sheikh Hamad is attempting to claim diplomatic immunity from the claims, which if approved, would mean the ongoing court case would be halted and the former PM would not face any legal action.

Diplomats enjoy legal immunity and cannot be prosecuted in the UK under the Vienna convention of 1961. However, critics say that diplomatic immunity is abused in certain cases, as it prevents justice from being carried out in some instances.

Sheikh Hamad, who was Qatar’s prime minster between 2007 and 2013, has been listed as having diplomatic status in the UK since November 2014 as a “minister-counselor” serving in the country’s London embassy.

The billionaire has been involved in a number of high-profile Qatari investments in the UK in recent years, and when asked about the nature of his diplomatic activities, Hamad bin Jassim’s lawyers told the Guardian newspaper that his role involves “developing… the very close relationship which exists between the state of Qatar and the UK, with particular emphasis and responsibility for the promotion and development of economic relations.”

Sheikh Hamad’s legal team has denied the allegations leveled against the former PM, saying that Mr Attiya was treated in accordance to both Qatari and international law.

The hearing on whether Sheikh Hamad will be granted diplomatic immunity to expected to be held later this month.

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

UKIP Lawmaker Derides Threat of Fines for Revealing Details of TTIP

A UK Independence Party (UKIP) lawmaker said on Monday that he had been sworn to secrecy, with a threat of a financial penalty, not to disclose the details of a proposed controversial US-EU free trade pact.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has come in for tough criticism from opponents for the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the ongoing negotiations.

The aim of TTIP is to deregulate trade between European Union and the United States. Critics argue that the deal, which would encompass 60 percent of global production, will weaken environmental, health, safety and labor standards and regulations.

“If I publicly disclose what I have read, I will be subject to a minimum fine [of $3,500],” Stuart Agnew said in a statement, referring to an October 12 viewing of the trade pact’s chapter on agriculture.

Agnew, a UKIP lawmaker in the European Parliament, further speculated that were he to divulge any of the details of what he has read, he would “be at the mercy” of President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz.

“This is the EU’s definition of transparency,” Agnew added. “The Agricultural chapter is one small part of a very ambitious trade negotiation where the British have to sit on their hands whilst an unelected foreign commissioner takes our decision for us.”

The 11th round of negotiations to iron out the final version of the TTIP text are scheduled to open in the southeastern US city of Miami, Florida, on Monday. They are followed by stakeholder forums and conferences later in the week.

Negotiated in unusual secrecy for the past two years, TTIP has been accused of assigning undue power to multinational corporations and other copyright holders, with a specific clause permitting them to sue governments through an independent arbitration panel.

Other concerns over TTIP include the removal of local control over trade legislation and copyright from sovereign nations.

UKIP spokeswoman for small business Margot Parker told Sputnik earlier that the party had many concerns about the potential for TTIP to lead to the privatization of the UK’s national healthcare system.

A draft, leaked in February, of the European Union’s “initial offer” in the TTIP negotiations authorized US health corporations to sue governments if lawmakers sought to renationalize currently for-profit services in Britain’s National Health Service.

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

Bosnia: Arab Investment in Tourism Industry

Projects to build centres in the mountains and in Sarajevo

(ANSA) — SARAJEVO — The general manager of “Buroj Property Development”, company from United Arab Emirates, based in Dubai, and the Mayor of Trnovo, village which is located 25 km south of Sarajevo, have signed the final contract to build a tourist integrated centre which is worth 2 billion euro.

This news was reported by the Bosnian media. The project will be carried out in the next eight years at the foot of the Bjelasnica and Treskavica mountains, covering 137 hectares. Thousands of square meters of new buildings: hotels, offices, homes, shopping centers, recreational and sports facilities, as well as cultural centres, including parks with fountains and artificial lakes, clinics and therapy centres.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ambassador Sought Security Staffing Before Benghazi Attack, Cable Shows

Two months before the fatal 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, then-Ambassador Chris Stevens requested 13 security personnel to help him safely travel around Libya, according to a cable reviewed by Fox News — but he was turned down.

In the July 9, 2012 cable, Stevens reported that, “Overall security conditions continue to be unpredictable, with large numbers of armed groups and individuals not under control of the central government, and frequent clashes in Tripoli and other major population centers.” The cable said 13 security personnel would be the “minimum” needed for “transportation security and incident response capability.”

But a congressional source said Patrick Kennedy, a deputy to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, turned down the request.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

How the Libyan Revolution Opened the Door to the Islamic State

David Greene revisits his 2011 trip to Libya and the period following the fall of Moammar Ghaddafi, to try to understand how the revolution unexpectedly gave way to the Islamic State’s incursion.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Most of Libya’s Recognised Parliament Against UN Deal: MP

A majority of lawmakers in Libya’s internationally recognised parliament on Monday rejected a UN peace deal and a proposal for a national unity government, one of them said.

MP Ali Tekbali said the decision was taken during a session of the parliament but that no vote took place.

“A majority of lawmakers decided to reject the (UN) proposals,” Tekbali told AFP.

“No voting took place,” he said “since the majority of the members have rejected the UN suggestions”…

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

An Israeli’s Take: Roots of Recent Violence Lie in ‘Hateful Incitement’

NPR’s Michel Martin speaks to Mark Regev, who has been the chief spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regev will be taking over as Israel’s ambassador to the U.K.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Berlusconi Says Equidistance on Israel ‘Unacceptable’

Centre-right leader urges ‘defence’ of Jewish state

(ANSA) — Rome, October 19 — Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi called Monday for the “defence of Israel” and said the international community is maintaining an “unacceptable equidistance” between aggressors and those attacked.

“The defence of Israel today more than ever is the defence of the reasons for freedom, democracy and civil and religious pluralism,” the media magnate said.

Berlusconi condemned what he called “the very grave attacks harming Israeli citizens”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel Begins Construction of New Wall Separating Jews and Arabs in East Jerusalem

Israeli authorities have begun building another barrier to separate Jewish and Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The efforts come amid a spate of attacks directed at Jewish civilians by Palestinians.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Israel Summons French Ambassador Over Temple Mount

‘Harsh discussion’ after proposal on international observers

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, OCTOBER 19 — The Israeli foreign ministry has summoned France’s ambassador to Israel, Patrick Maisonnave, in what was described as a harsh debate following a French proposal calling for international observers to be stationed at Temple Mount in Jerusalem, according to the ministry’s spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

During the talks, Israel stressed it is against the French proposal — as already stated by Premier Benyamin Netanyahu.

Nahshon explained, illustrating what was said to Maissonave, that Israel opposes any move that is uncoordinated and suggested without its participation on issues concerning its vital interests. The French ambassador, according to Mahshon, objected that his country is going through ideas over what he defined as a constantly stalling peace process.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada

Knife attacks on Jews in Jerusalem and elsewhere are not based on Palestinian frustration over settlements, but on something deeper.

In September of 1928, a group of Jewish residents of Jerusalem placed a bench in front of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, for the comfort of elderly worshipers. They also brought with them a wooden partition, to separate the sexes during prayer. Jerusalem’s Muslim leaders treated the introduction of furniture into the alleyway in front of the Wall as a provocation, part of a Jewish conspiracy to slowly take control of the entire Temple Mount… The spiritual leader of Palestine’s Muslims, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, incited Arabs in Palestine against their Jewish neighbors by arguing that Islam itself was under threat. (Husseini would later become one of Hitler’s most important Muslim allies.) Jews in British-occupied Palestine responded to Muslim invective by demanding more access to the Wall, sometimes holding demonstrations at the holy site. By the next year, violence directed against Jews by their neighbors had become more common: Arab rioters took the lives of 133 Jews that summer; British forces killed 116 Arabs in their attempt to subdue the riots. In Hebron, a devastating pogrom was launched against the city’s ancient Jewish community after Muslim officials distributed fabricated photographs of a damaged Dome of the Rock, and spread the rumor that Jews had attacked the shrine.

The current “stabbing Intifada” now taking place in Israel—a quasi-uprising in which young Palestinians have been trying, and occasionally succeeding, to kill Jews with knives—is prompted in good part by the same set of manipulated emotions that sparked the anti-Jewish riots of the 1920s: a deeply felt desire on the part of Palestinians to “protect” the Temple Mount from Jews… Convincing Palestinians that the Israeli government is not trying to alter the status quo on the Mount has been difficult because many of today’s Palestinian leaders, in the manner of the Palestinian leadership of the 1920s, actively market rumors that the Israeli government is seeking to establish atop the Mount a permanent Jewish presence.

The comments of the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas—by general consensus the most moderate leader in the brief history of the Palestinian national movement—have been particularly harsh. Though Abbas has authorized Palestinian security services to work with their Israeli counterparts to combat extremist violence, his rhetoric has inflamed tensions. “Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every martyr will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God,” he said last month, as rumors about the Temple Mount swirled. He went on to say that Jews “have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet.”… One of the tragedies of the settlement movement is that it obscures what might be the actual root cause of the Middle East conflict: the unwillingness of many Muslim Palestinians to accept the notion that Jews are a people who are indigenous to the land Palestinians believe to be exclusively their own, and that the third-holiest site in Islam is also the holiest site of another religion, one whose adherents reject the notion of Muslim supersessionism.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

British Woman Dead in Ankara Airport Not a Suicide — Friends

Call for international investigation

(ANSA) — Rome, October 19 — Friends and colleagues of Jacqueline Anne Sutton, the British former BBC reporter found dead in a bathroom at Ankara airport Saturday night, did not commit suicide, her friends and colleagues said Monday, calling for an international investigation.

Sutton, 50, was found hanged by her shoelaces and Turkish sources said she committed suicide after missing a flight to Iraq.

Sutton was the head of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Iraq and was leading investigations into women’s conditions in Islamic State (ISIS).

Her predecessor at the IWPR, Ammar Al Shahbander, was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad in May.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Death Toll From Saudi Arabia Hajj Stampede Climbs to at Least 2,110

The crush and stampede that struck the hajj last month in Saudi Arabia killed at least 2,110 pilgrims, a new Associated Press tally showed Monday, after officials in the kingdom met to discuss the tragedy.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the kingdom’s interior minister, oversaw the meeting late Sunday, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. It did not mention any official response to the rising death toll. The country’s own toll since Sept. 26 has stood at 769 people killed and 934 injured.

“The crown prince was reassured on the progress of the investigations,” the SPA report said. “He directed the committee’s members to continue their efforts to find the causes of the accident, praying to Allah Almighty to accept the martyrs and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

‘Drop-and-Forget’: Russia Develops Supersonic Smart Bomb

The latest version of Russia’s KAB-250 precision-guided bomb will soon complete trials, Russian media reported on Saturday.

The KAB-250 is a follow-on to the larger KAB-500 PGM, which made its combat debut in September in Syria. There are two versions of the 250-kilogram KAB: a laser-guided version and a satellite-guided version.

Based on the “drop-and-forget” principle, the KAB-250 guided aerial bomb incorporates the latest advances in science and technology, including the experience of its KAB-500 predecessor.

The inertial guidance system directs the bomb towards the target area. Two to three kilometers from the target the bomb’s onboard computer commands the thermal homing head to acquire the designated target.

The KAB-250’s thermal homing head then compares the acquired image with the reference picture laid down in its memory before discharge, and corrects the trajectory so that the radius of the deviation does not exceed three meters.

The KAB-250 has a fragmentation warhead designed to destroy lightly vulnerable materiel, thin-skinned vehicles, and other enemy installations. The bomb can be dropped individually or in salvoes.

The KAB-250 is 10.5 feet long, weighs a total of 565 pounds, with a 365 pound warhead and a 200-pound explosive.

It has a complex, compact tail design and is fitted with four long-chord, short-span wings to increase its glide range. It falls from an aircraft at a rate of 655-1,150 feet per second.

The KAB-250 can be used in all weather conditions and time of day, with different trajectories and speeds of several Mach number. The aerodynamic wings and close to neutral alignment munition provide high maneuverability and greater range.

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

Fanning Flames of War: Syrian Opposition Receives New Batch of US-Made Arms

While the Syrian Army is liberating the country from the internationally recognized evil of ISIL, local rebels fighting the Assad regime received a new batch of US-made anti-tank missiles.

The US and its allies who want to topple President Bashar Assad via a proxy war led by opposition forces, delivered the new weapons in response to the government army’s advance that began on Friday.

The militants have hit at least 11 vehicles since that day, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. However, a member of one of the rebel groups complained that “A few will not do the trick. They need dozens.”

The armed rebels received military aid via Turkey as a part of the US support program.

On October 11, US planes dropped 50,000 tons of ammunition to help Syrian opposition to fight ISIL in the north.

However, the US weapons designated for the opposition wrestling with ISIL sometimes serve as sand in the wheels because the opposition groups also fight the Syrian government and thus impede the battle against ISIL.

While the attitude to Bashar Assad may vary from one extreme to another, one fact remains undisputable: he is a legitimate leader and his army is the last fortress curbing the sinister violence of ISIL.

The opposition is hardly controllable and destabilizes the situation.

Therefore a question arises:

if Assad’s foreign opponents, unwilling to put aside their antipathies at least for the common goal of defeating ISIL, understand that their arms deliveries fan the flames of the war and weaken Damascus, do they really want to annihilate ISIL as much as they declare?

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

First Humanitarian Convoy Enters Village in Besieged Syria’s Idlib

The first humanitarian convoy consisting of four trucks carrying aid collected by Syrian charities and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent arrived on Sunday in the village of Foua (northwestern Syria, Idlib governorate), a source in the local militia told RIA Novosti.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Foua has been living under siege of the terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra and Jaish al-Fatah terrorist groups for more than two years. On September 20, the United Nations facilitated the six-month ceasefire between the terrorists and the Syrian Army to deliver humanitarian aid to civilians.

“Three cars and a truck with humanitarian aid arrived in the city using the main road Idlib — Foua. A similar column was supposed to arrive in the town of Zabadani [25 miles from Damascus],” the source said.

He added that near Zabadani and the Shiite town of Kefraya in the Idlib Governorate similar convoys expected permission to enter.

Shiite villages of Foua and Kefraya have been under siege for over two years. Over 25,000 people, including refugees from the nearby towns and villages, captured by terrorists, suffer from critical humanitarian conditions. The local militias consisting of both Shiites and Sunnis continue to defend the city.

Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, with the army loyal to Assad fighting against several opposition factions and numerous jihadist groups, including Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

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

Game Changer: Chinese-Made Killer Drones Operating in Iraq

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense recently released a video displaying the launch of a Chinese-made CH-4B combat drone from al-Kut Air Base southeast of Baghdad, Iraq.

The video shows a clip of interview with Iraq’s Defense Minister, Khaled-al-Obeidi, who said that the CH-4B ‘Rainbow’ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) shown in the video took off for its first combat mission against ISIL in Anbar province.

How many of CH-4B combat drones Iraq has received remain unknown. “It is not clear whether China supplied Iraq with just the CH-4B mixed attack and reconnaissance UAV shown in the video, or also with the CH-4A variant, a reconnaissance drone with a 5,000km range and 30-40 hour endurance,” website The Diplomat wrote.

It is precisely designed for high-altitude missions over land and sea, and can fire its weapon from up to 5,000 meters.

The CH-4 also “has a retractable electro-optical sensor turret and a datalink back to the ground control station. The CH-4 also boasts a modern, two person control station to fly the drone remotely, with provisions for both line of sight and satellite communications,” the publication Popular Science noted.

In addition, as the Popular Science article pointed out, the “growing use of Chinese drones in war zones also undercuts US makers’ claims that theirs are the only ‘battle-tested’ drones on the market.”

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

ISIS: Training Camps Discovered in Istanbul

53 foreigners arrested, 24 minors, from Tajikistan-Uzbekistan

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, OCTOBER 19 — Turkish anti-terrorism forces have discovered training camps in Istanbul for foreign recruits of ISIS ready to leave for Syria and Iraq, according to local media.

Media reports said the camps were 18 between the Asian area of Pendik and the European Kayasehir.

Yesterday, 53 people were arrested, mostly from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, including 24 minors. According to Uzbek intelligence, over 5,000 citizens have left the country to fight with ISIS in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Journalist Found Dead at Istanbul Airport After Allegedly Missing Connecting Flight

A British director of an organization promoting journalism in conflict zones has been found dead amid suspicious circumstances at Istanbul’s main airport after allegedly missing a connecting flight to northern Iraq where she worked, reports and officials said Monday.

The London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting confirmed that Jacky Sutton, the organization’s country director for Iraq, was found dead at Ataturk Airport on Oct. 17. It said the former journalist was on her way to her base in Irbil, Iraq.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kuwait Rights Body Decries Bias Against Expats in Healthcare

A Kuwaiti rights group on Monday accused authorities in the Gulf state of discrimination against foreigners by barring them from certain healthcare services at public hospitals.

The independent Kuwait Society for Human Rights said expatriates in the oil-rich emirate have been barred from kidney dialysis treatment and certain drugs at public hospitals.

The health ministry is also considering reserving a new 1,100-bed hospital for Kuwaiti citizens alone, the society said in a statement.

“These decisions strengthen racial discrimination, constitute a flagrant violation of human rights and breach humanitarian values,” the society said…

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

NATO Front Crumbles: Slovakia Welcomes Russia’s Involvement in Syria

The Russian military operation in Syria has led to a division in NATO. For the first time a NATO country — Slovakia — has taken Russia’s side and supported their involvement in the war-torn country.

The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, a NATO member country, has come out in support of Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict.

“Whether an American attack on the targets of the Islamic State or a Russian attack would be successful, in both cases this is the same thing,” Fico said in an interview with the Slovak Radio on Saturday, adding that a successful resolution of the conflict also requires participation of the Syrian head Bashar-al-Assad.

On Saturday, Russia continued its airstrikes against the ISIL terrorists. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian Air Force had carried out about 40 new attacks in Syria over the last 24 hours, destroying 49 terrorist targets.

Russian major-general Igor Konashenkov said that the ISIL terrorist militias have changed their tactics amid airstrikes and “decentralized” their ammunition stores and command posts. However, Russian fighter jets have still managed to discover and destroy several positions of the terrorists.

Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia is defending its national interests in Syria and stressed that it is acting according to an official request of the local leadership.

In his statement, however, Medvedev slightly distanced himself from Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad, saying that the goal of Russia’s military operation is not to back up the current Syrian government, but to fight the terrorists who took large parts of the country under control.

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

Russia’s Achievements in Anti-ISIL Campaign Ruin Washington’s Reputation

The United States is bashing Russia for its efforts to eliminate the terrorist threat in Syria because Moscow’s success will expose limitations of America’s power, a Spanish newspaper asserted.

“Russia’s victory in its fight against the Islamic State will mean Washington’s crushing defeat in front of everyone. … Everyone will know that Russia’s Armed Forces are more effective that American troops. And most importantly, Russia will secure a footing in the Middle East,” La Republica quoted Yaakov Kedmi, who once headed Israel’s Nativ government agency, as saying.

Middle Eastern states, according to the media outlet, will draw their own conclusions in the weeks and months to come, with some opting for new partnerships.

In late September, Russia launched a multinational aerial campaign meant to assist Damascus-led forces in their fight against extremists from the Islamic State, al-Nusra Front and other groups, who are trying to overthrow Syria’s legitimate leader Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow’s efforts have so far been hailed as a success in Syria and in some countries across the Middle East. Some say that Russia has been able to achieve what the US failed to deliver after a months-long bombing campaign, which has not been authorized by the Syrian government.

The second component of Washington’s approach to solving the months-long Syrian crisis has also yielded no results.

The La Razón newspaper maintains that the US will continue to supply weapons to opposition groups in Syria even after admitting that their $500-million operation produced no more than five fighters out of a planned army of so-called moderate rebels willing to fight ISIL and Assad.

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

Saudi Arabia Said to Delay Contractor Payments as Oil Slumps

Saudi Arabia is delaying payments to government contractors as the slump in oil prices pushes the country into a deficit for the first time since 2009, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Companies working on infrastructure projects have been waiting six months or more for payments as the government seeks to preserve cash, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Delays have increased this year and the government has also been seeking to cut prices on contracts, the people said.

Saudi Arabia is responding to the decline in crude, which accounts for about 80 percent of revenue, by tapping foreign reserves, cutting spending, delaying projects and selling bonds. Net foreign assets fell by about $82 billion at the end of August after reaching an all-time high last year. The country has raised 55 billion riyals ($15 billion) from debt issuance this year.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Stop to Anti-Erdogan TV Channels on the Eve of Vote

‘Broadcasts halted within a month’

(ANSAmed) — ISTANBUL, OCTOBER 19 — The sole state-run satellite operator in Turkey, Turksat, has told its networks to stop within a month seven channels hostile to Erdogan’s AKP from broadcasting or their contracts will be rescinded, local media reported two weeks before early elections in Turkey.

The decision, which has caused a strong political controversy two weeks before key early elections on November 1, arrives 10 days after the same channels were blocked by one of the main local satellite TV platforms, Digiturk. The seven television channels are considered to be linked to the Hizmet brotherhood of magnate and imam Fethullah Gulen, a former friend and now enemy number one of Erdogan. The channels blacked out are Bugun, Kanalturk, S.Haber, Samanyolu, Mehtap, Irmak and the entertainment channel for children Yumurcak.

The move was ordered by the prosecutor’s office in Ankara, based on suspicion that they were supporting a terror organization, as Gulen’s network is considered by the government in Ankara. Before Digiturk, the channel had already been blocked on four other platforms: Turkcell Tv, Tivibu, Teledunya and Kablo Tv.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

US Financial, Political Elites Firmly Wedded to House of Saud

US President Obama supports the ruthless Saudi leadership, at the same time placing the blame for the deaths of tens of thousands on the secular government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, US author Eric Zuesse noted, adding that Washington’s foreign policy is currently controlled by an aristocracy that’s firmly wedded to the House of Saud.

Saudi Arabia has long been slammed for human rights violation and exceptional brutality of punishment imposed on its prisoners, however, it does not prevent the US leadership from cooperating with the Saudi government.

“The Saudi royals are the world’s top Sunni force, and they have long been allied with the United States, against post-Shah (post-1979) Iran and all other Shia-ruled countries, such as Syria, and such as the next-door Yemeni Shiite Houthis, who are being bombed incessantly by the hard-line Sunni Saudis using their US weapons,” US author and investigative historian Eric Zuesse underscored.

“According to the former bookkeeper of the Sunni organization al-Qaeda, the man who collected all of the financial donations to that organization, virtually all of al-Qaeda’s funding consisted of multimillion-dollar donations, mainly from the Saud family, but also from other Sunni Arab royals,” the investigative historian narrated in his article for Global Research.

Zuesse underscored that without America’s support the House of Saud would have been ousted like any other “tyrannical” regime.

However, instead of targeting the clearly non-democratic Saudi government, Washington is trying to topple the secular Syrian leadership.

In August 2011, Barack Obama declared in an official statement that the future of Syria must be determined by its people, thus far, “the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

The irony of the situation is that the Syrian people have repeatedly elected Bashar al-Assad as Syria’s legitimate leader and even Western polls show that at least 55 percent of Syrian respondents support their president.

Alas, the US’ “democracy exporting” has never been about real democracy.

“What ‘blessings of democracy’ has the United States recently brought to the people in Honduras, or in El Salvador, or in Guatemala? The results have been floods of refugees from there, just like the floods of refugees from US bombing campaigns in Libya and in Syria,” Zuesse stressed.

Needless to say, by toppling Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian government, Washington would have played directly into hands of Saudi elites, who long for undivided power over Muslims, both the Sunnis and the Shiites.

America’s aristocracy has much in common with that of the Saudis and that is why they have long established a close alliance.

“The American aristocracy (especially its three most powerful components: petrodollar Wall Street, oil-and-gas billionaires, and military-industrial-complex billionaires — all of whom benefit from their alliance with the Saudis) needs to be defeated in America,” the investigative historian believes.

The American people need to strip the US aristocracy of their power over the US government, otherwise it will lead the nation to catastrophe.

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

US Sent Toyotas Not to Syrian Moderates, But to Nusra Front — German Media

The US sent 43 Toyota Hilux pickup trucks to the “moderate opposition” in Syria. The vehicles should have been used by al-Nusra Front, a regional branch of al-Qaeda, but fell into the hands of ISIL, DWN reported.

ISIL fighters were reported to use Toyota Hilux pickup trucks during their military operations and attacks. At the same time, the US recently sent Syrian rebels 43 vehicles of this model, the newspaper wrote.

A US official earlier stated that Toyota Hilux vehicles are “essential to support the moderate opposition forces on the ground,” referring to the members of al-Qaeda’s regional branch, Al-Nusra Front. However, the trucks were captured by ISIL and may be used by the militants in future attacks.

Nevertheless, two weeks after the start of the Russian operation in Syria, Washington has once again decided to help the “rebels” and supply them with ammunition, thus potentially repeating the same mistake.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the initiative, noting that most of the supplies will fall into the hands of terrorist organizations.

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

Violence Spirals in Turkey’s Kurdish Southeast

As Turkey prepares to vote, municipalities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast have become the battlefields of a low-intensity war between soldiers and guerrillas. Locals say the region is sliding further into chaos.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Gap Between Kiev and Donbass is Growing, Reunion of Ukraine is Unlikely

Kiev seems to have given up the idea of a “united, sovereign Ukraine.” The country is shattered, and the Ukrainian authorities apparently do not count on a quick reunion with the eastern breakaway regions, ORF correspondent reported.

The truce in Eastern Ukraine is still in force, but Kiev and Donbass militias are far from finding a political solution to the conflict. The country is becoming more fragmented, which can be clearly seen at the checkpoints on the Ukrainian roads that rather resemble real border control points, separating two different countries, ORF correspondent said.

On the way to the city of Artemovsk, which is located 80 kilometers north of Donetsk, cars are waiting in a huge queue.

“We arrived just half an hour ago. We will have to wait five or six hours, I guess,” said Donetsk resident Andrey who was going to visit his relatives in the city.

First there were the usual roadblocks, but now there are constructions resembling border control points.

This indicates that Kiev does not expect a quick reunion with the pro-Russian territories in the east of Ukraine and that political conflict is likely to continue, further complicating lives of Ukrainian residents, the correspondent said.

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

Moscow Protests French Fighter Buzzing Duma Plane

French ambassador summoned to Kremlin

(ANSA) — Moscow, October 19 — The French ambassador to Russia, Jean-Maurice Ripert, was summoned to the Kremlin Monday to explain a French Air Force jet buzzing an aircraft carrying a Russian parliamentary delegation led by Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, the Russian foreign ministry said.

The incident happened as the delegation was being flown to Geneva to attend an interparliamentary union meeting.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Russia: Putin Proposes “Immunity” For Sacred Texts: They Cannot be Judged Extremist

The Kremlin forced to intervene after the protests of the Muslim community for the Russian court verdict that ruled some verses of Koran extremists, banning them. Approval of Orthodox, Muslims and Buddhists, while for Jews it is an “insufficient” initiative.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Orthodox Church and other traditional religions in Russia (in addition to Christianity are Judaism, Islam and Buddhism) have welcomed the proposal made by President Vladimir Putin in the Duma to amend the law on religious freedom and delete possible accusations of extremism being used against the sacred texts of the four religions.

“It is undoubtedly very important that the status of the tradition is confirmed not only by speeches and

public interventions, but also at a legislative level,” Roman Bogdasarov, secretary of the Inter-religious Council of Russia and vice president Moscow Patriarchate’s department for relations between the Church and society told Interfax-Religion.

He believes, “the immunity of sacred scriptures of traditional religions at this time is very important in the light of provocations being made by including representatives of public authorities”.

The move comes after the protest by a part of the vast Russian Muslim community over the decision of a court of the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the Far East, which had deemed verses of the Koran “extremist”, forbidding its distribution.

The loudest criticism was from Ramzan Kadyrov, the controversial leader of Chechnya, the Muslim majority Russian republic. Kadyrov was among the first to welcome Putin’s initiative, speaking of a “historic step” towards the consolidation of the community. Putin, the Chechen leader wrote on Instagram, “showed that the attempts of the West and the fifth column in Russia to cause conflict among peoples and religions are destined to fail.”

The Kremlin proposal was also welcomed by the Muslim community, in the words of the Mufti of Russia Ravil Gainutdin, and by Buddhists. The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia instead spoke of an “insufficient legislative initiative”. “This is certainly a step in the fight against recent absurdity,” said the spokesman Borukh Gorin, who is also calling for more experts in theology of every religion to act as representatives of different religious communities. Gorin has warned that each religion is founded on more than one sacred text and that so this way you avoid that “if someone wants to they will be able to find extremism in any theological text from the Middle Ages”.

The State Duma, the lower branch of the Russian parliament, has already declared that it will support the President’s proposal. “The Bible, the Koran, the Tanakh and the Kanjur, their content and quotes can not be considered extremist material”, says the norm made public by the Kremlin.

In Russia a 1990’s provision states that Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism are “an inalienable part of the historical heritage” of the country.

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

Ukraine: Portraits of Stalin in Donetsk

Monument to Ukrainian poet Stus removed

(ANSA) — MOSCOW — Pro-Russian separatists in south-eastern Ukraine rediscover the myth of Stalin, bloody tyrant. In the main square of Donetsk — the most important city under rebel control — three posters featuring a large portrait of Soviet dictator have appeared, along with the slogan “Our cause is just. The enemy will be defeated. We will win”. Moreover, in the territory of the University of Donetsk, the separatists removed a monument to Ukrainian poet Vasyl Stus, who died in 1985, aged, 47 in the ‘Perm-36’ camp, where numerous dissidents were imprisoned.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

A Pakistani Family Converted to Christianity is Hounded, Victim of Death Threats

Since 2006, the couple has had two children and constant persecution from certain Muslims because the wife converted to her husband’s religion. Attempts to file a case against their tormentors have fallen on deaf police ears. After years on the run, the family is now in hiding. Human rights activists want the government to defend religious freedom, human rights and the country’s constitution.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) — A Christian family has been on the run for almost ten years, finding temporary refuge but no safe haven. Jobless and desperate, they are unable to meet their own needs, as they continue to be threatened, hounded, and attacked because they want to live a Christian life and raise their children in accordance with Christ’s teachings.

After hearing their tragic story, AsiaNews decided to present it. Names, places and other details have been changed to protect the family, but their fate is part and parcel of the fight for religious freedom and the rights of Christians in Pakistan.

In May 2006, Amina, a 29 year-old Muslim woman, married 34-year-old Salamat Masih, a Christian. Her family was against it from the start, especially since they had already arranged her marriage to a trusted Muslim man.

However, Amina would not give in to her family’s pressures, and decided to marry the man she loved. The two also wanted a Christian wedding, but no pastor was willing to do it for fear of retaliation by her relatives.

To stop the marriage, Amina’s family filed a case against the would-be husband for rape and kidnapping. Thus, fearing arrest, Amina and Salamat decided to elope in accordance with Islamic law. This meant that Salamat, a Christian, had to convert to Islam since Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslims.

Two Muslim men, Naveed Asim and Kareem Ahmad, acted as witnesses to the Islamic wedding. Proud of converting a Christian to Islam and of the greater standing they achieved among Muslims, they also took on the responsibility of monitoring the newlywed’s life.

With this purpose in mind, the two “guardians” forced the couple to move to Sadar, a town near Karachi, and live according to Islamic traditions, including fasting during Ramadan.

Still, Amina and Salamat did not want to live as Muslims and sought help from a local Church to arrange a Christian marriage and live among local Christians.

Eventually, the pastor of a local church agreed to register their marriage as Christian on 26 October 2006. The couple also found refuge among local Christians because of threats of reprisal from Muslims.

In the following years, the couple had two daughters. Yet, their secret did not last and threats started again, especially from the two men who had taken on the task of acting as their “guardians”.

For Amina, constant threats and pressures proved too much and she miscarried a third child. This further aggravated the conflict because the father chose to give his son a Christian burial rather than laying him to rest in a Muslim cemetery. The family’s enemies had one more reason to persecute them.

Fearing for their life, the family went from city to city, finding temporary shelter in various homes. Muslims from Amina’s community, especially the two “guardians”, kept tracking them down, proffering fresh threats and exerting more pressure on them.

Two years ago, threats turned into an actual attack. Gunmen shot at Salamat, in the leg, then drove their motorcycle over the injured limb. Only the presence of bystanders forced the attackers to flee, thus preventing them from finishing off their victim.

Because of the family’s difficult economic circumstances, Salamat was never properly treated and his leg has not fully healed. Such an impairment has limited his ability to work, making family life that much harder.

The couple’s relatives are no longer able to help for fear of reprisals and attacks by Muslims. The same goes for co-workers and friends who helped them and gave them refuge. The fear of an attack has proven stronger than the desire to help.

Since March 2015, the family has been hiding in one of the country’s largest cities. Since the family has been tracked down once and attacked before, the location has been kept secret for security reasons.

Attempts to file a case with police for the violence and threats against the family have fallen on deaf years. Law enforcement agencies have refused to deal with it.

Forced into hiding for weeks on end, Amina and Salamat have been unable to work and lead a normal life. Although a local NGO has helped them with their immediate needs, the couple and their children have gone to bed hungry on several occasions.

For Amina’s family, marrying a Christian and converting to Christianity are dishonourable acts, hence the threats. This is the more acceptable since her attackers have walked away, scot-free, ready to strike again.

However, not everyone has stood idly by. Citing the Constitution of Pakistan, the Asian Human Rights Commission has called on Pakistani authorities to respect the principle of equality of citizens, and guarantee freedom of religion. Likewise, it has called for action against the police officers who failed in their duty to protect the family.

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

Churches in Aceh, Indonesia, Demolished Amid Hardliners’ Demands

ACEH SINGKIL, Indonesia — Authorities in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province on Monday began tearing down several small Christian churches after hardline Muslims demanded their closure, citing a lack of building permits.

Tensions are high among the ethnically and religiously diverse population of Aceh Singkil, where last week a mob burned down a church, leaving one person dead and forcing thousands of Christians to flee the area. Armed police and military troops have been deployed to the area and evacuees have returned.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Indian Police Arrest Two Teenagers Over Delhi Rape of Toddler

Indian police said Sunday they have arrested two teenagers over the rape of a toddler, the latest sexual assault on a child in the capital to ignite public anger.

Twenty police teams questioned more than 250 suspects before arresting the juveniles over the attack on the two-year-old girl, who was found bleeding in a park near her New Delhi home on Friday night.

“Delhi police have solved (the crime) by apprehending two juveniles in the rape case of a child,” Dependra Pathak, a Delhi police commissioner, told reporters.

“Further investigation is on. All concerned evidences are been collected,” Pathak said, adding that the two 17-year-olds arrested late on Saturday will face initial charges in 10 days…

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

India: BJP Activists Threaten to ‘Skin’ Australian Tourist Over Tattoo

BANGALORE, INDIA: Right-wing activists threatened to “skin” an Australian visitor who had a tattoo of a Hindu goddess on his leg, police said Monday, adding they were looking for the culprits.

Matthew Gordon was at a restaurant in the southern city of Bangalore with his girlfriend on Saturday when around a dozen activists from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began harassing the couple.

They said a tattoo of the fertility goddess Yellama on his shin offended their religious sentiments, and ordered him to remove it…

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

Italy-Germany-Turkey ‘To Keep Troops in Afghanistan’

Italian parliament must approve extending mission

(ANSA) — Rome, October 19 — Italy, Germany and Turkey are willing to keep their military in Afghanistan “at current levels”, a NATO commander told Reuters news agency Monday. “Many of our partners have already communicated their willingness to remain at current deployment levels,” said top NATO Europe commander, General Philip M. Breedlove.

US President Barack Obama said last Thursday he would maintain the current force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year to combat a growing Taliban insurgency, then draw down to 5,500 troops in 2017, at a pace still to be determined after consultation with commanders.

On Friday, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said the government is “deciding in these hours” what position to adopt on Afghanistan after Obama’s statement.

“You all heard what President Obama said,” Renzi told an audience at Velice’s Ca’ Foscari University. The mission has cost Italy 54 casualties and many wounded over the past decade, and now numbers 750 personnel. Of these, about 60 are deployed to the Kabul headquarters of the Resolute Support Mission, which took over in an advisory role after the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ceased combat operations and was disbanded in December 2014.

The rest are deployed in the Western city of Herat.

The Italian mission is made up of logistics, a security task force, a helicopter division called Phoenix, and some 100 military advisors from the Army and Carabinieri military police, whose job it is to train the Afghan military. It is currently financed with 59 million euros through December 31.

A government decision to extend the mission beyond that date would have to be approved by parliament.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Taliban Did Use Bombed Hospital as a Shelter, Afghan Defense Minister Says

Afghanistan’s acting defense minister said on Monday that the Doctors Without Borders hospital in the north of the country that was bombed by U.S. forces was being used by insurgents who were fighting government forces.

Masoom Stanekzai told The Associated Press in an interview that Taliban insurgents and possibly Pakistani intelligence operatives were using the facility in Kunduz city as a “safe place.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US F-16 Struck by Enemy Fire in Afghanistan in Rare Attack

A US F-16 was struck by enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan, military officials have confirmed to AFP, in a rare instance of an advanced fighter jet coming under a Taliban-claimed attack.

The multi-million dollar jet sustained significant damage, forcing it to jettison its fuel tanks and munitions before returning to base, officials said.

The attack occurred last Tuesday in the Sayid Karam district of eastern Paktia province, much of which is under control of the Taliban, who have been waging an insurgency against US-led NATO forces and government troops since they were forced from power in 2001…

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

Chinese Hack Attacks Against US Companies Persist Despite Leader’s Pledge, Report Says

Chinese hacking attempts on American corporate intellectual property have occurred with regularity over the past three weeks, suggesting that China almost immediately began violating its newly minted cyberagreement with the United States, according to a newly published analysis by a cybersecurity company with close ties to the U.S. government.

The Irvine, California-based company, CrowdStrike, says it documented seven Chinese cyberattacks against U.S. technology and pharmaceuticals companies “where the primary benefit of the intrusions seems clearly aligned to facilitate theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, rather than to conduct traditional national security-related intelligence collection.”

“We’ve seen no change in behavior,” said Dmitri Alperovich, a founder of CrowdStrike who wrote one of the first public accounts of commercial cyberespionage linked to China in 2011.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Aid Agencies Accused of Hiding Scale of Sexual Assaults on Employees

Women working for international aid agencies are facing a hidden threat of sexual violence and harassment which their employers routinely ignore or sweep under the carpet, according to testimonies gathered by the Guardian.

While exact statistics on the scale of sexual assault in the sector are hard to come by, many working for humanitarian groups worldwide say sexual predation is an unreported and growing evil that needs to be addressed by those at the top.

Women have told the Guardian that organisations — from major international non-governmental organisations and UN agencies to smaller charities — are failing to support and protect their workers from sexual abuse. Victims who speak out are often labelled troublemakers.

One American aid worker, Sarah Pierce, said she was sacked this year by the Atlanta-based Carter Center after being raped by a colleague from a local NGO while working in South Sudan.

“I received little justice and no support,” said Pierce (not her real name). “It wasn’t ‘Are you OK? Do you need medical attention?’ After I continued to speak out about what had happened and the organisation’s failure to meet the basic duty of care to its staff, I was fired.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Boko Haram Enlists Young Girls as Suicide Bombers

In Nigeria, the Islamist group Boko Haram has turned to using young female suicide bombers. Mausi Segun, of Human Rights Watch, discusses why the extremist group is using these young girls.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Muslim Teen Arrested for Homemade Clock Meets Sudanese President Bashir

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texan who was briefly arrested by school police after a homemade clock he brought to school was thought to be a bomb, met Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum late Wednesday.

Ahmed told the media he was “extremely delighted” to meet Bashir and said he hoped to meet the dictator of Sudan again “with a new invention and success,” reported the Sudan Tribune.

Ahmed and family were received at the Sudanese Presidential Residence.

The meeting raised eyebrows among typically hysterical Islamophobic US conservatives, and some Ahmed supporters.

Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Hassan al-Sufi, is a Sudanese immigrant to the United States, and a former presidential candidate in Sudan who ran against Bashir last year. Al-Sufi was excluded from the 2010 election for not gathering the required number of signatures. At the time, Al-Sufi accused the National Elections Commission and the National Congress Party of colluding to exclude him from the election.

“The NEC did not want me in the race under pressure from the NCP and Bashir. They know I have wide support among my tribe, farmers, Sufi sects and expatriates,” Ahmed’s father told the Sudan Tribune in 2010.

Bashir is wanted on an International Criminal Court warrant for allegedly orchestrating war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during the Darfur conflict starting in 2003. He has ruled unchallenged for 26 years.

There appeared to be little signal of animosity between Al-Sufi and Bashir Wednesday, however. The Sudan Tribune reported Al-Sufi attended the meeting and told reporters that he hopes the youth of the country will “write a new history for an advanced and developed Sudan.”

Osama Bin Laden lived in Sudan during the 1990s after leaving Afghanistan, where he was backed by the CIA to fight the Soviet Union.

Ahmed posted many images from his trip to the Muslim world on social media, including a picture with his male family members performing umrah next to the Kabaa inside Mecca’s Grand Mosque, and with students in Qatar.

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

Smugglers, Jihadists Prey on Mali’s Rare Desert Elephants

About a fifth of Mali’s rare desert elephants have been killed this year as ivory poachers exploit a security vacuum in the country’s north, the United Nations has said, warning of a growing threat from Islamist militants roaming the region.

At least 57 elephants died between January and June among the West African country’s only herd of around 300 animals, the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA said in a statement.

“(The poached elephants) represent about 20 percent of the remaining (Malian) population and were killed in areas where insecurity is present,” MINUSMA said, adding that forest rangers were frequently targeted by jihadists bands…

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

Jet Deal on Agenda Amid Brazil Visit to Sweden

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, was in Sweden on Monday to discuss her country’s purchase of 36 Jas Gripen fighter jets for a price tag which has risen to 39 billion kronor ($4.7 billion).

Updating a strategic partnership plan between Sweden and Brazil from 2009 and discussing air force defence is also on the agenda during Rouseff’s visit to Stockholm.

“There is a market for more Brazilian products in Sweden and vice versa. Today 70,000 people in Brazil work for 200 Swedish companies,” said Rousseff.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Witnesses: Pre-Election Violence Flaring Up in Haiti Slum as Politically-Aligned Gangs Feud

Officials say pre-election violence has flared up in a crowded Haitian slum and resulted in the killings of least 15 people, including two pregnant women.

Precise numbers of the dead around sprawling Cite Soleil were hard to pin down. Spokespeople with the Haitian National Police and the U.N. mission did not immediately provide specifics Monday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

664 Migrants Dock in Cagliari, 150 Suspected Scabies Cases

Among the migrants are 30 children, five pregnant women

(ANSA) — Cagliari, October 19 — The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot docked in Cagliari Monday morning with 664 migrants from Africa, and initial medical checks revealed at least 150 are presumed to have scabies, ANSA sources said.

Of the 664 migrants, 30 are children, 134 are women, and five of the women are pregnant. Nearly a third of the migrants are from Nigeria, followed by 80 from Gambia and the rest from other African countries. Authorities will transport the migrants to reception centres following standard medical checks and identification procedures.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Anger Over Police Chief’s Call to Build Border Fence

The head of Germany’s second-largest police union has faced criticism from other police officials after suggesting on Sunday that Germany build a fence to block off its border with Austria.

Chairman of the German Police Union (DpolG) Rainer Wendt told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Germany should build a fence along its border with Austria.

“If we close our borders this way, Austria will also close its border with Slovenia, and that’s exactly the effect we need,” he said, insisting that Germany could no longer send out the message that everyone was welcome.

“Our internal order is in danger, we are close to social unrest, someone has to pull the emergency brake now,” he said, stressing that the only person who could do so was Chancellor Angela Merkel.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Anti-Immigration Party Wins Swiss Elections

Swiss voters have swung to the right in parliamentary elections dominated by concerns over Europe’s refugee crisis, with the country’s largest party winning a record number of seats.

On Sunday, the populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), known for its virulent campaigns against immigration, the EU and Islam, won 65 of the 200 seats in the lower house, up from a current 54, and saw its support rise to its highest level ever.

The SVP raked in 29.4 percent of the vote, compared to the 26.6 percent it won in 2011 and beating its previous record of 28.9 percent in 2007, according to the Swiss media SRF. It was the best performance by a party in at least a century.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Anti-Immigration SVP Wins Swiss Election in Swing to Right

The anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won the biggest share of the vote in Sunday’s national parliamentary election, keeping pressure on Bern to introduce quotas on people moving from the European Union.

Success for the SVP, coupled with gains made by the pro-business Liberal Party (FDP), led political commentators to talk of a “Rechtsrutsch” — a “slide to the right” — in Swiss politics.

Immigration was the central topic for voters amid a rush of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

“The vote was clear,” SVP leader Toni Brunner told Swiss television. “The people are worried about mass migration to Europe.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Austria: Styria Braced for Thousands of Refugees

Over 2,600 migrants entered Austria from Slovenia over the weekend and thousands more are expected to arrive during Monday.

After Hungary closed its border with Serbia and Croatia, the influx of refugees into Austria has shifted from Nickelsdorf in Burgenland to Spielfeld and Bad Radkersburg in Styria. The refugees are being transferred from the border to temporary shelters in Graz and Klagenfurt.

Slovenian authorities said on Monday that they had refused to let in more than 1,000 refugees arriving from Croatia after a daily quota had been reached, stoking fears of a new human bottleneck on the western Balkan route.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Balkans Struggles With Growing Backlog of Migrants

The Balkans faced a growing backlog of migrants on Monday, thousands building up on cold, wet borders after the closure of Hungary’s southern frontier diverted them to Slovenia.

In desperate scenes, several thousand people, many of them Syrians fleeing war, spent the night on the muddy ground of no-man’s land between Serbia and European Union-member Croatia. “Open the gate, open the gate!” they chanted, held back by lines of Croatian police.

In Croatia, about 1,800 people were halted on a train short of the Slovenian border, where Slovenian police barred access with an improvised fence. They disembarked and walked along the tracks, wrapped in raincoats or plastic sheeting against the rain.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Belgium: 300 Asylum Seekers to be Housed Near Ferry Terminal

The Mayor and the Chair of the Social Service Council in the West Flemish city of Bruges have express concern about the planned placement of 300 asylum seekers in a facility near to the Zeebrugge container and ferry terminal.

They fear that the asylum seekers could fall prey to human traffickers. Meanwhile, the Federal Secretary of State responsible for Asylum and migration Theo Francken says that he understands their concerns, but at the same time asks the Mayor and the Chair of the Social Services Council to show understanding for the situation in which he currently finds himself.

The Mayor of Bruges Renaat Landuyt (socialist) and the Chair of the city’s Social Services Council Dirk De fauw (Christian democrat) both they that they don’t want to shy away from their responsibilities towards refugees. However, “accommodating asylum seekers in the immediate vicinity of the terminals of the Port of Bruges is dangerous”.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Croatia Opens Border to Thousands of Refugees as Temperatures Drop

Croatia opened its border with Serbia for migrants Monday, letting in thousands who have been stranded for nearly two days as colder weather approaches, according to a United Nations refugee agency official.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dresden Police Expect 10,000 for PEGIDA Rally, Counter-Demostration

Up to 10,000 people are expected to assemble Monday in the eastern German city of Dresden for a rally marking the first anniversary of the founding of the migrant-sceptic Pegida group, and for a counter-demonstration, a local police spokesperson said.

BERLIN (Sputnik) — The anniversary of the self-styled union of “patriotic Europeans,” which campaigns against the “Islamization of the West,” will take place amid a major migration crisis in Europe that has seen around 600,000 refugees arrive in the EU since the start of 2015.

“We expect a total attendance of no less than 10,000 people,” a police spokesperson told RIA Novosti.

The Pegida rally is scheduled for 18:30 p.m. (16:30 GMT) at its now established assembly point outside the Dresden opera house in the city center.

At the peak of its popularity last January the movement managed to draw crowds of 25,000 people in Dresden. Pegida protests are traditionally accompanied by rival demonstrations in support of immigration and tolerance.

More than 800,000 people expected to claim asylum in Germany by the end of this year. Most of migrants come from war-torn Syria.

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

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Calls on Arab Gulf States to Aid Refugees

German FM Steinmeier has called on Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia, to provide ‘humanitarian services for refugees.’ Steinmeier’s statement comes during a Mideast tour aimed at fostering a solution for the Syrian war.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Calais: The ‘New Jungle’ Photographed From the Sky

The New Jungle is France’s fastest growing “town” and these AFP aerial images capture the sheer size and scale of the sprawling refugee camp, that is now home to 6,000 people, most of whom are hoping to make it to the UK.

The New Jungle refugee camp in Calais is now home to around 6,000 migrants and refugees, who have made their way up to the northern French port town from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.

Humanitarian services say the camp is on the brink of collapse after a surge in numbers in recent weeks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France’s Migrant ‘Cemetery’ In Africa

Europe has been so transfixed by tragedies in the Mediterranean in recent years that a similar crisis in the Indian Ocean has gone almost unnoticed. It is caused by the magnetic attraction of the French island of Mayotte to the inhabitants of the neighbouring Comoros Islands.

Thousands of people have died on the journey to Mayotte from the other Comoros Islands — Anjouan, Moheli and Grande Comore — since Mayotte voted to remain part of France in 1975, and the other islands voted for independence.

It’s a carbon copy of the situation in the Mediterranean, where people make the crossing from North Africa or Turkey, in search of a better life — except that few in the West have paid the slightest attention to this crisis in the waters between Mozambique and Madagascar.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: ‘Khartoum-Upon-Seine’: Sudanese Refugees Take Shelter in Wealthy Paris Suburb

Since September, 123 Sudanese and Eritrean refugees have taken up residency at an emergency shelter in the affluent Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt — much to the ire of local elected officials and some members of the community.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany: Conflict Inside the CDU, Motion to Close Borders

Closure ‘should not be a taboo’

(ANSA) — BERLIN — An open conflict between some members of the party and German chancellor Angela Merkel is raging inside the CDU: a group of MPs submitted a motion urging Merkel to close borders in order to stem the influx of refugees. This news was reported by the Bild. The group, calling on the chancellor to change the country’s migration policy, is led by Christian von Stetten. In recent days, a letter written by 34 “rebels” who are against Merkel’s line, had collected more than 120 signatures within the party.

The closure of borders “should not be a taboo”, according to von Stetten.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany to Grow to 100 Million Residents by 2020?

Taking into account the growing influx of refugees and the recent statements about Afghans, Iraqis and West Africans who want to make their way to Germany as well, the country could soon have 100 million residents, journalist Marco Maier wrote in Contra Magazin.

The steady influx of migrants to Germany is leading to a significant population growth. Officially, there are about 82-83 million residents living in the country, but according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees there are at least 290,000 newcomers who are residing in Germany, but are not officially registered.

According to a confidential report by the German authorities, around 1.5 million people are expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the year, potentially increasing the number of newcomers to around 1.8 million people, Maier wrote.

However, if one assumes that at least a half of the migrants (80% of whom are men) would apply for the reunification with their families and 4 family members would join each applicant on average, the number of newcomers would increase to 4.7 million.

According to Maier, if the situation repeats next year again, there will be about 4.7 million people more, resulting in a total inflow of about 10 million migrants by the end of 2016.

Even if the flow of refugees would decrease in the following years, some of asylum seekers would be sent home and some of them would move to other EU countries, there is quite possible that the German population will still increase by 20 million people by 2020 and exceed 100 million people, Maier wrote.

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

German Interior Minister De Maiziere Condemns PEGIDA After ‘Horrifying’ Attacks

In an interview with the German public broadcaster ARD, de Maiziere claimed that the organizers of the PEGIDA group were ‘hard right-wing extremists.’ The group is preparing to hold another rally in Dresden.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Greek Coast Guard Rescues 2,561 Migrants Over the Weekend

Greece’s coast guard says it has rescued 2,561 people in dozens of incidents in the eastern Aegean over the weekend as Europe’s refugee crisis continues unabated.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Historic Win for Swiss Anti-Immigration, Anti-EU Party

Relations between Brussels and Bern can be expected to stay frosty after Switzerland’s anti-immigration party won Sunday’s (18 October) lower house elections.

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won 29.5 percent of the vote, up from 26.6 percent. It won 11 seats and will now occupy 65 of the National Council’s 200 seats.

According to Swiss media, never before proportional representation was introduced in 1919 has one single party been so strongly represented in the National Council.

The SVP campaigned with strong rules on migration, warning of “asylum chaos”, and a promise to keep Switzerland out of the European Union.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Thirty Tunisian Asylum Seekers Repatriated

Climbed roof in protest, to no avail

(ANSA) — Caltanissetta, October 19 — Thirty Tunisian asylum seekers who climbed onto a roof in protest after their claims were rejected have been repatriated, sources said Monday.

The rejected asylum seekers were hosted in an Identification and Expulsion Center (CIE) in the town of Pian del Lago in Caltanissetta province in Sicily.

Earlier today they climbed onto the roof of several buildings of the CIE, throwing stones and objects at staff and police in a bid to escape being forcibly taken back to Tunisia.

The protest simmered down after mediation by immigration staffers from the Caltanissetta police station. The 30 Tunisians climbed down and boarded a bus that took them to Palermo airport for their flight to Tunis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Ten Years Sought for Priest Suspected of Preying on Migrants

Allegedly extorted sex in exchange for residency permits

(ANSA) — Trapani, October 19 — Prosecutors on Monday requested a 10-year prison sentence for a priest they said extorted sex from asylum seekers.

Father Sergio Librizzi was arrested in June 2014 on aggravated sexual assault charges for abusing his position on an asylum claims committee in the Sicilian city of Trapani, where he was the former director of Catholic charity Caritas. Librizzi is also being investigated on separate charges in connection with the management of immigrant reception centers in the Trapani area.

Sicily is the first Italian landfall for refugees fleeing war and destitution in Africa and the Middle East across the Mediterranean, and Caritas is often on the front lines — along with the Red Cross and various government agencies — when they arrive.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Merkel Ignores Opinions of Other 27 EU Members — UKIP MP

Germany charts the course of the European Union’s foreign policy, ignoring the opinions of the 27 other nations of the bloc, a UKIP member of the European Parliament told Sputnik Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — Raymond Finch explained that other countries in the European Union have no say, highlighting that French President Francois Hollande is “no more than a deputy in charge of the French region.”

“The issue is that Angela Merkel is taking control of EU foreign policy, she is making decisions, as we have always said,” Raymond Finch said.

“Real power in the EU is Germany, and it is Angela Merkel. The fact is, if we are swapping the possibility of 3 million migrants in Turkey for the possibility of 70 million Turkish migrants, I would not think it is a very good deal by any circumstances,” Finch explained.

Last week, Brussels pledged up to $3.4 billion in aid, a simplified visa regime and accelerated EU accession for Turkey in exchange for holding back the flow of migrant from the Middle East into Europe. Merkel promised to support Ankara’s EU bid during a visit to Turkey over the weekend.

He also warned of the danger of Berlin getting more economic sway in Europe, which would be “dangerous for everybody, dangerous for the UK, dangerous for Europe, dangerous for Russia.”

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

Merkel’s Deal With Turkey Angers Left and Right

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan to offer cash and easier travel to Europe to Turkey in exchange for help managing the flow of refugees faced opposition before she had even arrived back in Berlin on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Migrant Crisis: Croatia Opens Serbia Border

Croatia has opened its border with Serbia, removing one of the bottlenecks for thousands of stranded migrants trying to make their way north.

About 3,000 people had been stuck in cold and wet weather in the Serbian border village of Berkasovo, after Croatia moved to curb new arrivals.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) had described conditions there as “dire”.

Many remain stranded near the Croatia-Slovenia border. The Balkan route has been squeezed by restrictions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Migrant Crisis: Tensions Rise as Balkan Path Blocked

Tensions are building among thousands of migrants heading north through Balkan states as their route to western Europe is stalled by new controls.

Many spent Sunday night in the cold and rain as Slovenia restricted the numbers it allows in from Croatia.

Restrictions on the flow have produced bottlenecks on Croatia’s borders with Slovenia and Serbia.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Netherlands: Threats Against Pro-Refugee Councillors Are Totally Unacceptable, Says PM

Making threats against councillors who support the establishment of refugee centres in their locality is ‘totally out of order’ and ‘unacceptable’, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. ‘You can get angry, but violence or threats are not on,’ Rutte said at his weekly press conference. ‘That is the boundary and it must never be crossed.’ Politicians in several parts of the country have been sent threats for backing refugee centres.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Number of Germans Unsatisfied With Government Rises 11% Amid Refugee Crisis

The number of Germans unsatisfied with their government’s actions on the EU refugee crisis has increased since August, the market research company YouGov said on Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The pollster observed in its weekly surveys of 2,000 people that in mid-October 69 percent of German respondents were unhappy with their government’s actions, compared to 58 percent of those polled in August.

Only one-fifth of respondents expressed satisfaction with their government’s performance in the most recent survey, while in August almost one-third of Germans declared themselves to be happy with their government’s work.

YouGov said the trend of continuously decreasing satisfaction with the government among Germans was at least partially linked to the EU refugee crisis, with other opinion polls on government support reportedly showing a similar pattern.

Rising anti-migrant sentiment in Germany comes amid a massive refugee crisis in Europe, with an estimated 1.5 million asylum seekers expected to arrive in the country this year.

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

Over 9,000 Seek Asylum in Sweden in One Week

Over 9,000 people have sought asylum in Sweden in the past week, with the current number for 2015 exceeding 95,000, Sweden’s Migration Agency said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — “In the past week the number of people who sought asylum was 9,179 and overall in the past months their number stood at 95,430 people,” the migration service told RIA Novosti, adding that as many as 33,000 people were from Syria.

According to the service’s July prediction, Sweden originally expected 66,000-80,000 refugees to seek asylum in 2015.

Some 710,000 people fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have crossed the European Union’s external borders in the first nine months of this year, according to border agency Frontex.

In September, the European Commission announced a quota scheme, providing for the resettlement of 160,000 refugees currently located in Greece, Italy and Hungary, throughout other European countries.

Earlier this month, Italy sent a first group of 19 refugees to be relocated in Europe to Sweden by plane.

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

Over 197,000 Migrants Enter Croatia in Escalation of Migrant Crisis

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Over 197,000 migrants have crossed into Croatia, primarily through its border with Serbia, since the recent escalation of the European migrant crisis, the Croatian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

“Arrival of migrants from the Republic of Serbia is still expected and 197,376 migrants have entered the Republic of Croatia since the beginning of migrant crisis,” the statement reads.

The ministry added that 196 migrants had entered the country between midnight and 9 p.m. (19:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Europe has been beset by an enormous refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing to Europe to escape violence and poverty in their home countries. Many refugees use Croatia as a transit route to enter the bloc before traveling to more prosperous Western EU states, where they prefer to apply for asylum.

Over 710,000 migrants arrived in the European Union during the first nine months of 2015, according to the EU border agency Frontex.

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

President Niinistö: Finland Needs to Prepare for Continued Stream of Asylum Seekers

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö discussed Finland’s response to the European migrant crisis during his appearance on Yle’s TV1 morning programme Saturday. He says he is a strong proponent of integration programmes, as asylum seekers need to learn to live according to Finnish values if they plan to stay.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Slovenia Can Only Accept as Many Migrants as Can Exit Into Austria

As the flow of migrants continued towards Germany, Slovenia said it can not accept thousands of migrants a day. That is likely to cause a further backlog in people trying to reach Germany.

As migrants remained stranded between EU member states Croatia and Slovenia, Slovenian police prevented them from crossing the border.

“We cannot accept an unlimited number of migrants if we know they can not continue their journey,” explained Slovenia’s State Secretary Bostjan Sefic. “In a very short time, in maybe ten days, we would have 35,000 migrants in Slovenia, which is unacceptable for us.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Umeå Opts to Keep Refugee Housing Whereabouts Secret

The municipality of Umeå, in northern Sweden, will be keeping secret where it plans to provide temporary housing for refugees, reports SVT Nyheter Västerbotten.

This decision has been made after a number of suspected arson attacks recently in Sweden, on facilities which were planned to accommodate refugees.

“Our focus now is a feeling of security, and safety. But I understand that it won’t be possible to keep this a secret forever. But we want the people getting these accomodations ready to be able to do so in peace,” social director Ewa Klingefors-Hedlund, told the station.

Umeå is preparing to receive 150 refugees at the moment.

Meanwhile, Halima, who has lived in housing for asylum seekers in Vänersborg, for nearly a year, is scared of fire there.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Refugee Homes Become ‘Secret’ After Fire Attacks

Plans to welcome 150 asylum seekers to the northern town of Umeå are being kept under the wraps after a series of suspected arson attacks on refugee centres across Sweden.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Hitler ‘Supporter’ Offers Sweden Refugee Homes

A man from northern Sweden who has praised Adolf Hitler on Facebook and participated in Nazi demonstrations has answered a call from Sweden’s Migration Agency for volunteers willing to offer accommodation to refugees.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Switzerland Shifts Right as Anti-Immigration Party Wins Elections

The growing fear of foreigners shaped the results of the Sunday elections in Switzerland in which the anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) emerged as a big winner gaining the support of 29.4 percent of the votes.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — The SVP managed to increase its representation in the local 200-seat National Council by winning an additional 11 seats thus securing a record 65 seats in the parliament.

The Social Democratic Party (SP) finished second with 18.8 percent of votes. The main rival of the SVP lost two seats, securing 44 representatives in the parliament.

The center-right Free Democratic Party (FDP) gained 3 seats securing a total of 33 lawmakers in the parliament after garnering 16.4 percent of the vote.


Georg Lutz, professor of political science at the University of Lausanne, told Sputnik that the SVP gains are attributed to “the rising figures in asylum [claims] in the last month and asylum policies in the whole Europe.”

“This strengthened the fear that we have too much immigration and our system politically and culturally could collapse because of too much immigration,” Lutz said Monday.

Berne University politics professor Klaus Armingeon explained to Sputnik that amid the current refugee crisis the SVP won more votes as people thought that closing Switzerland to foreigners, “who take advantage of Swiss social security schemes,” would ensure their personal security and save taxpayer money.

The experts note that after the elections not much will change.

“The SVP got additional 2.9% of votes— that is no landslide electoral victory that shifts the power relations inside the country and the strategies of external policy. There are still 70% of the electorate that supported other parties,” Armingeon explained.

Before the parliament elects a new seven-seat government on December 9, the country has a lot of important issues to decide upon in the next twelve months.

Lutz said that most urgently Switzerland has to follow up on the 2014 referendum in which 50.4 percent of the Swiss population voted to introduce quotas on migrants entering from the European Union.

“Now we have this situation with this initiative against mass immigration that has to be put in a law, but it is the government that will suggest a solution and I think it is rather a sign of the Swiss population that they want EU immigration more controlled,” Lutz said.

Swiss vote on introducing quotas for EU migrants to Switzerland sparked criticism in the European Union, and hurt the relations between Bern and Brussels, so that many Swiss parties campaigned on the issue. Green Party member Luc Recordon told Sputnik prior the elections that Switzerland needs to cancel the decision “to find a very smooth solution that the EU can accept.”

Armingeon stressed that even though the SVP will insist on enforcing quotas for EU migrants to Switzerland, “it cannot be implemented without provoking major damage for Swiss interests.”

Doris Fiala, from the FDP party told Sputnik before the elections that Switzerland has been politically split on whether to maintain bilateral deals with the European Union or restrict immigration by EU citizens into the country. Moreover, she pointed out that Switzerland might have to hold another referendum on the immigration issue.

“We are almost victims of our own success, and nobody could imagine that we would have 80,000 people per year entering Switzerland,” she said, stressing that Switzerland is a small country and net immigration of some 80,000 a year means a new town needs to be built every year to accommodate them.

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

Italy: Rome Vicar General Says Govt Civil Unions Bill Not Needed

Vallini says ‘family is a different thing’

(ANSA) — Rome, October 19 — Vicar General of Rome Agostino Vallini said Monday that he was against recognition of civil unions and argued that the government’s bill on this issue was unnecessary. “The family is a different thing,” said Vallini, the pope’s deputy in the Rome diocese. “The government will make its decisions, but the civil code sufficed”. Vallini added that one of the “delicate” aspects of the issue regarded the adoption of children. The bill would give same-sex couples many of the same rights and responsibilities as straight married couples, including the right for one spouse in a civil union to adopt the other spouse’s children.

On Sunday Nunzio Galantino, the secretary general of Italian Bishops Conference CEI, blasted the bill, saying it was the result of “cross-eyed policy”.

“It’s inconceivable that the government is spending so much energy for these special kinds of union and is putting in the corner traditional families, which should be a pillar of society,” Galantino said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Martian Astrobiologist

Mars has been a focus of astrobiology and exobiology research since the early days of NASA. Even before the invention of the telescope, Mars captured the imagination of scientists and philosophers who were interested in life’s potential beyond Earth.

With the Viking landers in the 1970s, Mars became the target of NASA’s first dedicated mission to search for life in our solar system. Ever since, further robotic missions have expanded our knowledge of Mars, revealing many sites on the surface that could hold evidence of past or present life.

Humans have yet to make the journey, but the desire to send teams of researchers to visit scientific sites on Mars has been a driving force for space exploration. The question of life on Mars is so compelling that artists, writers and some of humankind’s greatest thinkers have been exploring the possibility through fiction for centuries.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/19/2015

  1. The article on the Austrian army Imam is interesting for 2 points:

    “In Vienna, every fifth recruit is Muslim.”

    “Sijamhodzic came to Austria in 2004 as a teenager, fleeing the war in Bosnia with his family. ”

    So the war in Bosnia was still raging in 2004 ??? or is this another example of an economic migrants using taqiyya. um???

    • Every fifth recruit in the Austrian army is Muslim? Now that is a wise policy indeed.

      The West has become contemptible in every essential aspect of its functioning.

      • The Muslim recruits in the years leading up to the war when Tito was still around were known to “suddenly” just go off and shoot themselves one o’ them there Christians “comrades”. The big question was about what would happen when Tito died. (From a 1980’s WSJ article.). I imagine it will be far worse in becoming dumber than a rock Europe.

  2. China’s currency has been undervalued for a long time, has it not? U.S. leaders did not mind that significant advantage was handed to the Chinese respecting the location of factories in China as a result of tolerating China’s holding down the value of its currency.

    Those leaders also tolerated egregious Chinese demands for control of foreign enterprises and transfer of proprietary technology.

    Now they are our strategic competitors vastly strengthened by our “forbearance.”

    The idea of fair trade as a counter to “free” trade grows more attractive, if it ever wasn’t attractive.

    There seems to be no area of America’s existence that is not infested with some politician, businessman, or academic that salivates at the opportunity to give away any and all American advantages. It seems we MUST abase ourselves before every foreigner on the planet.

    Heck, forget fair trade. How about a patriotic leadership class?

Comments are closed.