Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/28/2015

Germany expects to send tens of thousands of migrants back to the Balkans, according to Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. He says that when their asylum applications are processed, any “refugees” who turn out to be economic migrants will be repatriated.

In other migration news, Austria is now planning to build a fence along its border with Slovenia in an attempt to control the flow of asylum seekers.

In other news, a Swedish news team that visited an alleged “no-go zone” in the culturally enriched Tensta suburb of Stockholm was attacked by “youths” who objected to any encroachment on their territory.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Insubria, JD, Nick, Takuan Seiyo, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» And Now Trucking is Suddenly Slowing Down
» ‘Bleeding’ UK Steel Industry on Verge of Collapse — Trade Group Leader
» Italy: Svimez Says 62% in South Earn 40% of Average, at Best
» Italy: Public Sector Debt Down, But 50 Bn More Must be Cut — BOI
» Italy: Mediobanca Quarterly Net Profit Up 53% to 244 Mn
» Italy: Bad Bank Decision in Weeks, Low Public Stake Says Visco
» US Fed Losing Control Over Banks Amid Abundance of Money Liquidity
» A Stamp for Disgraced Newsman Cronkite?
» Caroline Glick: AIPAC’s Devastating Decision
» City of Oakland Orders Church to Pay $3,500 Plus $500 Per Day to Continue to Worship God
» Held Ransom by Malicious Spyware? Just Pay Up, FBI Says
» Intern From French Embassy in NYC Goes on Anti-Semitic Rant
» Obama in Chicago: The Failure of Gun Control Here is Why We Need it Everywhere
» Spring Valley: Latest “Racist, Police Brutality” Story Changes With New Video…
» Swarm of California Earthquakes Continues a Series of Unusual Events That Began in Late September
» The Left’s War on Comment Sections
» US Agents Foiled Chinese Plot to Obtain F-35 Jet Engine, Reaper Drone
» US Air Force Orders More Laser-Guided Bombs for $76mln — Defense Contractor
» US CEO Retirement Funds Dwarf Employee Nest Eggs: Report
» US Retailers Under Fire Over Israeli, Arab Costumes
» Want Cash? Next-Gen ATMs Demand Biometric Verification: “Smartphone and Eye Scan to Dispense Money”
» Corporate Whistleblowers Could Fetch Rewards of Over $1.5 Mln From Canada
» Kathleen Wynne Has Secretly Paid Unions $3.74 Million Since 2008 to Cover So-Called Union Side Bargaining Costs, Without Requiring Receipts
Europe and the EU
» British Government Permanently Deleted Data That Would Have Exposed Notorious Elitist Pedophile Rings
» Denmark Treats Woman Fighting Against ISIL Same as Potential Extremists
» Dialogue With Islam Should Bring Respect, Freedom Says Pope
» Euro Chief Hints at Two-Speed Europe Deal Over Ever Closer Union
» Europe Needs Russia More Than US Does — Ex-Austrian Chancellor
» FSI Acquires 12.5% Saipem Stake From ENI
» Italy: Court Rejects Touil Extradition Over Bardo Massacre
» Italy: Visco Defends BOI Handling of Poor Bank Management
» Italy: Speculation Marino Set for Resignation U-Turn
» Italy: Professor Says WHO Meat Cancer Report ‘Political’ In Nature
» Milan ‘Moral Capital of Italy’, Says Cantone
» Norway Statoil Cuts Investments After Gloomy Third Quarter
» Podemos Leader Accuses Juncker of ‘Humiliating Europe’ Over Tax Scandal
» Polish Conservatives’ Win Boosts Eurosceptics Camp
» Pope Francis Names New Archbishops of Palermo, Bologna
» UK: Bromsgrove Paedophile Who Offered to ‘Share’ His Baby With Others is Spared Jail
» UK: Girls Banned From Sport at Islamist Infiltrated School, Teachers ‘Uncomfortable’ At Sight of Jiggling Breasts
» UK: Greer Ban at University ‘Is to Seem Fair to Muslims’: Vince Cable Warns Feminists and Right-Wingers Will be Censored to Prove Institutions Are Not ‘Anti-Islamic’
» UK: Tuberculosis Rates in Parts of London Are ‘Worse Than Rwanda and Iraq’ Due to Lack of Screening
» Varoufakis RAI Fee Sparks Furor
» Volkswagen 3Q Net Loss of $1.83 Billion on Scandal Charges
» Young Journalist Stoned While Making Video Report in Swedish ‘No-Go’ Area
» Serbia: Vucic: We’ll Buy Defensive Weapons From Russia
North Africa
» Lawless Libya: Western Governments Will be Forced to Look Back
» Moroccan Banks Grow in Africa But Egypt Still First
Middle East
» Assad Accuses France of Supporting ‘Terrorist’ Groups in Syria
» Clashes Erupt as Turkey Cracks Down on Opposition Media
» Michelle Obama to Visit Qatar, Jordan to Discuss Girls’ Education
» MSF to Demand Explanations From Saudi Coalition for Yemeni Hospital Bombing
» Over 1,000 Militants Arrived in Yemen to Join ISIL, Fight Againt Houthis
» Rights Activists Disappointed on Qatar Labour Reforms
» Russia Steps Up Airstrikes on Syria, 71 Hit 119 Targets
» Saudi-Led Operation Has Killed Over 1,000 Children in Yemen
» Turkish Police Storm Opposition Media Group
» US Ground Operations in Syria ‘Illegal’, May Lead to ‘Unpredictable’ Consequences
» Washington’s Syria “Strategy” In Complete Disarray as “Ally” Turkey Bombs US-Armed Rebels
» Four Countries Offer Russia to Use Barter System to Avoid Dollar
» Michele Placido: Putin Number One in Europe
» Russian Student May Face Up to Ten Years in Prison for Trying to Join ISIL
» Sarkozy to Meet Putin as French Right Looks to Russia
» Western Banking Elite Stepping in to Seize Ukrainian National Wealth
South Asia
» Afghan Asylum-Seeker Numbers ‘Unacceptable’: German Minister
» Pakistan Supreme Court Issues Blasphemy Warning
» Thailand: EU Pressure on Illegal Fishing Threatens More Than 8,000 Thai Fishing Boats
Far East
» Bargain Hunters Looking at Chinese Real Estate
» China’s Ethnic Problem, The Ticking Bomb That Could Destroy it
» Japan’s ‘Konbini’ Stores, Open and Stocked Round the Clock
Australia — Pacific
» Horrific Genetic Engineering of Animals Must Stop — Greens
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Alassane Ouattara Reelected President of Ivory Coast
Latin America
» Two Arrested After Richard and Grace Wheeler Found Dead in Tobago
» Austria to Build Slovenia Border Fence to ‘Control’ Migrant Flow
» Austrian Women Buying Up Guns as Migrant Rapists Invade Country
» Bavaria Blasts Austria Over Migrants, Demands Merkel Act
» EU Lacks Means to Curb Refugee Influx in 2016 — EU Parl’t Budget Committee
» Europeans Scramble for Guns Amid Islamic Immigrant Invasion: “Long Guns Sold Out”
» Ex Aussie PM Abbott Slams European Leaders: ‘Unlike You, We Now Control Our Borders’
» Former Australian PM Warns Allowing Illegals Into Europe a “Catastrophic Error”
» Germany Says Austrian Handling of Refugees ‘Out of Order’
» Germany to Send ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Migrants Back to Balkans
» Hundreds of Refugees in Germany “Mysteriously Disappear”; Local Authorities Clueless Where They Are
» Immigrant Emergency: Flexibility for Accounts of Countries That Spend to Shelter Refugees
» Italy: Asylum Seeker Detained for Attempted Rape
» London is the TB Capital of Europe Due to Mass Migration and Poverty
» Middle Class Becoming “Radicalized” In Backlash Against Migrant Influx, Warn German Security Experts
» Migrants: Influx Into Germany Continues
» Refugee Crisis Puts an End to Merkel’s Golden Era
» Sweden: Migrants Refuse Free Luxury Holiday Homes With Own Swimming Pool Because They’re Too Rural
» Thousands Demonstrate in Czech Republic Against Migrants
» UK: Illegal Immigrant Sex Attacker Dodges Deportation After Saying He’s a Syrian Refugee
Culture Wars
» Abortion Clinic That Killed Four Women in Botched Legal Abortions Closes Down
» High School Football Player Penalized for Pointing to Sky After Touchdown
» Slovenia Approves Same-Sex Marriage Referendum
» State Cover-Up of Gosnell’s Abortion Horrors Exposed in New Groundbreaking Documentary
» Video: Abortionist Says it Would be a “Great Idea” To Burn Unborn Babies as Fuel
» Video: Laughing Abortionists ‘Pull Out Baby Hearts After Abortion, Just for Fun. It’s Cute’
» Don’t Think the Status Quo Will Save You
» How Does Google Make You Stupid?

And Now Trucking is Suddenly Slowing Down

This comes at the totally wrong time. Trucking had been booming. 2014 had been a banner year. Capacity was squeezed, and rates were rising, so trucking companies went on a buying binge, ordering everything in the book in preparation for red-hot demand in 2015 and more banner years down the road. But then came 2015.

Among businesses, over-ordering and tepid sales caused inventories to rise and the inventory-to-sales ratio to spike to Financial Crisis proportions. And now businesses are trying to bring them down by trimming orders because they’re having trouble selling more to the middle class, the over-indebted modern proletariat whose stagnant incomes are being eaten up by skyrocketing costs of housing, healthcare, college, and the like — and they simply can’t spend that much on shippable items.

And now this is ricocheting through the industry.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Bleeding’ UK Steel Industry on Verge of Collapse — Trade Group Leader

The United Kingdom’s steel industry is on the verge of collapse if the UK government does not step in, the head of the industry lobby group said as quoted by local media.

LONDON (Sputnik) — Falling global steel prices forced a number of British steelmakers to shut down or lay off over 4,000 employees, or 15 percent of the sector’s workforce.

“We are bleeding very quickly and unless it’s stopped very soon we are likely to die,” UK Steel director Gareth Stace was quoted as saying by The Financial Times in an address to the parliamentary select committee on Tuesday.

Dozens of steelworkers are planning strikes outside Westminster in London on Wednesday, demanding Prime Minister David Cameron and his government to save the industry.

Tor Farquha, director of Tata Steel, which announced it would cut nearly 1,200 jobs at two of its plants last week, said his company faces “massive pressure” and did not rule out further redundancies.

UK Steel’s Stace called for ministers to implement a pledge made at an emergency summit this month and urged UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid to obtain EU approval on a compensation package on energy intensive industries.

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

Italy: Svimez Says 62% in South Earn 40% of Average, at Best

Association says nationwide poverty level more than doubled

(ANSA) — Rome, October 27 — Industrial development association Svimez said Tuesday that low earnings were generating poverty in southern Italy, where 62% of people earn 40% of the national average or less. “The south is increasingly poor,” the Svimez report said. It added that absolute poverty levels had more than doubled in Italy as a whole during the economic crisis. “Between 2005 and 2008 the number in absolute poverty in Italy did not reach two million, in the 2014-2014 period it was over four million,” it said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Public Sector Debt Down, But 50 Bn More Must be Cut — BOI

Some agencies may have used cash for more spending

(ANSA) — Rome, October 27 — The Bank of Italy said Tuesday that the State has managed to reduce the public sector’s debt related to late payments to private sector suppliers by 20 billion euros in the last two years. It added, however, that the State still needed to bring the debt down by 50 billion euros from the 70 billion registered at the end of 2014 to respect EU regulations. The central bank added that some public bodies “may have devoted part of the funds received from the economy ministry to finance new spending rather than reducing trade debts”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Mediobanca Quarterly Net Profit Up 53% to 244 Mn

Pirelli sale helped ‘best quarterly result in five years’

(ANSA) — Milan, October 28 — Mediobanca’s quarterly net profit increased 53% to 244 million euros in the third quarter of 2015, helped by a rise in net interest income and capital gains from the sale of a stake in Italian tyre maker Pirelli, the Italian investment bank said Wednesday. The increase is the best quarterly result for the past five years, Mediobanca said. Mediobanca’s retail banking unit CheBanca! earned a net profit of 2.2 million euros in the third quarter of 2015, the first time the unit has shown a profit since its launch in 2008, the bank said. The results represent a 27% growth in revenues and contrast last year’s reported net loss of 4.3 million euros.

Net interest income rose 13%, to 303 million euros, with particular growth in the retail and consumer banking division, which saw an increase in net interest income of 14%, to 226 million euros.

Total revenues fell by 3% to 507 million euros, due to weak fees and treasury income which was only partly offset by an increased contribution from Assicurazioni Generali, to 82.8 million euros from 55 million.

There was also a 1.3 million euro writedown involving the RCS MediaGroup investment being aligned to market prices.

Mediobanca CEO Alberto Nagel said he expects an improvement in net profit this year with respect to last year, but “the extent of the improvement is still to be determined”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bad Bank Decision in Weeks, Low Public Stake Says Visco

(ANSA) — Rome, October 28 — Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said Wednesday that a final decision on whether to set up a bad bank to relieve Italian lenders of a huge burden of non-performing loans will be made within weeks. He added that the Italian State will have a low stake in the bad bank or no stake at all.

Visco added Wednesday that Italy’s growth for 2015 may exceed expectations, with a GDP rise of up to 1%.

He added that the risk of losing money for Italian bank account holders with over 100,000 euros in their accounts remained “low” even with the European Union’s new bail-in regulations.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

US Fed Losing Control Over Banks Amid Abundance of Money Liquidity

Several years of the ultra-accommodative Fed policies and the recent series of protractions with the long-overdue hike in borrowing costs allowed the US banks to accumulate multi-trillion reserves as a safety net allowing them to boost the scope of speculative activity once the Fed raises rates.

Kristian Rouz — Within a few hours, the US Federal Reserve will announce the results of their October policy meeting, with most market participants expecting the US borrowing costs to be left unchanged at their current ultra-low 0-0.25% level.

Market pressure against the possible hike is rife, and the abundance of money liquidity and high profitability of speculative financial transactions are affecting the Fed’s control over the broader situation.

While low interest rates are seen as supporting economic growth nationwide, most monetary assets concentrate on Wall Street, including the excessive investment capital inflowing from overseas.

In turn, America’s largest financials, whose overseas were recently hit by the dollar’s strength, are attempting to make up for their losses capitalizing on the yet ultra-accommodative Fed policy. As the situation persists, it is getting increasingly harder for the Fed to liftoff rates.

By late October the Fed’s effective interest rate determining the borrowing costs in overnight interbank transactions has dropped to its lowest possible at about 0.05% to null. The current ceiling is 0.25%, and while the Fed is preparing the first hike in rates since 2006, their plans meet stiff opposition by the market’s rife demand for cheaper dollar liquidity.

The US Fed is losing control over the US banking sector as the inflow of dollars from overseas is undermining the US central bank’s role as a major provider of dollar liquidity to the market.

The massive influx of capital in the US in the recent two years has driven the market value of dollar-denominated assets and the greenback itself far above their multi-year averages. However, the abundance of cash benefits the US banks.

The US financials were recently accumulating cash reserves before the end of the financial reporting season, resulting in falling demand for fed-fund loans: the rate fell to 0.07% in late September and to 0.08% in late August, while this year’s average stands at about 0.13%. Last month, a single fed-fund loan transaction was reported at the rate of 0.02%.

What if the Fed hiked interest rates today?

The main challenge is the possible loss of control over the money market. A central bank is traditionally seen as the largest source of monetary liquidity provided to banks by default. However, amidst the robust influx of dollars from abroad, the role of the US Fed would be diminished in this regard.

Now, if the central bank rates’ policy does not affect the money market significantly enough, it eventually loses its ability to regulate the broader economy, and the situation starts to unravel in an unpredictable direction.

The second implication is that, should the US Fed hike rates today, such a move would not affect the major banks straight away — the US financials have accumulated significant reserves (about $2.5 trln) allowing them to abstain from massive borrowing from the Fed for at least two or three months.

However, the major banks would immediately hike their interest rates for their own borrowers, thus increasing their lending profitability while also saving a lot of cash.

The huge amount of money liquidity ‘disentangled’ as a result of this double-win combination of factors would be invested in riskier open-market financial operations, likely speculative, thus contributing to a massive overheat of the market, possibly causing bubbles in the hottest sectors.

Short-term interest rate on US debt securities are also under pressure: most banks are hedging their risks by buying into safe-haven assets. In October, the US government issued tree-month bonds at a zero yield amidst the rife demand, first time since 1998.

As both domestic and international demand from safe havens is projected to remain strong, US bond yields might even move into the negative territory, in a similar fashion to select European debt.

At this point, the Fed policy efficiency regulating money reserves available in the markets is decreasing, and it will take some time adjusting the fed-funds’ rate methodology before an actual rise in borrowing costs.

The excessive liquidity may be removed from the market via the indirect government investment scheme, where the federal government increases spending to spur the economy while issuing bonds at an attractive yield, tricking the banks into investing their cash reserves. The Fed then may move rates with more confidence, amidst the tighter control over the money markets.

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

A Stamp for Disgraced Newsman Cronkite?

An advocate of world government and a stooge of Soviet propaganda operations

Before Dan Rather disgraced himself as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, there was Walter Cronkite, who paved the way for a communist takeover of South Vietnam and openly despised and attacked President Ronald Reagan’s peace-through-strength policies. Cronkite, who became an advocate of world government and a stooge of Soviet propaganda operations, is now the subject of a campaign to put his likeness on an official U.S. postage stamp.

The terrible truth about Walter Cronkite, as we noted in 2009 after his passing, is that he “symbolized liberal media bias and used that bias with disastrous consequences for our nation and the world.”

This wasn’t just our opinion. The 1974 book by Dr. Ernest W. LeFever, TV and National Defense, examined in meticulous detail how CBS News programs under Cronkite “were frequently critical of U.S. policy,” usually from a perspective that “implied or called for a lesser military commitment and lower defense expenditures.”…

The push for a Cronkite stamp comes at a time when Robert Redford is playing Cronkite’s successor, Dan Rather, in a movie ironically titled “Truth” and based on a lie. Rather used forged documents to smear Republican President George W. Bush’s military service.

The proposed stamp seems to be a case of the old media longing for the days when a figure like Cronkite, once known as “the most trusted man in America,” could manipulate the public and affect national policy with little, if any, dissent.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Caroline Glick: AIPAC’s Devastating Decision

Democratic Senator Chris Coons from Delaware betrayed his backers and his voters when at the end of the summer, as the Senate returned from recess, he announced that he was supporting President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Coons announced his decision in an address at the University of Delaware. There Coons acknowledged that the deal was terrible for America. He detailed all the ways the deal harms US national security and places US allies, including Israel at grave risk.

“Frankly, this is not the agreement I hoped for,” Coons began…

           — Hat tip: Caroline Glick [Return to headlines]

City of Oakland Orders Church to Pay $3,500 Plus $500 Per Day to Continue to Worship God

(NaturalNews) In what is yet another sign of government’s war on Christianity, a Baptist church in Oakland, California, has been threatened by city officials to tone down its choir practice or face heavy fines for being a noise “nuisance.”

As reported by CBS San Francisco, lovers of Gospel music think of it as “joyful noise” and acknowledge that it’s anything but quiet.

“The music of the church reveals the life of the church, the enthusiasm of the church,” Michael Wright, pastor at Solid Rock Baptist Church, told the local affiliate.

Oakland officials are seeing it differently, however.

CBS San Francisco states:

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in West Oakland recently received a letter from the city threatening a $3,500 nuisance fee and a $500 a day fine unless it toned down its choir practice.

The letter states in part, “…this activity may constitute a public nuisance due to its impact to the use and quiet enjoyment of the surrounding community’s property.”

In other words, the First Amendment rights of Pleasant Grove must be trampled on in order to ensure that others who live nearby are guaranteed a right that is not listed in the Constitution: a right to “quiet.”

“Kind of hard to believe because we’ve been here about 65 years in the community and all of a sudden we get some concerns about the noise,” Thomas A Harris III, the pastor at Pleasant Grove, told the local affiliate.

Priced out of their own neighborhood What’s really behind the complaints? Church pastors who met recently believe that the biggest culprit is gentrification; the church sits amidst a neighborhood filled with old Victorian homes. These properties are being bought up by affluent technology sector workers (who also tend to be liberal, intolerant and, yes, racist; just the opposite of what they preach, so to speak).

“We’re being bought out. We’re being moved out. We are being priced out of our own neighborhood,” Lawrence Van Hook, the senior pastor at Community Church, told CBS San Francisco.

The pastors believe the complaints are coming from all the new tech residents.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Held Ransom by Malicious Spyware? Just Pay Up, FBI Says

There is a particularly devious type of malicious software that locks users out of their own computer systems until an individual agrees to pay a ransom to the hackers. In these cases, the FBI has surprisingly suggested just ponying up the dough.

It’s not the type of advice one would typically expected from the FBI, but that’s exactly what was recommended by Joseph Bonavolonta, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s CYBER and Counterintelligence Program Boston office.

“The ransomware is that good,” said Bonavolonta at the 2015 Cyber Security Summit in Boston, as quoted by Security Ledger. “To be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Intern From French Embassy in NYC Goes on Anti-Semitic Rant

A Kuwaiti student doing an internship at the cultural department of the French Embassy in New York was dismissed after saying outrageously anti-Semitic comments, French weekly L’Express reported.

The Internet group Inglorious Bastards that identifies and combats anti-Semitism online found the words of Amira Jumaa, a young Kuwaiti doing an internship in New York, offensive.

“You’re [the Jews] in your place anywhere in the world — that’s why you’re dirt, rats and are discriminated against wherever you’re,” the intern of the French Embassy’s cultural department wrote on her Facebook page.

When the Inglorious Bastards confronted the young Kuwaiti she started arguing back, trying to further prove her anti-Semitic point of view.

“First of all, you species of rats, I’m not an immigrant from France. I’m from Kuwait and my country can buy you and your parents, and put you all in the ovens,” Jumaa told the Inglorious Bastards, as cited by L’Express.

The anti-Semitic group promptly contacted the authorities of the French Embassy in New York and told her about their young intern and her hate comments online.

The Embassy started an investigation of the incident and soon the anti-Semitic Kuwaiti intern was dismissed from the French Embassy.

“This intern will be immediately removed from the cultural service,” said Gerard Araud, the French Ambassador to the United States, on his Twitter account.

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

Obama in Chicago: The Failure of Gun Control Here is Why We Need it Everywhere

When a liberal policy fails — and of course they always do — liberals don’t step back and examine the policy, observing objectively, “Well, that didn’t work. It must not have been a good idea.” You’ve seen this routine many times before. Spending that money didn’t solve the problem? Well then we didn’t spend enouth! Raising taxes didn’t work out the way they hoped? They need to raise them even more! A liberal idea only fails in the mind of a liberal to the extent that it must not have been taken far enough. So is it a tricky proposition for President Obama to push for gun control during an appearance in Chicago, knowing full well that Chicago already has the strictest gun control laws in the country and also has out-of-control gun crime? Not at all! He simply applies the principle that the only remedy for failed liberalism is more of the liberalism that failed:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spring Valley: Latest “Racist, Police Brutality” Story Changes With New Video…

It’s verse-chorus-verse in Spring Valley, where we again see a 15-second video (or get 10% of a story on Twitter) and the social media lynch mob can’t wait 30 seconds before any facts come in.

So to begin with, here was the 15 second, out of context video that sent Twitter into full mob-mode. If you scroll down, you’ll see the longer videos below.

Allow me to present a brief timeline of what we have so far.

1.) Girl is disruptive in class. Teacher asks her to stop. Girl refuses.

2.) Teacher asks girl to leaves class. Girl refuses.

3.) Teacher calls down to the office, again asking girl to leave. Girl refuses.

4.) Office sends up “officer” who again asks girl to come with him. Girl refuses.

5.) Officer then tells girl that she needs to leave, or she will be forcefully removed. Girl refuses.

6.) Officer grabs girl to remove her from desk. She punches the officer and attempts to kick free, flipping her own desk.

7.) Officer drags her from the desk repeatedly asking her to put her hands behind her back. She continually refuses.

Twitter condemns him guilty of racist hate-crime. This is America.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Swarm of California Earthquakes Continues a Series of Unusual Events That Began in Late September

First it was wildfires, then it was unprecedented flooding, and now it is earthquakes.

In the past two weeks alone, more than 400 earthquakes have shaken San Ramon — a small city that sits approximately 45 miles east of San Francisco. Never before have so many earthquakes been recorded in that area in such a short span of time. Standing alone, that earthquake swarm may not mean that much. But when you stand back and look at all of the unusual events that have been happening since late September, a very disturbing picture begins to emerge.

But first, let’s talk about this earthquake swarm. All over the planet, seismic activity seems to be increasing. According to Volcano Discovery, dozens of volcanoes around the world have recently erupted, and Afghanistan was just hit by a massive 7.5-magnitude quake. It was one of the worst earthquakes that Afghanistan has ever seen, and it is going to take months to deal with all of the damage. So that is why it is so alarming that right now there is record breaking earthquake activity just outside of San Francisco…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Left’s War on Comment Sections

The internet was born open but is becoming closed everywhere. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rush to shutter readers’ comments sections at major news organisations. Cheered on by intolerant, snobbish cultural elites, news organisations from The Verge to The Daily Beast have, in recent months, informed their readers to take their opinions elsewhere.

Dozens of progressive blogs and news outlets are following suit, citing “abuse” and “harassment” as the primary reasons they no longer want to hear the opinions of their readers. But that’s not what is really going on.

There was a time when comments sections were seen as the next step in a golden age of democratised communication, particularly by the political Left. “For the first time ever, we are thinking aloud, unfiltered by mass media gatekeepers,” wrote a former Hillary Clinton advisor in 2008. “Never before has the global discourse been so accessible, recursive, and durable.”

In 2009, the former online editor for the Washington Post wrote that despite their problems, readers’ comments allowed readers to “complain about what they see as unfairness or inaccuracy” and remind editors that they “do not always agree with journalists about what is important.”…

But the era of Silicon Valley-led optimism is over, at least for the journalists and publications that once eagerly reported on it. Today, the tone is misanthropic, not utopian, and the Crowd — at least as it appears in the comment boxes — is portrayed not as saviour, but as a sort of barbarous horde at the gates of politically-correct progressive society.

“Vibrant online communities? Or cesspits of abuse?” asked the BBC in a recent feature on the closure of comments sections. “Alongside shouting, swearing and incivility, comments sections can also attract racism and sexism,” the article continued.

This refrain can be found in almost every left-leaning publication these days.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Agents Foiled Chinese Plot to Obtain F-35 Jet Engine, Reaper Drone

A Chinese arms dealer and a Chinese-American businesswoman tried to acquire illegally an F-35 fighter jet engine and an MQ-9 Reaper drone for the Beijing government, US media reports said on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) foiled the plan and also prevented the two Chinese partners from trying to acquire engines used in other US fighter jets, according to US federal court documents opened last week quoted in a report by Defense News.

The court documents allege that AFM Microelectronics Corporation Vice President Wenxia “Wency” Man, based in San Diego, and Xinsheng Zhang, described in the documents as an official arms dealer for the Beijing government, tried to buy and then export the engines to China.

They targeted the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle and the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine used on the F-35 stealth fighter.

Moreover, the two Chinese partners also sought to acquire the P&W F119 engine used on the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, and the General Electric F110 engine used on the F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, Defense News said.

“The items are restricted for export under US International Traffic in Arms Regulations. China has been on the list since1990. The undercover operation was begun in 2011, according to documents,” the report stated.

Man was quoted in the documents as referring to Zhang as a “technology spy that procures information from Russia and other places so that China can obtain sophisticated technology without having to conduct its own research,” Defense News explained.

Man and Zhang allegedly planned to transport the engines to China through Hong Kong, Israel or South Korea, it added.

The report also noted that Zhang remains free, is regarded as a “fugitive” by US investigators, but is believed to be back in China.

US-China tensions have risen this week following Washington dispatching a destroyer, the USS Lassen, to the 12-mile limit of an artificial island in the Spratly’s chain controlled by Beijing in the South China Sea.

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

US Air Force Orders More Laser-Guided Bombs for $76mln — Defense Contractor

The US Air Force has ordered $76 million additional Paveway II Plus Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) kits, Lockheed Martin announced in a press release issued on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Lockheed Martin, the release explained, has delivered more than 140,000 training rounds, more than 70,000 Paveway II LGB kits and about 7,000 dual-mode systems to the US Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and 20 international customers.

“The contract represents the majority share of fiscal year 2015 funding, as well as 100 percent of available funding for Foreign Military Sales,” the release said. “Deliveries will begin in the second quarter of 2016 and include the guidance and tail assemblies for GBU-10 and GBU-12 LGBs.”

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company engaged in the design, manufacture and sustainment of advanced technology systems, according to its website.

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

US CEO Retirement Funds Dwarf Employee Nest Eggs: Report

The wide US income gap lives on after retirement as chief executives’ retirement assets dwarf the nest eggs of ordinary workers, according to a study released Wednesday.

The 100 largest company-sponsored CEO retirement assets are worth $4.9 billion, said the joint report by the Center for Effective Government and the Institute for Policy Studies.

That amount is equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American families — about 50 million families or 116 million Americans, the report said…

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

US Retailers Under Fire Over Israeli, Arab Costumes

US retail giant Wal-Mart has withdrawn from sale an Israeli soldier’s costume for children and a fake “Arab” nose ahead of Halloween, after an outcry from civil liberties groups that the outfits are offensive and racist.

But the costumes were still being advertised Wednesday by other retailers, including Amazon and eBay, leading Arab and Muslim groups in America to demand their immediate withdrawal.

Renewed violence in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed at least 60 Palestinians, nine Israelis and one Arab-Israeli in the last three weeks…

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

Want Cash? Next-Gen ATMs Demand Biometric Verification: “Smartphone and Eye Scan to Dispense Money”

While cash will still be around for now, it is about to become more tightly controlled than ever before. Most banks are now limiting withdraws and flagging customers with large cash requests as suspicious to law enforcement or federal agencies.

Meanwhile, he next generation of ATMs — while still spitting out bills — will focus more on technological verification of patrons, and even biometric verification.

With growing concerns over digital security and authentication, privacy is all but dead.

NBC News reports on the surprising changes that could be fast approaching the cash machine you frequent around the corner or down the street:

“No card reader, no PIN pad, no touch-screen display — how you bank at your ATM could drastically change in the not-so-distant future. Citigroup is testing an automated teller machine made by Canton, Ohio-based Diebold that relies on your smartphone and perhaps an eye scan to dispense your cash.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Corporate Whistleblowers Could Fetch Rewards of Over $1.5 Mln From Canada

Canadian whistleblowers could receive awards of over $1.5 million according to a formal policy unveiled by the Ontario Securities Commission to encourage those in the know to ferret out corporate wrongdoing.

Initially, the regulator capped the award at $1.5 million. However Tom Atkinson, the OSC’s director of enforcement, said Monday that it could be larger in some cases.

He said the rules will be known after the formal policy is unveiled.

But he hinted that qualifying for the higher amount would likely depend on the collection of sanctions or settlement payment, rather than simply the assessment of money due, Financial Post reported.

The initial proposal stated that a whistleblower could receive up to 15 percent of monetary sanctions or settlement payments of over $1 million, but capped at $1.5 million.

During subsequent discussions, some market participants insisted that awards for whistleblowers should not be capped and should be paid even if sanctions or settlement payments do not exceed $1 million.

In their turn, some companies and market participants argued that the initiative would undermine companies’ internal reporting. They also argued that employees could delay reporting or encourage more wrongdoing to be awarded with higher financial awards.

The OSC whistleblower program is going to be the first of its kind introduced a Canadian regulator.

The formal policy will be unveiled on Wednesday. It is expected to be open for public discussion, with the OSC planning to launch it by next spring.

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

Kathleen Wynne Has Secretly Paid Unions $3.74 Million Since 2008 to Cover So-Called Union Side Bargaining Costs, Without Requiring Receipts

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is requesting the Auditor General conduct a review of the $3.74 million the Ontario government has paid four public sector unions. Those unions include the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECT), the Ontario French teachers union (AEFO), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The payments were purportedly to cover union-side bargaining costs, including hotel rooms and pizza. However, Education Minister Liz Sandals admitted that there are no itemized accounts of what this $3.74 million in taxpayer money paid for, and that she never obtained receipts or invoices. The unions have not released their bargaining costs.

“This secret payment of millions of dollars to cover undisclosed union-side bargaining costs is an outrageous abuse of public trust,” said CTF Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn. “Unions collect dues for the purpose of paying for collective bargaining. By paying for the union’s bargaining costs, the Premier and Minister Sandals are removing any financial consequences the union might bear for throwing up roadblocks or digging their heels in.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

British Government Permanently Deleted Data That Would Have Exposed Notorious Elitist Pedophile Rings

It’s already being called one of the biggest cover-ups in the history of British officialdom.

As reported by the UK’s Telegraph, a database containing the accounts of victims of alleged child sex abuse who submitted their testimony through a government website has crashed due to what’s been described as a technical blunder that erased everything.

The paper said that, following a change in the web address of the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), admissions submitted via an online form between September 14 and October 2 were “instantly and permanently deleted” before ever reaching staff.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Denmark Treats Woman Fighting Against ISIL Same as Potential Extremists

After passing the new “foreign fighter” law that aims to deter Danish citizens from joining terrorist organizations overseas, Denmark is starting to see the fruits of its labor. However, some decisions of the Danish government might have been a little too much.

Danish Parliament’s Naturalization Committee denied citizenship to a Danish-born Middle Eastern man suspected of having ties with an Islamic terrorist group, the Local reported.

According to the source, the Naturalization Committee decided to take a careful look at Belal El-Khatib’s citizenship application after it was discovered that the man was in support of establishing Islamic law in Denmark.

“Belal El-Khatib shouldn’t receive citizenship because he is an Islamist. And someone who wants to turn the Danish democracy into a caliphate shouldn’t have citizenship in Denmark,” the Committee’s Chairman Christian Langballe said, according to Ritzau news agency.

The 25-year-old man was born in Denmark to Palestinian parents, but applied for Danish citizenship only in 2013.

When El-Khatib found out that his citizenship application was denied, he slammed the Naturalization Committee and accused Denmark of being undemocratic.

“I haven’t done anything illegal. I contribute to society in many ways, but because one doesn’t have the exact same outlook on life and values as certain politicians, it becomes a hindrance. It reminds me of a dictatorship,” El-Khatib said, as cited by the Local.

Losing Passport for Fighting Against ISIL

If in El-Khatib’s case one could argue that the Danish Naturalization Committee’s decision might have been justified, the case of Joanna Palani, a 22-year-old Danish-Kurdish woman who fought against ISIL and ended up losing her citizenship, raised a few eyebrows.

Palani, a Danish citizen of Kurdish descent, travelled to Iraq to fight against ISIL alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. However, when she returned to Europe, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service took her passport away and forbade her from leaving Denmark.

The issue is controversial because Western countries, including Denmark, actually support Peshmerga militia groups.

“How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against the Islamic State?” — Palani wrote on her Facebook account after losing her passport.

The young woman fell under the same law that denied Danish citizenship to El-Khatib. Passed in March, the law seeks to confiscate the passports of Danish citizens suspected of fighting overseas.

Palani is now planning to challenge the decision in court hoping to get her passport back.

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

Dialogue With Islam Should Bring Respect, Freedom Says Pope

Francis says relations must be open to be fruitful

(ANSA) — Vatican City, October 28 — Pope Francis said Wednesday that dialogue between Christians and Muslims should lead to respect for life and freedom. “The dialogue that we need cannot fail to be open and respectful and then be fruitful,” the pope said during an inter-religious gathering. “Reciprocal respect is the condition, and at the same time it is the aim, of inter-religious dialogue — respect of others’ right to life, to physical health, to fundamental freedoms i.e. freedom of conscience, of thought, of expression and of religion”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Euro Chief Hints at Two-Speed Europe Deal Over Ever Closer Union

One of Europe’s top chiefs has said the EU would be prepared to cut red tape and hand back more powers to member governments and has hinted that the key principle of “ever closer union” is negotiable — a central plank of the union’s treaties.

The First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans has given a major hint that a central aspect of the European Union — “ever closer union” first set out in the Treaty of Rome in 1957 — is open to negotiation by all members.

It comes as UK Prime Minister David Cameron is finalizing his wish list for reforms of the EU and the UK’s membership, ahead of an In/Out referendum which could see Britain leave the EU.

He is Wednesday visiting Iceland for a meeting with North European leaders where he will deny the UK could take the ‘Norwegian option’ and live outside the EU.

He is due to tell Euroskeptics that — despite being outside the EU — Norway is still subject to a lot of Brussels bureaucracy.

In the preamble to the Treaty of Rome, which created the EEC, and became the EU, the signatories declared themselves: “determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.”

However, Cameron — who is fighting for a renegotiation of the UK’s membership in an effort to keep Britain inside the EU — told his party’s annual conference this year: “Britain is not interested in ‘ever closer union’ and I will put that right.”

‘No Strong Views’

Timmermans said the European Commission has no “strong views” on ever closer union.

He told BBC’s Today radio program:

“A number of the member states have very strong views. If you look at Germany, they feel very strongly about this — not because they want Europe to create more government at European level — but because they say ‘because we are part of the EU, the peoples of Europe come closer together and will no longer feel inclined to go to war with each other’ so it’s got a deeper philosophical meaning in Germany than just about creating ever more government at the European level.”

Asked whether the European Commission officially drops the principle of ‘ever closer union’, Timmermans said:

“…there is nobody who will tell you that you are forced into integration with other European countries. Fair enough, if you want that.

“It doesn’t mean that you have to sign up to ever closer integration at a political level. It doesn’t mean that. But if you think it means that and you want that to be clarified, I am sure other member states would like to help clarify that. I really don’t see a problem there,” he said.

His comments will be read as a first sign that the Commission is open to Britain — and any other member states — are open to wiggle-room of European integration, which will be succour to Cameron’s attempts at negotiating a new relationship with his European neighbours.

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

Europe Needs Russia More Than US Does — Ex-Austrian Chancellor

The refugee crisis and the need to resolve the ongoing Syrian conflict might help open a new chapter in the relations between Russia and Europe, former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer asserted.

Leaving aside cooperation with the US, “Europe has its own interests, especially in the security field. And due to those interests, Europe has a stronger need to cooperate with Russia than maybe the US does,” Gusenbauer told RT.

The Austrian politician acknowledged that European leaders currently appear to be readjusting their foreign policy in favor of closer ties with Moscow as evidenced by a recent remark made by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“We must make efforts towards a practical relationship with Russia. It is not sexy but that must be the case, we can’t go on like this,” Junker said in early October. “Russia must be treated decently. … We can’t let our relationship with Russia be dictated by Washington.”

This shift in perception became possible when European leaders understood that Europe can no longer disassociate itself from the challenges it faces mistakenly believing that they will not affect it. The bloody civil war in Syria is one such challenge, the Austrian politician noted.

European leaders finally understand that they have to be involved in resolving the Syrian conflict. They also need to discuss the refugee issue with Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey since these are the countries that “bear the burden” for hosting those who flee the violence.

“There are limits to the capacity of Europe to absorb refugees, to host them properly and to integrate them,” he noted.

Gusenbauer added that he remained optimistic that the international community would reach a level of cooperation needed to tackle Islamic State, which is responsible for what is happening in Syria.

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

FSI Acquires 12.5% Saipem Stake From ENI

Saipem board announces 3.5 bn capital increase

(ANSA) — London, October 28 — The Italian Strategic Fund (FSI) will buy 12.5% of Eni’s stake in oil services company Saipem, said FSI’s controlling bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) in a statement on Wednesday.

The agreed stock price must not be less than 7.40 euros or more than 8.83 euros per share, it said.

Saipem’s board of directors announced a capital increase of 3.5 billion euros as part of its new strategic plan.

The operation is scheduled to be completed during the first semester of 2016.

ENI and FSI committed to subscribe, on a pro-rata basis, their shares from the capital increase, with the remainder to be subscribed by a consortium of banks.

Following the announcement, Saipem’s stock price was up 12% in early trading Wednesday, to nine euros a share.

ENI’s stock remained relatively stable, up 1%.

Saipem said it predicts earnings before tax and interest (EBIT) in 2016 of over 600 million euros, with debt decreasing to less than 1.5 billion euros.

It predicts revenues of more than 11 billion euros in 2016.

Saipem President Paolo Andrea Colombo, in a presentation of the company’s new strategic plan to analysts in London on Wednesday, said the sale “strengthens Saipem’s independence from ENI” and that he will chair the “new corporate governance committee that aims to constantly monitor and improve Saipem’s corporate governance”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Court Rejects Touil Extradition Over Bardo Massacre

Judges order Moroccan be released from jail

(ANSA) — Milan, October 28 — A Milan court on Wednesday rejected Tunisia’s request for the extradition of Mayid Touil, a Moroccan national suspected by Tunis of involvement in the Bardo Museum massacre. The Milan appeals court judges ordered the man be released from jail.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Visco Defends BOI Handling of Poor Bank Management

Governor says has total faith in judiciary

(ANSA) — Rome, October 28 — Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco on Wednesday defended the central bank’s handling of poor management at some troubled Italian banks. The governor, who is under investigation over the central bank’s role in last year’s takeover of Banca Popolare di Spoleto (BPS) by Banca Desio, also stressed that he had total faith in the judiciary. “In recent years serious episodes of bad management have emerged,” Visco said.

“We took action to combat situations of serious difficulty with vigilance work”. He added that while he had respect for the judiciary, the central bank had acted in a “legitimate, correct” way. He said the Bank of Italy’s actions would be defended “in the appropriate places, without media shortcuts”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Speculation Marino Set for Resignation U-Turn

Mayor has until November 2 to reconsider his resignation

(ANSA) — Rome, October 28 — Rome city executive met on Wednesday amid speculation that outgoing Mayor Ignazio Marino might withdraw his resignation. “Today we have a very, very important executive meeting, full of decisions,” Marino said on arriving at the Campidoglio.

Deputy council speaker Gemma Azuni of the left-wing Left Ecology and Freedom (SEL) party said she thought Marino would “do well” to withdraw his resignation in order to seek the council’s opinion. “It’s not possible to leave like that, without having involved the assembly in the slightest. The majority is made up of three groups that have never been heard. It is a question of institutional correctness,” Azuni said.

Marino tendered his resignation earlier this month under pressure from his own Democratic Party (PD) in the wake of allegations concerning his hospitality expenses. However he has until November 2 to reconsider, at which point his resignation will become effective.

The leader of the Democratic Party (PD) in Rome, Matteo Orfini, spoke up Wednesday in support of his PD colleague Fabrizio Barca, who had expressed concern over the party’s progress in the capital in light of the resignation of Rome’s outgoing PD Mayor Ignazio Marino.

“Fabrizio, the process of renewal and rebuilding Rome’s PD won’t stop because of manipulative opportunists. In these months we’ve fought a lot together and together we’ll continue to change Rome’s PD,” Orfini wrote on his Facebook page, attaching an interview Barca conducted with Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano that was republished on PD’s website.

In that interview, Barca said, “Marino’s resignation has hit us at the most difficult point, halfway, before the rebuilding (of the party). I’m very concerned that the process of change will stop and go backwards”.

Referring to Marino, Barca said, “You can’t say in public, ‘I’ll give the money back.’ A poor man who steals three kilos of pears in the market, can he give them back as if nothing happened? Too many mistakes, in the end he (Marino) was no longer defensible”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Professor Says WHO Meat Cancer Report ‘Political’ In Nature

Says nothing in red meat has been found to cause cancer

(ANSA) — Rome, October 28 — A toxicology professor on Wednesday said that no substances in red meat have been found to cause cancer, in response to the World Health Organization report released Monday that said processed and red meat can increase the risk for certain types of cancer.

“Consumers should rest assured. The World Health Organisation report is directed at political and technical bodies so that they’ll reflect on breeding farms, on how to feed and grow livestock,” said Luciano Caprino, professor emeritus of toxicology and pharmacology at Rome’s La Sapienza University.

“WHO’s scientific communication is directed at politicians and those who conduct meat inspections, not at citizens. We still don’t know, in fact, the causes of cancer, but only some substances that foster its occurrence,” Caprino said.

Caprino said that in order to classify red meat as carcinogenic, the problem to examine is whether or not an external substance has been added to the meat or to something the animal ate, and noted that breeding criteria in Italy differ from those in the United States or Great Britain.

To determine the cancer risk in processed and cured meats, the methods of preserving, curing and smoking, and the toxicity of the substances used would have to be established with precision, he said.

“At the moment the only proven thing is that burnt meat, that which is black on the outside, can be harmful because carcinogenic substances form there,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Milan ‘Moral Capital of Italy’, Says Cantone

‘Rome doesn’t have the antibodies,’ anti-corruption chief

(ANSA) — Milan, October 28 — Milan has taken back the role of moral capital of Italy, the president of the national anti-corruption authority Raffaele Cantone said Wednesday. By comparison “Rome is showing that it doesn’t have the antibodies it needs and which we all hope it might have”, Cantone said.

The former anti-mafia magistrate added that the Expo organisational model cannot be easily exported without the “deep institutional synergy” that characterised it. “We are trying to export it to Rome, but in Rome this is what’s missing,” he said.

Cantone is overseeing anti-corruption efforts in Rome in view of the upcoming Jubilee of Mercy which opens on December 8.

He agency was called in to help with preparations for Expo in 2014 following a corruption scandal involving contracts for the world’s fair.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Norway Statoil Cuts Investments After Gloomy Third Quarter

Norwegian oil giant Statoil on Wednesday again slashed its investment forecast for this year as dropping oil prices and writedowns led to weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings.

The group reported a net loss of 2.8 billion kroner (299 million euros, $329.1 million) during the quarter, which was an improvement on the 4.8-billion-kroner loss it registered in the same period a year ago owing to a vast cost savings programme.

“I am pleased with the way we are taking costs down, but the continued low prices in the third quarter demonstrates that we must continue to chase further cost efficiencies,” chief executive Eldar Saetre said in a statement…

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

Podemos Leader Accuses Juncker of ‘Humiliating Europe’ Over Tax Scandal

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos, has used his resignation speech from the European Parliament to heavily criticize the EU, and accuse European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of “humiliating Europe and encouraging tax fraud.”

Iglesias didn’t hold back in his address to the parliament, launching a blistering attack on the bloc, saying that officials in Brussels had contributed to the divide between the rich and poor.

“Fifteen months ago I said that we hoped for a different Europe, one that would be a little less tough on the weak and a little less complacent with the powerful,” he said, in reference to his first address to the chamber in May last year.

“Unfortunately, I think that this statement is still valid today.”

Iglesias criticized many MEPs over their stance towards the refugee crisis, slamming those “who cry crocodile tears and claim to defend human rights.”

“We are talking once again about war and desolation at the doors of Europe, about families who are getting closed doors and barbed wire as an answer, and I say that we Europeans cannot forget what war means, what horror and poverty mean, and what it is to have to flee horror and poverty.”

However, perhaps the harshest attack was saved for European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

Iglesias slammed Mr Juncker in a personal attack, accusing him of “encouraging tax fraud” by overseeing questionable tax deals given to multinational businesses during his 18 years as prime minister of Luxembourg.

“We cannot humiliate those people, because that is humiliating Europe and ending the welfare state, ending social rights and giving up our governments to the arrogance of financial powers. It means humiliating Europe and encouraging tax fraud, like you did, Mr Juncker, when you were treasury minister and fostered secret deals with multinationals so they would only have to pay one-percent tax.”

To conclude, the Podemos leader, who is hoping to draw significant support away from traditional parties in the upcoming Spanish elections, pointed the blame at those responsible for electing Mr Juncker, such as Italian Socialist Group leader, Gianni Pittella.

“People like you, Mr Pitella, have allowed Mr Juncker to be sitting there, because you Socialists have maintained a great coalition with the People’s Party in this chamber.

“I am returning to my country, so in Spain there will no longer be people like you in government.”

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

Polish Conservatives’ Win Boosts Eurosceptics Camp

The resounding victory of Poland’s conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in Sunday’s general election has given a boost to European eurosceptics, already buoyed by the backlash against Brussels sparked by the migrant crisis.

The party stormed to victory on anti-refugee rhetoric and promises of generous family benefits, ending eight years of centrist rule by the Civic Platform (PO) party cofounded by EU council president Donald Tusk.

“Poland has given a boost to the eurosceptics camp of countries such as Britain that want to reform the European Union and loosen internal ties” between its 28 member states, analyst Marcin Zaborowski told AFP…

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

Pope Francis Names New Archbishops of Palermo, Bologna

Nominations viewed as break with past

(ANSA) — Vatican City, October 27 — Pope Francis on Tuesday officially nominated Monsignor Corrado Lorefice as the new archbishop of Palermo and Monsignor Matteo Zuppi as archbishop of Bologna. They take over from, respectively, Cardinal Paolo Romeo and Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who had reached the age of retirement.

Up to this point Lorefice, 53, has been serving as priest in Modica in Sicily. Zuppi, 60, was an auxiliary bishop in central Rome.

The nominations are being viewed as a break with the past, partly due to the relatively young age of the new appointments, compared to their predecessors who are both 77.

Lorefice and Zuppi are closely connected to Francis’ aim to build a “poor church for the poor”. Lorefice, born in Ispica in Sicily, has been active in the fight against Mafia mentality and behaviour in his homeland. He had been overlooked in the press, but managed to beat more prestigious names to the Palermo post at Francis’ instigation.

Zuppi, a long-serving member of the Sant’Egidio charity, is well-known for his efforts to help the poor and immigrants. He was involved in the organisation’s efforts to negotiate a historic peace deal for Mozambique in 1992.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Bromsgrove Paedophile Who Offered to ‘Share’ His Baby With Others is Spared Jail

[WARNING: Disturbing Content.]

A paedophile who offered to ‘share’ his baby with other perverts has been spared jail today despite distributing vile images online of young children being abused.

Nathan Green, 25, of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, set up an online account under the name ‘Crazer49’ and boasted in his profile information: ‘Young incest fun. Have child on the way. Will share.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Girls Banned From Sport at Islamist Infiltrated School, Teachers ‘Uncomfortable’ At Sight of Jiggling Breasts

One of the infamous ‘Trojan Horse Schools’ taken into special measures because of Islamist infiltration is said to have banned girls from mixed sports because of the discomfort it caused male teachers.

Park View Academy, which was taken into special measures last year after it was found to have been the subject of an Islamist take-over plot is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the government.

Speaking at a hearing yesterday, school press officer Susan Packer told how she was shut down by other members of staff when she complained of sexist treatment of pupils, reports the Birmingham Mail.

She said former principal Monzoor Hussain had justified a policy of preventing girls from getting involved with mixed sports lessons because it made male staff feel uncomfortable to see the girls play. She claims he told her male teachers “did not want girls to be seen with their bits jumping up and down”.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

UK: Greer Ban at University ‘Is to Seem Fair to Muslims’: Vince Cable Warns Feminists and Right-Wingers Will be Censored to Prove Institutions Are Not ‘Anti-Islamic’

Universities will ban feminists, Right-wing politicians and other controversial speakers to appear fair on Muslims, Vince Cable has warned.

The ex-business secretary said the Prevent strategy would make institutions feel compelled to censor all ‘extreme’ views to prove that they are not ‘anti-Islamic’.

Under the Government’s counter-terror drive, universities have a duty to monitor students for signs of ‘non-violent extremism’ and block hate preachers.

But yesterday Sir Vince said institutions would feel obliged to ‘demonstrate impartiality’ and ban ‘non-Muslim speakers whose reputation is also controversial for different reasons’.

He said some speakers were already being given hostile receptions on campuses, including Ukip leader Nigel Farage who cancelled an appearance at Cambridge after protests.

A petition was also set up to stop feminist Germaine Greer speaking at Cardiff because her views could allegedly offend ‘trans’ people.

Sir Vince said: ‘Once we get into the way of thinking that the best way to deal with extreme views is to suppress them, we get into very dangerous territory indeed.

‘And unfortunately I think that is the way the government is trying to lead.

‘If the government is successful in getting through legislation which in turn leads to guidance to universities, I suspect what will happen is this.

‘The legislation and the guidance will be vague, and universities being naturally risk adverse institutions will err on the side of caution and try to stop controversial speakers.

‘They will then be accused of being anti-Islamic and so they will try to stop other speakers of other persuasions.’

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

UK: Tuberculosis Rates in Parts of London Are ‘Worse Than Rwanda and Iraq’ Due to Lack of Screening

A report by the London Assembly found TB services were not universally available to all Londoners. A mobile X-ray van is touring the worst affected areas to scan for the deadly disease.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Varoufakis RAI Fee Sparks Furor

Ex-Greek finance minister got paid 24,000 euros to appear on talk show

(ANSA) — Rome, October 28 — Opposition parties were up in arms Wednesday over an alleged 24,000-euro fee paid to ex Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis for appearing on a leading talk show aired by state broadcaster RAI.

The economics professor was interviewed by Fabio Fazio for 22 minutes during an episode of his flagship programme Che Tempo Che Fa at the end of September. On Wednesday, the Huffington Post reported that the former Tsipras ally — who ruffled feathers among his European counterparts during negotiations for a third Greek bailout that subsequently collapsed — received 24,000 euros for taking part in the programme, as well as a first-class flight to Italy. The revelation was borne out by a disclosure on Varoufakis’ own website, and was slammed by politicians on the center-right as “scandalous” and “an abomination”.

RAI has so far refrained from comment.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Volkswagen 3Q Net Loss of $1.83 Billion on Scandal Charges

Hit from 6.7 billion euros in set-asides for recalls and fines

(ANSA-AP) — FRANKFURT — Volkswagen AG is reporting a loss of 1.67 billion euros ($1.83 billion) in the third quarter as earnings took a hit from 6.7 billion euros in set-asides for recalls and fines connected to cars rigged to evade U.S. diesel emissions testing.

Volkswagen had already announced the charges, so market analysts expected a loss for the quarter. The company’s result beat analyst expectations, while sales revenue rose 5.3 percent to 51.5 billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Young Journalist Stoned While Making Video Report in Swedish ‘No-Go’ Area

Swedish journalist Valentina Xhaferi was trying to reveal the truth about the inhabitants of one of the Swedish ghettos and their habit of attacking police officers who enter the “sensitive area”.

However, while doing her job, she and her cameraman were attacked themselves by the locals.

The incident took place in the Stockholm district of Tensta earlier this month.

“We were standing there and doing our job and then young people came to us and asked why we were there and what we did. And then I told them that we are just doing a short report about throwing stones — about why people throw stones at the police — and they were angry and told us to leave the place, because this was their ground, their land,” Xhaferi told Radio Sputnik.

Xhaferi’s report was intended to shed the light on why any police officer trying to patrol the area would be attacked by its residents. She went into the district in order to film her report and interview the locals, but was stoned by a gang while making the video.

“I became very anxious and had a feeling that the situation was going to explode. That’s when the guy threw a stone at us,” Xhaferi said.

Despite the incident, Xhaferi came to the district for the second time accompanied by policemen and managed to successfully conduct interviews with locals.

“I can’t say that everybody is doing this. This is only a small group doing this,” she said, adding that many residents seek to change the picture of Tentsa and want to feel safe in their own homes.

The district of Tensta is not the only example of ‘no-go’ zones in Europe. There are hundreds of them across the EU, which are largely populated by foreign born, poorly integrated newcomers.

Such areas have high crime and unemployment rates, as well as drug trafficking and black market problems. The police cannot sufficiently fulfill their job there and prefer to leave local residents to themselves.

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

Serbia: Vucic: We’ll Buy Defensive Weapons From Russia

PM yesterday met Russian counterpart Medvedev, tomorrow Putin

(ANSA) — BELGRADE, OCT. 28 — Serbia will buy from Russia some weapons which could be used for defensive purposes only. This is what Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told reporters in Moscow, where he is paying an official visit since yesterday. “We won’t buy offensive weapons, but we need to defend our territory”, the prime minister said, without specifying the type of weapons involved. Vucic said that Serbia intends to produce certain weapons by itself, in collaboration with Russia. The premier held talks yesterday and today with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and tomorrow he will be received by President Vladimir Putin.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lawless Libya: Western Governments Will be Forced to Look Back

Further violence has erupted in Libya after a helicopter carrying Islamist military commanders was shot down by rival armed factions. All 19 passengers on board died, triggering clashes between Libya Dawn, an Islamist group of the coalition forces that runs Tripoli and a rival tribe known as Warshefana.

The North African country is gripped in a civil war between the internationally recognized Libyan government, forced to operate from Tobruk on the eastern border with Egypt and its rival self-styled government in Tripoli, which is run by Libya Dawn, the dominant Islamist group of a coalition of forces.

Libya Dawn has blamed the attack on rival forces loyal to the official Libyan army and pointed the finger at the “so-called Tribes Army, allies with the remnants of the [Gaddafi] regime.”

But the Warshefana tribe has denied any involvement in the attack. In a statement, the Al-Maya Municipality claimed it was the work of “agents of fitna [division]” who want to “cause strife between the tribes and destroy Libya’s social tissue.”

Corrupt officials seemingly operating based on tribal affiliations and self-interests are disrupting the fabric of Libyan society. According to the UN’s Refugee Agency: “The current situation in Libya is characterized by a continued lack of rule of law and order, ongoing fighting between rival armed groups in many parts of the country and daily assassinations, bombings and kidnappings.

“Intense fighting between opposing armed groups over control of territory, resources and infrastructure since May 2014 has resulted in the death of thousands of people, including civilians, and led to the displacement of over 435,000 individuals, the destruction of vital infrastructure, disruption of basic services and deteriorating humanitarian conditions.”

Meanwhile, Europe and the US are pushing for rival groups to form a unity government, recognized by the international community to try an end the chaotic and violent situation, which erupted following the 2011 military mission led by France and Britain to remove the country’s leader, Colonel Gaddafi, from power.

But since the fall of Gaddafi, Libya is now, according to UN special envoy Berardino Leon, “on the verge of economic and financial collapse” and “facing a huge security threat because of civil war.”

Leon also says a more important threat to Libya is from Islamic State militants.

While the West has been accused of turning a blind eye on the chaos ensued, European Union leaders will be forced to look back at Libya while member states’ navies carry out Operation Sophia — refugee search and rescue operations at sea.

Rear Admiral Herve Blejean, deputy head of Operation Sophia, told a news conference:

“At some point, it will have to work within Libyan territory.”

As the chaos deepens in Libya and unity government talks continue to fail, ISIL finds more opportunities.

“ISIL has realized that the largest factions are more interested in fighting each other,” Mattia Toaldo, Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told Reuters.

“It is expanding in central Libya, encountering little resistance”.

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

Moroccan Banks Grow in Africa But Egypt Still First

(AGI) Rabat, Oct 27 — The growth of Moroccan banking groups has exceeded that of Algerian banks on African markets. Indeed, in terms of presence the three main Moroccan banks are now the third largest banking group in Africa, according to the magazine “Jeune Afrique”. Egyptian banks still come top. In terms of private users, the Moroccan bank Wafa is the best bank in Africa for services provided, even though it ranks seventh in terms of trade, lying behind five South African banks and one Egyptian.

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

Assad Accuses France of Supporting ‘Terrorist’ Groups in Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad renewed his accusation that Western states including France are supporting “terrorist” groups in his country’s conflict, at a meeting on Wednesday with a French parliamentary delegation.

“Several countries in the region and the West, including France, are continuing up until now to support terrorism by giving political cover to terrorist groups in Syria and the region,” he told three visiting rightwing legislators, quoted by state news agency SANA.

Assad said terrorism was “the main cause of the suffering of the Syrian people… along with the embargo imposed on Syria”, warning that it was “an international phenomenon which no border can prevent from spreading”…

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

Clashes Erupt as Turkey Cracks Down on Opposition Media

Hundreds of journalists and civilians clashed with police on Wednesday after several news offices were raided in a crack down on media opposition of Turkey’s government just days ahead of a general election.

Clashes broke out as riot police sprayed water cannon to disperse protestors and journalists as they assembled outside the media headquarters of the Koza Ipek Holding company in Istanbul.

Police had entered the headquarters after a court decision on Monday handed administration of the company, which owns two newspapers and the popular television stations Kanal Turk and Bugun TV, to government appointed administrators…

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

Michelle Obama to Visit Qatar, Jordan to Discuss Girls’ Education

Michelle Obama will travel to Qatar and Jordan next month to continue her longstanding efforts to promote girls’ education, the White House said Wednesday.

The US first lady will visit a school in Amman built with technical and financial support from the US Agency for International Development and plans to commend Jordan’s “generosity and commitment to educating all children living within its ?borders,” a statement said.

Due to the conflict in neighboring Syria, a number of Jordanian schools have welcomed Syrian students to their classrooms.

Jordan is hosting more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees…

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

MSF to Demand Explanations From Saudi Coalition for Yemeni Hospital Bombing

The medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, or MSF) will demand an explanation for the bombing of its hospital in Yemen from the Saudi-led international coalition that was aware of the facility’s location, a representative of the organization’s Paris office said Wednesday.

GENEVA (Sputnik) — Late on Monday, the MSF hospital in the northern Yemeni governorate of Saada was bombed while staff and patients were inside the building. It is assumed that the Saudi-led coalition, which has been carrying out airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen since March, is responsible for the incident, but it has denied the accusations.

“We are going to ask for explanations, because the GPS coordinates of the district’s hospital and other infrastructure had been transmitted to the coalition to make sure there was no problem,” Laurent Sury told RIA Novosti in an interview.

There is only one party that is conducting airstrikes in Yemen, namely, a coalition of Arab states, for this reason they are being asked for clarification on the incident, he stated.

According to Sury, the MSF hospital was struck by at least six targeted airstrikes. Most of its buildings were effectively destroyed, while a further two bombs did not explode and remain on the grounds of the medical institution.

The MSF will make a decision on whether to call for an independent commission into the hospital attack after the receipt of an explanation on the incident from the anti-Houthi coalition, Sury said.

This is the second time this month that a medical facility run by the international health charity MSF has been bombed. Thirty people, including 12 MSF staff, died after a US airstrike destroyed a crowded MSF hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on October 3.

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

Over 1,000 Militants Arrived in Yemen to Join ISIL, Fight Againt Houthis

Militants from all over the Middle East arrived at the military camp Salah al-Din in the Yemeni city of Aden to join Islamic State and fight against Houthi rebels, a Yemeni security source told Sputnik.

“Hundreds of armed militants who came from other provinces of Yemen and from abroad started their training in the Salah al-Din camp in Aden,” the source said on the condition of anonymity.

According to him, the exact number of the fighters is unknown. Approximately, there are about 1,500- 2,000 people who arrived in the city to join the terrorist organization.

“In recent days, several planes with hundreds of fighters aboard landed at the airport of Aden under condition of high secrecy and reinforced security,” the source said.

Earlier, it was reported that over 500 ISIL militants had been transported from Syria to Yemen on planes that had arrived from Turkey.

“They were transferred from Syria to escape Russian airstrikes,” Syrian Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Ali Maihub said, adding that the fighters were “met by officers from the Saudi-led coalition who took them out of the [Yemeni] airport in three groups.”

Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government and the armed Houthi political opposition faction for over a year. A Saudi-led coalition of countries has been conducting airstrikes against Houthi positions at the request of Yemen’s displaced President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi since March.

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

Rights Activists Disappointed on Qatar Labour Reforms

Rights activists said Wednesday they were disappointed by long-awaited reforms of Qatar’s much-criticised “kafala” labour system for foreign workers, which critics have likened to modern-day slavery.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Tuesday approved a new law overseeing the sponsorship system — which currently only allows workers to leave the country with the approval of their employer — as well as rules which allow workers to switch jobs.

But activists said the changes were unlikely to make a real difference for the thousands of foreign workers in the oil-rich Gulf state, many of whom are preparing facilities for Qatar’s hosting of football’s 2022 World Cup.

“These changes are unlikely to lead to a meaningful improvement,” Nicholas McGeehan, Gulf researcher at Human Rights Watch, told AFP…

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

Russia Steps Up Airstrikes on Syria, 71 Hit 119 Targets

‘Heightened reconnaissance and intelligence’

(ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, OCTOBER 28 — Russia on Wednesday increased its airstrikes on Syria, due to a higher number of targets discovered through intensified reconnaissance activities and intelligence channels. Over the past 24 hours, the Russian air force has conducted 71 airstrikes, hitting 118 “terrorist” objectives in the Idlib, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Damascus and Latakia regions, reported the defense ministry.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Saudi-Led Operation Has Killed Over 1,000 Children in Yemen

Civilian casualties of the Saudi-led bombing in Yemen have reached 6,318, according to the local health ministry.

CAIRO (Sputnik) — Over 1,000 children have been killed since the start of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, spokesman for the country’s Health Ministry Tamim Shami said Wednesday.

“Civilian casualties since the beginning of the bombing have reached 6,318, among them are 1,241 children, 1,028 women,” Shami told RIA Novosti.

“Devastating airstrikes were carried out against 109 hospitals, 229 healthcare centers, as well as 56 ambulances,” he added.

According to the spokesman, over 15,000 civilians have been wounded since the beginning of the conflict. The northern Saada governorate and Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, have the highest number of victims.

Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government and the armed Houthi political opposition faction for over a year. A Saudi-led coalition of countries has been conducting airstrikes against Houthi positions at the request of Yemen’s displaced President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi since March.

There is now a major shortage of medicines and medical instruments in the country, according to Shami. Though humanitarian aid is being provided through the World Health Organization, “this is not enough to treat the number of people injured in the bombings,” he said.

The recent airstrikes against a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen’s northern Saada region have claimed lives, the spokesman said.

“There are wounded and killed as a result of the bombing of this hospital, though numbers are being clarified,” Tamim Shami told RIA Novosti.

On Monday, a hospital of the medical aid group Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, or MSF) in Saada was bombed while staff and patients were inside the building. The MSF believes the coalition is responsible for the incident. The Saudi-led coalition has denied the reports.

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

Turkish Police Storm Opposition Media Group

Turkish riot police firing tear gas and water cannon stormed on Wednesday into the Istanbul headquarters of a media group critical of the government, just days before a weekend election.

The move followed a controversial court ruling ordering the seizure of the conglomerate linked to US-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, regarded as the nemesis of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Images of the police action, which saw officers smash through the gates of the compound with chainsaws, were broadcast live on the group’s television stations, Bugun and Kanalturk.

An Ankara court on Monday appointed a board of trustees to manage the Koza-Ipek Group, seizing its 21 companies, including its media operations, as part of a crackdown on Gulen’s followers…

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

US Ground Operations in Syria ‘Illegal’, May Lead to ‘Unpredictable’ Consequences

The consequences of potential US ground operations in Syria would be unpredictable, the head of Russia’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs told RT. He added that claims Russian airstrikes have targeted civilians are part of ongoing information war.

“If there … [is]any evidence … [it]should be presented and Russia is definitely open to making further investigations,” Chairman of the Russian Upper House committee for foreign affairs, Konstantin Kosachev told RT, while on a visit to Washington. “But there is no evidence [that has been]presented by the military experts to the Russian military experts.”

Kosachev’s comments come after the Russian Ministry of Defense summoned the military attaches of NATO countries and Saudi Arabia, asking them to clarify their allegations that Russian airstrikes in Syria had hit civilian targets.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Washington’s Syria “Strategy” In Complete Disarray as “Ally” Turkey Bombs US-Armed Rebels

The US is now flying sorties from Incirlik and Turkish autocrat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hates the Kurds and has gone out of his way to make it clear that Ankara doesn’t distinguish between the PKK and the YPG. For the uninitiated, here’s the problem broken down in bullet points:

  • The US is flying from a Turkish airbase
  • Access to that airbase came with NATO’s tacit approval of Erdogan’s move to crack down on the Kurdish PKK operating in Turkey (that crackdown is designed to bolster support for the government ahead of elections next month)
  • Both the US and Turkey designate PKK as a “terrorist” group
  • BUT while Ankara equates the PKK with the Kurdish rebels battling ISIS in Syria, Washington actually supports those same rebels, setting up a conflict of interest

Now clearly, this is beyond absurd. That is, Turkey only got NATOs support for the politically motivated crackdown on the PKK because Ankara agreed to bundle said crackdown with a military campaign against ISIS. But the Syrian Kurds are the most effective ground force of them all when it comes to combating Islamic State. Because those Syrian Kurds are aligned with the PKK, Turkey is effectively trying to say its army is fighting ISIS, the PKK, and YPG all at once even as both the PKK and the YPG are also fighting ISIS.

And so, in an unbelievably silly attempt to keep from angering Erdogan, the US effectively created a fictional group of “Syrain Arabs” and then claimed that YPG had formed an alliance with the made-up army. Next, Washington dropped 50 tons of ammo into the desert (literally) and claimed that the “Syrian Arab Coalition” had retrieved it. Of course it was the Kurds who actually picked it up, the Pentagon just needed a cover story to feed to Ankara in case Erdogan lost his mind. Which he did.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Four Countries Offer Russia to Use Barter System to Avoid Dollar

Iran, Turkey, India, and China have suggested using the barter system in the food industry with Russia to avoid transactions in dollars, Russian agricultural watchdog aide Alexei Alekseyenko said Wednesday.

SHARM EL-SHEIKH (Sputnik) — Alekseyenko said that Iran had offered the idea of exchanging Russian grain for milk products, fish, and meat, and Turkey had also suggested meat, milk products, fish, and incubated eggs.

“We have been getting suggestions from various countries that accounts should be handled in national currencies, or even using mutual goods, that is the barter system. We’ve had negotiations in Tehran, Ankara, New Delhi, Beijing, and so forth,” Alekseyenko said during an international grains trade conference.

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

Michele Placido: Putin Number One in Europe

He’s flexing his muscles to Islam,’Russia bulwark of values’

(ANSA) — MOSCOW — “Putin is number one in Europe for foreign policy”, and his Orthodox Russia, “unlike the weak West, is a bulwark against Islam”. And at the present time, we have to cope with Islam “by flexing our muscles”: Michele Placido, on his visit to Moscow on the occasion of an evening dedicated to Dante, did not hesitate to defend and praise the Kremlin leader and his “muscular” policy.

“Looking at internal policy — he explained speaking to Italian news agencies — I can understand the contradictions, especially the criticism of the opposition, probably because his methods were not exactly democratic, but talking about foreign policy, Putin is number one in Europe, and he’s even more genuine than Mrs Merkel and the French”.

“Putin — he continued — is the most capable leader and has an international stature. The times we are living may require people who have more courage and clarity, and who are able to take their historical responsibility”. “I understand why Americans do not love him, but I think that someone like Putin is more useful to Europe than we may think. If I were Europe, I’d be really careful, in order to avoid transforming him into an enemy”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Russian Student May Face Up to Ten Years in Prison for Trying to Join ISIL

Moscow State University student Varvara Karaulova was recently arrested under suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities. For unclear reasons, the young woman changed her name and is suspected of having ties with the ISIL terrorist group.

Karaulova, who changed her name to Alexandra Ivanova, is expected to be under arrest until December 23.

Islamic State is considered a terrorist organization by Russian law. The Moscow student may face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, RIA Novosti reported, citing a source in the law enforcement services.

“There is a so-called ‘terrorist’ article that was introduced into the Criminal Code relatively recently, last year. It penalizes the creation of a terrorist organization and participation in its activities. The crime is classified as serious, the maximum punishment for it is up to 20 years in detention,” the source said.

The participation in the activities of a terrorist organization — the crime the young woman is suspected of — carries a punishment of five to ten years in prison, the source said.

It is still unknown whether Karaulova has admitted her guilt or not.

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

Sarkozy to Meet Putin as French Right Looks to Russia

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy flew to Moscow Wednesday where he is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the latest sign the French right is seeking closer ties with the Kremlin in defiance of François Hollande’s government.

Sarkozy is due to meet with the Russian President on Wednesday accompanied by a cohort of senior members of his Les Républicains party — France’s centre-right main opposition party that was until recently known as the UMP.

The two men are set to hold an “exchange of views … on bilateral relations”, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Russian state media. Top of the bill “is likely to be Syria”, he added…

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

Western Banking Elite Stepping in to Seize Ukrainian National Wealth

The civil war that ripped Ukraine apart is over, US political analyst Phil Butler notes, adding that one of the key indicators of such a change is that “the Western banking wolves” are stepping in in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Euromaidan coup followed by a ruthless civil war was “all about the money,” to be more precise it was all about Western banking interests, political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe Phil Butler emphasizes.

“The energy companies: Dutch Royal Shell, Avante Petrolem, ARCO, along with lesser known entities like BG Group, Naftogaz and Ukrnafta now surface in news to reveal the dirty dealings that went on underneath all this Ukraine killing. Yes, you always knew it was about money from the moment you read Vice President Joe Biden’s son got a position in Ukraine energy, your fears the ‘fix’ was on were verified,” Butler wrote in his recent article for New Eastern Outlook.

After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the Ukrainian economic system resembled nothing more than a ‘laundering machine’ that was operated by oligarchs. Each of them received their own “piece of the pie.”

According to the political scientist, in the case of Ukraine “the pie” was “the hard earned livelihoods” of ordinary Ukrainian citizens. “They are the ones ‘guaranteeing’ the oligarchs’ investment, which is in fact no investment at all,” Butler stressed.

One of the key elements of the Ukrainian specific financial system dubbed by the political scientist “the gas ring” has always been Ukrnafta, the largest producer of oil and gas in Ukraine. The company is a subsidiary of Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz. Naftogaz owns 50 percent plus one share in Ukrnafta. Forty two percent belongs to the Privat Group based in Dnipropetrovsk.

“With revenues flowing to the parent company from branches like gas stations, oil refining, Russian gas transit features, and drilling operations Ukrnafta is supposed to fuel bond and security annuities and dividends, it’s supposed to pay back the Ukraine people in the form of profits. But this is not what happens,” Butler noted.

“The marginal investor in this company has never made a dime, and neither have the people of Ukraine,” the political analyst added.

Now that Ukrnafta is broke, the reins of the company have been handed to British national Mark Rollins. Previously Rollins served as Vice President of BG Group in Kazakhstan. Prior to this, he worked as the Chief Executive Officer of Avante Petroleum, a private exploration and production company with branches in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

“Back to Mr. Rollins, his role for BG Group is vital to our understanding of what is about to happen in Ukraine. BG Group is the largest supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) gas to the United States, and one of the largest in the world overall,” Butler remarked, adding that the group has certain links to Schlumberger Limited, world’s largest oil field development firm. Schlumberger Limited in its turn is closely connected to the world famous Rothschilds and Goldman Sachs International.

Curiously enough, Rothschild’s Director of the CIS, Giovanni Salvetti, advises Petro Poroshenko, the political scientist added.

Rollins’ role is an important one: “he’s the dealmaker in between the former beneficiaries of all this [Ukrainian] gas, and the future ones out to the West.”

Under the smokescreen of the Ukrainian turmoil the Western “big” banking elite has taken over the country’s wealth, including its gas and oil production companies.

“These former oligarchs, it’s now in their best interest to fade out of view of the public eye. The private banks they own, their high profile control of everything from chocolate to dish washer detergent, it will appear to come to an end. Ukraine’s citizens will now pay for a new energy cartel. They’ll live, work, borrow, buy, and die to pay for Westerners’ lavish wants and needs,” Butler stressed.

“NATO may not have moved in, Washington probably never strategized Ukraine would really be part of the EU, the power play was very likely about changing bankers, after all,” the political scientist elaborated.

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

Afghan Asylum-Seeker Numbers ‘Unacceptable’: German Minister

Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Wednesday the rising number of Afghan asylum seekers was “unacceptable”, as he urged young citizens of the south Asian nation to stay at home and rebuild their homeland.

“Afghanistan is in the second place of (asylum seekers’) origin countries in the current month and also for the whole year. That is unacceptable. We are in agreement with the Afghan government that we don’t want that,” De Maiziere said.

“There is an increasing number of citizens from the middle class, also from Kabul, and we are in agreement with the Afghan government that young Afghans from middle-class families should stay in their country and rebuild it,” said De Maiziere…

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

Pakistan Supreme Court Issues Blasphemy Warning

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has called on the state to ensure that hundreds of people facing imprisonment and even execution under controversial blasphemy laws have not been falsely charged, often by enemies wanting to settle personal scores.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, an Islamic republic of 200 million, with even unproven allegations provoking mob lynchings and violence.

Critics including European governments say the country’s laws against blasphemy are misused, with hundreds languishing in jails under false charges that could see them face fines, life imprisonment or death by hanging…

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

Thailand: EU Pressure on Illegal Fishing Threatens More Than 8,000 Thai Fishing Boats

New Thai government regulations imposed under EU pressure uncover thousands of illegal vessels. Thailand has a week left to get the boats to comply or risk an EU import ban. Fishing employs 300,000 people. Thousands now could lose their job.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) — More than 8,000 trawlers in 22 provinces are likely to lose their commercial fishing licences after checks revealed the registration numbers did not match the vessels, and many had failed to renew their permits for years.

If all the boats were banned, it would be a terrible blow to the Thai fishing industry, which employs about 300,000 people.

The discrepancies were uncovered when the government began regulating all fishing boats to comply with the European Union’s demand last April that Thailand end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, or lose its market for seafood products. Bangkok was given six months to fall into line.

EU requirements include boat registration, installation of satellite-based monitoring systems to track the position, time, course and speed of fishing boats, the establishment a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) System and traceability in Thai ports.

The maximum penalty for owners of fishing vessels are three years in prison.

Many fishermen reacted angrily to EU restrictions, going on strike in 22 province last July, including many legal fishermen, causing havoc in the fishing industry. The new rules in fact kept fishermen in port, fearing police crackdown.

Kamolsak Lertpaiboon, secretary of the Thai Fisheries Association, made public today the results of compliance checks by three agencies — the Marine Department, the Fisheries Department and the Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF).

The licenses of 8,024 fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea will be revoked if the fishermen did not act soon.

Mr Kamolsak said that most of trawlers that might lose their licences did not operate in Thai waters. They fished in Indonesian and Myanmar waters.

The European Union will announce some time in December whether Thailand’s seafood exports would be blacklisted or if Bangkok has cooperated enough to be allowed more time to fix its problems, an official said.

Thailand is the third largest fish exporter in the world. Its seafood exports are worth US$ 3 billion a year, shipping between US$ 630 and 775 million worth of fish products to the European Union in 2014.

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

Bargain Hunters Looking at Chinese Real Estate

The decline in the Chinese real estate market is such that people are finding bargains in Shanghai, the country’s financial capital.

Last month, a private fund run by Singapore-listed ARA Asset Management purchased a 20-story office tower in Shanghai for 2.85 billion yuan, ($448 million), according to property consulting firm Savills , reported the Wall Street Journal.

ARA China Investment Partners, whose main investor is US pension fund California Public Employees’ Retirement System, purchased Platinum Building near Xintiandi, a popular entertainment and shopping area. Its tenants include McKinsey & Co. and Standard Chartered Bank, according to the WSJ.

“The softer market sentiments in China now are throwing up interesting investment opportunities, which would otherwise not be in the market or demand high asking prices,” Ng Beng Tiong, assistant group chief executive officer at ARA Asset Management told WSJ but he declined to comment on specifics of the deal, citing confidentiality obligations.

“China’s long-term economic and real estate fundamentals remain attractive for smart, long monies,” said Mr. Ng in an emailed statement.

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

China’s Ethnic Problem, The Ticking Bomb That Could Destroy it

China’ ethnic minorities number 120 million. In Tibet and Xinjiang, the central government appears to have lost control. The underlying cause is a power struggle between those, like President Xi Jinping, who want to abandon ethnic policies in favour of forced integration, and those, like the president’s late father Xi Zhongxun, who favour the maintenance of ethnic differences. Against this backdrop, former President Hu Jintao and the United Front Work Department, which plays an active role in managing ethnic and religious minorities, still cast their long shadow. Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.

Washington (AsiaNews) — Since assuming power in November 2012, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary General Xi Jinping has sought to put his imprimatur on the contentious realm of ethnic policy. As with other agenda items, Xi has sought to concentrate power around his own person, believing this to be the only way to push forward reform against vested interest groups, including in the realm of inter-ethnic relations. Yet the minzu or “ethnic” lobby is a powerful and deeply entrenched part of the political machine in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

State-run media frequently lauds Xi for his intimate knowledge and personal interest in the nearly 120 million Chinese citizens who belong to an ethnic minority, and especially the troubled regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. His inspection tours of minority regions are front-page news, as are his important speeches on ethnic work. Most recently, his image and words featured prominently at the official celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the 60th anniversary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinhua, September 8; Xinhua, October 1).

Yet, Xi Jinping’s intervention has failed to end the long-running and deeply acrimonious debate over the future direction of ethnic policies in the PRC. Xi lacks both the authority and the political capital to push ethnic policy in the more assimilationist direction he desires. Rather, he is hamstrung by the liberal legacy of his father Xi Zhongxun and the continued influence of former Secretary General Hu Jintao, two powerful sources of support for the ethnic lobby and its defense of ethnic pluralism. The end result is policy paralysis, leaving local officials to interpret the contradictory messages emanating from Beijing while increasing the importance of stability maintenance work as the only agreed method for dealing with a complex set of ethnic contradictions.

The Ethnic Policy Debate

Since the establishment of the PRC in 1949, ethnic policy has been in a state of constant flux, swinging (often dramatically) between the accommodation and protection of ethnic differences and centralizing, integrationist tendencies. The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 provided yet another jolt. Nationalists warned the liberal policies ushered in by former party secretary Hu Yaobang during the 1980s placed China in a precarious position not that dissimilar to the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev.

Peking University Professor Ma Rong has long argued that China shares the same preconditions for national fracturing as the Soviet Union, while the influential policy scholar and Tsinghua University Professor Hu Angang has called for a “second generation of ethnic policies” on the eve of Xi Jinping’s elevation as party secretary (see China Brief, July 6, 2012). Current policies, these would-be reformers argue, place too much emphasis on ethnic identities while creating institutional barriers (administrative autonomy, ethnic classification, ethnic-based preferences) that hinder the natural fusion of different groups and the forging of a strong, shared national identity. In short, Ma, Hu and other reformers advocate a minzu-blind politic, one that would naturalize and eventually eliminate policymaking based on ethnic differences.

Opponents like Minzu University Professor Yang Shengmin argue any rethink of ethnic theory and policy would lead to “ideological chaos” and political and social upheaval (CUAES, February 23, 2012; Phoenix News, March 30, 2014). Open the minzu box, they assert, and you will unleash a Pandora-like set of contradictions that will undermine the cooperation, solidarity, and trust central to solving social problems in a multi-ethnic country such as China. The sheer size of the minzu establishment ensures vocal opposition to any shift in the status quo, with a complex network of “ethnic and religious affairs committees” employing millions of officials at every level of the bureaucracy, while overseeing the distribution of billions of dollars in state revenue each year.

There are reasons to believe that Xi Jinping is highly sympathetic to the integrationist agenda. He has consistently stressed the importance of national unity in the context of his “China dream,” while remaining largely silent on the place of ethnic autonomy, languages and cultures. He has resurrected and promoted the “four identifications”, which stresses the affinity of minorities with the motherland, the Chinese nation/race, Chinese culture and the socialist road with Chinese characteristics, while promoting a sense of collective belonging through Mandarin-language instruction and patriotic education in frontier regions.[1] Xi has also stressed the “equality of everyone before the law”, rather than the group-differentiated rights enshrined in the Chinese Constitution (People’s Daily, November 21, 2014; Xinhua, August 28).

The controversial theme of “ethnic mingling” is now one of the “guiding principles” of ethnic work under Xi Jinping’s government. Rather than promoting ethnic diversity, the Party Center stresses residential integration, joint schooling, and increased interethnic migration and mobility. The concept of ethnic mingling is closely associated with another leading ethnic policy reformer, the former Executive Director of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), Zhu Weiqun, who believes mingling is an inevitable social and historical trend that cannot be resisted (China Brief, June 19, 2014).

Xi’s Failed Intervention

At the Central Ethnic Work Forum in September 2014, Xi Jinping sought to “consolidate thinking” and draw the ethnic policy debate to a close (see China Brief, November 7, 2014). In his speech, he called for confidence in the CCP’s current approach and the need to “unflinchingly walk the correct road of China’s unique solution to the ethnic question.” Xi was critical of those, like Ma Rong and Hu Angang, who praise foreign models, such as an idealized version of the American “melting pot,” and rather dramatically pleaded: “There are people who say that we do not need the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and we should implement the same system as we have in other provinces. This view is incorrect, and politically pernicious. I want to again state clearly to everyone, we must stop suggesting that the system of ethnic autonomy should be abolished!” (China Ethnic Daily, November 15, 2014). Yet, in his speech, Xi also made reference to the four identifications and the centrality of ethnic mingling, leaving some to believe that he still desires to move ethnic policy in a new direction.

Xi Jinping’s mediation did little to end the debate. In fact, under his leadership, the divisions within the ethnic policy community have sharpened, becoming more public and personal. Both sides have declared victory in the media, highlighting those parts of Xi’s undisclosed speech that support their viewpoint. Ma Rong, for example, wrote a long essay arguing the meeting signaled “an important readjustment” in thinking, shattering the “dual structure” that divides Chinese society into two unequal halves: the Han majority and the ethnic minorities. [2] In reply, his academic rival Hao Shiyuan countered with his own article, asserting that Xi’s speech reaffirmed the centrality of ethnic autonomy and current policies, and must put an end to the confused and erroneous viewpoints that have reigned in recent years. [3]

Wang Zhengwei, director of the powerful State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC) (and himself a member of the Hui minority), issued his own summary of the meeting, claiming Xi’s speech amounted to “the final word” on the ethnic policy debate (Qiushi, October 16, 2014). Yet, a month later, one of his deputies at the SEAC, the Tibetan official Danzhu’angben, provided far more extensive excerpts from Xi’s speech, making it clear that the new Party boss favors some gradual adjustments to concrete policies like family planning and educational preferences for minorities, as well as an end to the creation of new ethnic groups and autonomous regions. “Fifty-six minzu is fifty-six minzu,” Danzhu’angben quotes Xi, “we do not want to divide any further” (China Ethnic Daily, November 15, 2014).

Hu Jintao’s Continued Influence

Despite the growing clamor for ethnic policy reform, the minzu establishment remains a powerful interest group, and it has a formidable ally in the former Secretary General Hu Jintao. Many of Hu’s people remain in key positions of authority when it comes to ethnic policy, and according to Willy Lam, Hu’s Communist Youth League (CYL) Faction (tuanpai) “is the only party clique that can pose some kind of challenge to Xi and his powerful allies.” [4]

Despite persistent rumors that an ally of Xi Jinping would replace Xinjiang party secretary Zhang Chunxian, he remains in his post in spite of recent violence and reputed ties to the purged former security chief Zhou Yongkang (Duowei, September 27). Tibet has long been a stronghold of Hu Jintao, where he served as party secretary between 1988 and 1992. Following his promotion to the Politburo, a succession of Hu allies has ruled over Tibet. In fact, frontier regions like Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia have served as important proving grounds for tuanpai officials, including the leading candidate to replace Xi Jinping at the 20th Party Congress in 2022, Hu Chunhua, who spent nearly twenty years in Tibet and eventually served as deputy party secretary of Tibet from 2003 to 2006, before becoming the party secretary of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region in 2009.

The stocks of another Hu Jintao ally, SEAC director Wang Zhengwei are also on the rise. In April of this year, he was appointed Deputy Head of the United Front Work Department. Wang now holds three key national leadership positions with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the United Front Work Department. He is widely tipped to enter the Politburo at the 19th Party Congress and might even take over the leadership of the UFWD (Dagongbao, April 15). If this occurs, he will be the first leader since Li Weihan (1949-1954) to simultaneously hold the top Party and State posts related to ethnic policy, and the first ethnic minority to do so.

The new institutional powerbase of the ethnic policy reformers is the far less powerful Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission of the CPPCC, where Zhu Weiqun is the director after retiring from the UFWD. Far from receding into the background, Zhu has become increasing strident on the need for ethnic reform. In May 2015, for example, a dialogue between himself and the Tibetan writer Alai went viral due to its unusually frank criticism of the current approach to ethnic issues (Phoenix News, May 31). Yet, he will be forced to retire at the 19th Party Congress, and at present, there does not seem to be anyone with sufficient political clout to take up his cause on retirement.

The Father’s Long Shadow

Xi Jinping’s desire to break down the ethnic policy establishment is not only stymied by his political predecessor but also by his father’s extensive legacy of ethnic policy work. The elder Xi was known as a leading expert on minority issues, serving first in the Northwest during the 1940s and 1950s and then in Beijing as Vice-Premier in charge of ethnic, religious and united front work during the 1980s. Xi Zhongxun consistently warned against “leftist deviation” in ethnic work, and stressed the need for careful consideration of minority cultures, languages and identities when implementing national policies. During the 1980s, he worked closely with Hu Yaobang to readjust ethnic policies after the Cultural Revolution, resulting in the passage of the 1984 Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and a raft of new minority preferences that the ethnic policy reformers rail against today (Phoenix News, October 21, 2014).

Xi senior was particularly close to the 10th Panchen Lama, and was also said to have kept a watch that the 14th Dalai Lama gave him, in 1954. On the sudden death of the Panchen Lama in 1989, Xi Zhongxun published a long memorial essay in the People’s Daily praising the patriotism and devotion of his “close friend,” while lamenting leftist errors in Tibet policy in the past. After the death of Mao Zedong, Xi Zhongxun worked closely with the Panchen Lama to implement a series of significant policy reforms in Tibet and other ethnic regions, creating today’s ethnic establishment.

Unlike his father, Xi Jinping has had little direct experience with ethnic issues, spending his entire career in coastal provinces like Hebei, Fujian and Zhejiang. A 5,000-character section of his 1992 book Casting Off Poverty is held up as his primary contribution to ethnic work (CPC News, November 2, 2014). In fact, there is not a single essay on ethnic policy in Xi Jinping’s most recent book, On Governance, with only two fleeting references in the entire book. In sharp contrast, Xi Zhongxun’s contribution to ethnic and religious work was highlighted in the essays, books and even TV series commemorating the centenary of his birth in 2013. “Ethnic work was an indissoluble thread throughout Comrade Xi Zhongxun’s life,” Wang Zhengwei wrote, “where he made a major contribution to solving our country’s ethnic problems” (China Ethnic Daily, October 15, 2013).

In short, any move by Xi Jinping to scale back ethnic minority rights and autonomy would be viewed as a direct repudiation of his father’s legacy, something he is frequently reminded of through the citation of his father’s speeches by those who seek to defend the status quo.

Conclusion: Security Reigns Supreme

With the lack of consensus at the top, local officials are left without clear guidance as how to balance ethnic autonomy with interethnic mingling. Unsure how to proceed, most stress the importance of stability above all else, employing their considerable security and social welfare funds to inhibit ethnic contradictions. In fact, policy paralysis and continued ethnic unrest actually lends a freer hand to security officials while the underlying sources of interethnic tension go unaddressed.

As chairman of the newly created National Security Commission, Xi Jinping has considerable influence over the security agenda, with its forces emerging as one of his most important power bases. In his speeches thus far, Xi has consistently stressed the importance of stability maintenance—a common theme over the last two decades but one that has come to define Xi’s approach to ethnic problems.

In the name of combatting the “three evils” (separatism, extremism and terrorism), security officials have not only garrisoned frontier regions like Xinjiang and Tibet but are increasingly adopting similar methods of militarized policing across the country. Yet, the securitization of Chinese society fails to address any of the core issues at stake in the ethnic policy debate.

In sum, while the security apparatuses have proven themselves largely effective in snuffing out the spate of Tibetan self-immolations and Uyghur-linked terror attacks, ethnic antagonism has sharpened in parts of Chinese society as they are pushed deeper underground by the now ubiquitous social monitoring. Without efforts to deal with these underlining tensions, any stable and harmonious pluralism will continue to elude Chinese policymakers.


James Leibold is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Asian Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia. He is the author of Ethnic Policy in China: Is Reform Inevitable? (Honolulu: East West Center, 2013).


1. In fact, at the 6th Tibetan Work Forum, Xi added a fifth identification, the Chinese Communist Party, thereby making the term his own (see People’s Daily, August 26).

2. Ma Rong, “旗帜不变ï1/4Œç¨³ä1/2é˜µè”šï1/4Œè°ƒæ•´æ€æƒ³, 务å(r)žæ”¹é(c)ï1/4šå¯¹ä¸­å¤(r)氒族å*¥ä1/2œä1/4šè(r)(r)皔解诔“ (Fixing the flag, holding one’s ground, readjusting one’s thinking, and pragmatically reforming: Deciphering the Central Ethnic Work Conference), 氒族ç¤3/4ä1/4šå­¦ç “ç(c)¶é€šè(r)¯, 172 (2014): pp. 1-10.

3. Hao Shiyuan, “氒族区sŸè‡ªæ²”ï1/4šä¸­å¤(r)氒族å*¥ä1/2œä1/4šè(r)(r)è(r)²äº†ä”€ä¹ˆ?” (Regional ethnic autonomy: What was said at the Central Ethnic Work Conference?), 中å¤(r)氒族大学学报,219 (2015): pp. 5-12.

4. Willy Wo-Lap Lam, Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping: Renaissance, Reform, or Retrogression? (London: Routledge, 2015): p. 5.

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

Japan’s ‘Konbini’ Stores, Open and Stocked Round the Clock

Stocking anything from shirts to face masks, 24-7 convenience stores have become an indispensable part of Japanese daily life, with the sector now worth more than Sri Lanka’s economy. Their secret? Constant renewal.

A staggering 1.5 billion people pass through “konbini” stores — a Japanese abbreviation of the English word convenience — every month, with some 55,000 outlets throughout the country, including more than 7,000 in Tokyo alone.

Competition is fierce, with two of its biggest players, Family Mart and Uny Group, announcing days ago a merger to battle market leader 7-Eleven for a bigger slice of an industry that marketing newspaper Nikkei MJ values at some 10 trillion yen ($84 billion).

That is comfortably more than the economic output of some entire nations, including Sri Lanka, Belarus and Azerbaijan…

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

Horrific Genetic Engineering of Animals Must Stop — Greens

The Green Party is calling for Agresearch to stop its programme of genetic engineering experiments on animals at its Ruakura facility after a report revealing horrific birth defects and animal suffering was released this morning.

The report ‘GE Animals in New Zealand’ outlines the appalling genetic engineering experimentation on thousands of sheep, cattle and goats in New Zealand, that has resulted in chronically ill animals, deformities, and huge rates of miscarriage and still birth.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Alassane Ouattara Reelected President of Ivory Coast

Alassane Ouattara has been reelected as Ivory Coast’s president, securing nearly 84 percent of the vote, the country’s electoral commission said Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The 73-year-old incumbent leader won his second five-year term in Sunday’s ballot.

Despite calls to boycott the presidential elections from some opposition candidates, the turnout in the West African state was almost 55 percent, the president of the Independent Electoral Commission announced on state television.

Ouattara’s victory is expected to encourage a fragile peace in the country after years of political turmoil.

The last presidential election in 2010 was contested and resulted in a civil war in which 3,000 people lost their lives.

A full-scale military conflict broke out in Ivory Coast in March 2011 between forces loyal to Ouattara, who won the 2010 vote, and then-President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down.

Gbagbo was arrested the following April and is due to stand trial in November at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity over his role in the post-election violence. He denies the charges.

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

Two Arrested After Richard and Grace Wheeler Found Dead in Tobago

Richard Wheeler, 73, and his wife Grace, 67, a local woman, were discovered at their home in the village of Carnbee.

Mrs Wheeler was found by a gardener yesterday morning on the lawn with a cut to her neck.

Officers then entered the home and found Mr Wheeler face down in a pool of blood with “chop wounds” to both arms and the back of the head.

The two men who have been arrested, Andre Romeo and Naajip Hills, are both construction workers and appeared before a magistrate yesterday.

Romeo, 29, is from Tobago and 23-year-old Hills is from the nearest island St Vincent.

A police statement at the time said: “An initial assessment suggests robbery as the possible motive as the bedroom and living room areas were ransacked.

“However, all avenues are being explored and all leads pursued.”

Mr Wheeler was reportedly from Sheffield and worked for firm Lex Caribbean…

           — Hat tip: Takuan Seiyo [Return to headlines]

Austria to Build Slovenia Border Fence to ‘Control’ Migrant Flow

Austria will build a fence along its border with fellow EU member Slovenia to slow down the migrant flow, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said Wednesday.

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

Austrian Women Buying Up Guns as Migrant Rapists Invade Country

Private gun sales are exploding in Austria as women prepare to defend themselves against migrant rapists.

“All long guns are currently completely sold out,” a Czech TV station reported. “Those arming themselves are primarily women.”

“The huge demand has its roots in fears generated by social changes.”

The news outlet also said “more potential customers are entering the market than ever before” and that prior to the current migrant crisis, most gun purchasers were “sport shooters or rangers.”

“But the most common customers now are people who are worried about their personal safety, yet who had never had any involvement with weapons prior to this,” the TV station added.

Austrian women are also buying up pepper spray in record numbers, further highlighting their fear of being attacked and raped by the thousands of migrants flooding into the country from the Middle East and other areas.

That fear is well-founded: Western Europe is now suffering a massive rape epidemic coinciding with the influx of migrants.

“Sweden is now number two on the global list of rape countries,” a report published by the Gatestone Institute revealed. “According to a survey from 2010, Sweden, with 53.2 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants, is surpassed only by tiny Lesotho in Southern Africa, with 91.6 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants.”

And an Arabic-speaking European woman who traveled alongside migrants on a Hungarian train revealed how they threatened to take her hostage and rape her.

“They began talking to each other in a relaxed tone, considering whether or not they should rob us, since that would please Allah because we were infidels,” Aida Bolevár told a European media outlet. “As for me, it would really be worth raping me because I am not dressed like a proper woman, I haven’t got a hijab on my head, that is, I’m not Muslim, and so I am bad.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Bavaria Blasts Austria Over Migrants, Demands Merkel Act

Bavaria’s state premier on Tuesday blasted Austria for waving through thousands of migrants to Germany without informing local authorities and called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene.

“Austria’s behaviour is hurting our neighbourly relations. We cannot and should not deal with each other this way,” premier Horst Seehofer told the Passauer Neue Presse in an interview.

Bavaria, in southeastern Germany, borders Austria and has been the main gateway for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arriving in Germany in recent months.

Bavarian authorities, already struggling to cope with the record numbers, are accusing Vienna of failing to inform them when new arrivals are on their way…

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

EU Lacks Means to Curb Refugee Influx in 2016 — EU Parl’t Budget Committee

According to the head of the Budget Committee of the EU Parliament, the EU lacks resources to support other countries in tackling the migration challenges.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The 2016 EU budget does not provide the required amount of funds to support other countries in preventing an influx of refugees from their territory to the bloc, head of the Budget Committee of the European Parliament Jean Arthuis said Tuesday.

“The 2016 budget clearly does not have the necessary resources to respond to the root causes of migration challenges that Europe faces,” Arthuis said, as quoted by the press service of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier on Tuesday, speaking of the refugee crisis, that “exceptional situation requires exceptional budget.”

“These are beautiful words, but now we are waiting for action,” Arthuis said.

EU member states have delayed signing an agreement to allocate 2.3 billion euro ($2.5 billion) to refugees and their host countries for over a month, the Budget Committee head said.

“Accordingly, there’s a huge lack [of funds].”

Europe has been struggling to manage an enormous refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing to Europe to escape violence and poverty in their home countries. Over 710,000 migrants arrived in the European Union during the first nine months of 2015, according to the EU border agency Frontex.

Last week, Brussels pledged up to $3.4 billion in aid for Turkey in exchange for its cooperation in stemming the unprecedented flow of migrants into Europe.

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

Europeans Scramble for Guns Amid Islamic Immigrant Invasion: “Long Guns Sold Out”

After decades of berating Americans for their Constitutionally protected right to bear arms, Europeans are finally starting to wake up.

It took over a million Islamic immigrants and violence across their union to convince them, but it appears that they finally get it.

In Austria, the scramble for self defense firearms is on as reported by The Daily Sheeple:

Despite how hard it is to attain these weapons in countries like Austria, firearms are currently being sold there in record numbers much like they are in the United States. But instead of the threat of confiscation, this trend is being fueled by the refugee crisis. According to a Czech TV report, pretty much all of the long guns in the country have been sold out for the past three weeks. One gun merchant revealed that most of the buyers are women who want to protect themselves, and those who can’t buy firearms are buying up pepper spray.

Prior to the refugee crisis, most gun buyers were sportsman and hunters. Now there is a growing interest in buying weapons for self-defense. And according to Alan Gottlieb, vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, European attitudes on firearm ownership are beginning to shift. “I just returned from a gun rights meeting in Belgium, and I can attest that all over Europe people now want the means to defend themselves. Self-defense is no longer a dirty word. In countries like Austria, where it is still legal to own a firearm, gun sales are at record levels.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ex Aussie PM Abbott Slams European Leaders: ‘Unlike You, We Now Control Our Borders’

LONDON, United Kingdom — Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lashed out at the “misguided” immigration policies of European leaders, including that of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, insisting: “unlike you, we now control our borders”.

Speaking at the Second Annual Margaret Thatcher Gala dinner in the City of London, Mr. Abbott told a crowd of Conservative Party MPs and supporters that seeing off radical Islam, as well as stopping migrants reaching Europe were the most critical battles in modern times.

He said, in a speech that received a mixed reception amongst the audience at the exclusive black-tie event: “All countries that say ‘anyone who gets here can stay here’ are now in peril, given the scale of the population movements that are starting to be seen. There are tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of people living in poverty and danger who might readily seek to enter a Western country if the opportunity is there.

“Who could blame them? Yet no country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself. This is the risk countries of Europe now run through misguided altruism.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Former Australian PM Warns Allowing Illegals Into Europe a “Catastrophic Error”

The former prime minister of Australia has told the leaders of Europe they must turn back the tide of illegal immigrants entering the continent or face catastrophe.

“No country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself,” Tony Abbott warned.

He said “too much mercy for some necessarily undermines justice for all.”

It is “misguided altruism” that is leading “much of Europe into catastrophic error.”

[Comment: It is planned destruction of the nation states of Europe in order to create a new EU superstate, not “misguided altruism”. Elite traitor leaders of Europe know EXACTLY what they are doing — following the Kaligri plan.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Germany Says Austrian Handling of Refugees ‘Out of Order’

German government accuses Austria of driving refugees to the border after dark so they can cross into Germany.

The German government accused Austria on Wednesday of driving refugees to the border after dark so they could cross into Germany and said it expected Vienna to return to an orderly processing of migrants immediately.

“The behaviour of Austria in recent days was out of order,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a news conference in Berlin, in the strongest public criticism of its neighbour since the refugee crisis deepened two months ago.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Germany to Send ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Migrants Back to Balkans

Germany will send thousands of rejected asylum applicants back to the Balkans in the coming months, the interior minister said Wednesday, as Berlin toughens its stance on economic migrants in the face of a refugee crisis.

“I expect that in the next weeks, the number of repatriations, voluntary returns and deportations will rise significantly,” Thomas de Maiziere said.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has been tasked with dealing with “many unresolved asylum applications” before Christmas, said the minister, adding “that means that tens of thousands of rejected asylum seekers from the Balkans would have to leave our country”…

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

Hundreds of Refugees in Germany “Mysteriously Disappear”; Local Authorities Clueless Where They Are

In the latest, and most bizarre yet, twist in Europe’s refugee crisis at least seven hundred of the roughly 4,000 asylum-seekers who had initially been accomodated by the German state of Lower Saxony have “mysteriously disappeared” according to a survey in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ).

Because many of the refugees hadn’t been registered yet, Germany’s The Local reports, nothing is known about who they are or where they might have gone; this has left the local authorities in the uncomfortable position of being completely clueless about who and where they can currently be found.

In one refugee centre in Lingen, the local member of parliament turned up for a visit on Saturday to find that over half of the 212 refugees brought to the centre had already left.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Immigrant Emergency: Flexibility for Accounts of Countries That Spend to Shelter Refugees

Refugee Quota Farce Leaves Italy Inundated

The plan was clear: 40,000 migrants to be transferred over two years. Eritreans and Syrians were to be taken away from Italy to be hosted in the EU states which had accepted the proposal drafted by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker. A month after signing the agreement designed to “lighten the load” in Greece and Hungary, after thousands of immigrant arrivals in recent months, the project has proved to be what many feared: a flop. To achieve its target, 80 foreigners would have had to leave Italy every day. But in a month, only 90 have moved on to other destinations: 40 to Sweden and 50 to Finland…

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

Italy: Asylum Seeker Detained for Attempted Rape

Allegedly attacked woman on her way to work

(ANSA) — Bologna, October 28 — A Senegalese asylum seeker was detained Tuesday after he allegedly tried to rape a woman.

Police say the 22-year-old suspect sexually assaulted a 48-year-old blue-collar worker in the village of Mezzolara di Budrio in Bologna province, while she was on her way to work. The victim said the man grabbed her from behind, groped her and tried to take her clothes off.

She resisted and called for help, and he fled when a vehicle approached. She then contacted Carabinieri police and gave a detailed description of the offender.

The victim then picked the suspect out of a photo lineup and also identified him without hesitation once he was picked up.

The man lived in a facility for asylum seekers, where he had been moved two weeks ago along with fellow Senegalese who had reached Sicily in a migrant boat.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

London is the TB Capital of Europe Due to Mass Migration and Poverty

MASS migration and poverty have sent rates of tuberculosis in parts of London soaring to levels higher than those in Rwanda, Eritrea and Iraq, according to a new report.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Middle Class Becoming “Radicalized” In Backlash Against Migrant Influx, Warn German Security Experts

A letter obtained by German newspaper Die Welt written by top security experts warns that the middle class in Germany is becoming “radicalized” in response to the migrant influx and that domestic unrest may occur as a result.

“The high influx of people from other parts of the world will lead to instability of our country,” a security official told the newspaper, adding that the middle class is becoming, “radicalized because they mostly do not want this immigration and it is forced by the political elite.”

The official notes that tension is so fraught over the situation that some Germans may even resort to breaking the law to express their grievances.

“The German security authorities are not and will not be able to fend off these imported vulnerabilities and the reactions they trigger among the German population,” states the letter.

The security experts warn that the integration of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants is simply not possible and that Angela Merkel’s policy will cause Islamist extremism and anti-Semitism to soar.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Migrants: Influx Into Germany Continues

About 5,500 arrivals in Bavaria yesterday, 2 risk drowning

(ANSA) — BERLIN — The influx of migrants into Germany continues: they enter the country crossing the border between Austria and Bavaria. According to a spokesman for the German federal police, about 5,500 people have arrived in Passau on Tuesday. About 8,000 arrivals had been recorded the previous day. Two migrants have almost drowned after they jumped, in dispair, into river Inn, which marks the border between Austria and Germany. Dragged into the current, the two migrants saved themselves by clinging to the pylon of a bridge, before being rescued by police.

This morning, the two reception centres located in Lower Bavaria — Passau and Ruhstorf — received, respectively, 1,700 and 1,000 migrants who will be redistributed to other centres in coming hours.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Refugee Crisis Puts an End to Merkel’s Golden Era

There are assumptions that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have to leave her post before the next elections in 2017 because the discontent over the current refugee crisis among German residents is growing, journalist Gideon Rachman wrote.

The migration crisis may put an end to the “golden era” of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the journalist wrote.Now when the country is planning to take more than a million refugees by the end of 2015, Merkel’s unusually high ratings are starting to fall and the anxiety of the German public is growing. Merkel is even facing criticism from members of her own party, with some of them assuming that the German leader may have to leave her post before the next elections.

“Even if she sees out a full term, the notion of a fourth Merkel administration, widely discussed a few months ago, now seems improbable,” the journalist wrote in Financial Times.

According to Rachman, the situation with refugees has got out of hand. The German public no longer accepts the arguments in favor of the newcomers from the Middle East. On the contrary, people are starting to protest against the inflow of migrants.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Migrants Refuse Free Luxury Holiday Homes With Own Swimming Pool Because They’re Too Rural

A GROUP of migrants relocated to Sweden have refused to get off a government bus because their new luxury homes were more rural than expected.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Thousands Demonstrate in Czech Republic Against Migrants

Thousands of people protested against migrants in towns around the Czech Republic on Wednesday, a week after the UN slammed the country’s treatment of new arrivals as “degrading”.

Up to 5,000 people took to the streets in Prague and four other towns on the country’s national day. In the capital, riot police intervened to separate anti-migrant protesters from around a hundred people staging a counter-demonstration.

Lutz Bachmann, the founder of Germany’s anti-Islam PEGIDA movement, was among the speakers to address the crowd in Prague…

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

UK: Illegal Immigrant Sex Attacker Dodges Deportation After Saying He’s a Syrian Refugee

AN illegal immigrant who attacked and sexually molested a woman within days of smuggling himself into Britain looks set to avoid deportation by claiming he is a Syrian refugee.

Despite authorities suspecting he is lying about his nationality, as well as his “frightening” criminal record, the predatory pervert will soon be free to walk the streets again.

His case makes a mockery of the British justice system and demonstrates how it is now almost impossible to deport foreign criminals due to overbearing human rights laws.

A court heard how Abdulrahman Abunasir continues to claim he is a Syrian refugee, despite the fact he allegedly told French authorities who detained him previously that he was Palestinian.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

Abortion Clinic That Killed Four Women in Botched Legal Abortions Closes Down

The Pro-Life Action League published a lengthy article earlier this year detailing a notorious Chicago abortion clinic’s repeated failure to comply with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) requirements, resulting in fines totaling $50,000.

The Albany Medical-Surgical Center abortion facility, run by the Family Planning Associates (FPA) chain, has long been notorious for not-safe-but-legal abortions, as witnessed chiefly by four (4) women who died following abortions performed there: Maria Rodriguez, Nakia Jorden, Maria Leho, and, most tragically of all, 13-year old Deanna Bell.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

High School Football Player Penalized for Pointing to Sky After Touchdown

Mexico High School quarterback Dante Turo believes it’s God who gives him the strength and abilities to be successful on the football field.

The junior team leader often points skyward after big plays as a tribute to the Almighty, and his 73-yard run for a touchdown against Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Oct. 17 was no exception, reports.

The solemn celebration, however, apparently didn’t sit well with one referee, who flagged the teen for unsportsmanlike conduct and assessed a 15-yard penalty that ultimately cost his team the game.

“I was just trying to give glory to God,” Turo told the news site. “I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong or anything that would merit … unsportsmanlike conduct.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Slovenia Approves Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

Constitutional Court declared admissibility

(ANSA) — LJUBLJANA — In the coming weeks, probably in December, the Slovenians will be voting, for the second time in four years, in a referendum on same-sex marriage and the right of same-sex couples to adopt children.

In recent days, the Constitutional Court declared the admissibility of the referendum on the new Family Code approved by parliament in March, by a large majority.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

State Cover-Up of Gosnell’s Abortion Horrors Exposed in New Groundbreaking Documentary

NEW YORK,—Beginning on November 10th, 2015, “3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy” is scheduled to premiere in 11 theaters across the country, with more theatrical and community screenings being added weekly. These theatrical screenings are dependent on each theater meeting a threshold of ticket sales. If the theaters don’t meet these thresholds by November 3rd, the screenings won’t happen. All of the proceeds from the film will go towards taking the film to more cities.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Video: Abortionist Says it Would be a “Great Idea” To Burn Unborn Babies as Fuel

As the Planned Parenthood aborted body parts saga rumbles on, fresh footage has emerged of an abortionist working at a separate institution suggesting that it would be wonderful to be able to burn aborted fetuses as fuel.

(The comments begin at 23 mins in.)

The previously unreleased footage, which was acquired by the Center For Medical Progress, was leaked by someone within the group.

As Life News reports, the video was filmed at the National Abortion Federation’s conference, where the abortion industry meets up to talk shop.

The NAF has attempted to block the release of the footage, which is why it has remained unreleased until now.

The video shows Renee Chelian, owner of the Northland Family Planning chain of abortion clinics, discussing how she has so many leftover aborted fetuses that she doesn’t know what to do with them.

[Comment: Worshippers of Molech still around.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Video: Laughing Abortionists ‘Pull Out Baby Hearts After Abortion, Just for Fun. It’s Cute’

An eleventh undercover video was released Tuesday by the Center For Medical Progress, again capturing officials at Planned Parenthood admitting to selling aborted body parts, and laughing about it.

This time an abortion doctor for Planned Parenthood in Austin, Texas. discusses harvesting the “intact” heads of late term aborted babies for research.

[Comment: This is what happens when poeple are brainwashed into thinking a developing baby is just a blob…and that it’s not human.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Don’t Think the Status Quo Will Save You

Many hold a touchingly naive faith that the Status Quo will save them even as the current system unravels. Why is this faith naive?

Let’s start with this key question: does the Status Quo strike you as being even remotely competent?

If you answer “yes,” we have to ask: what planet are you on? Mars? Here on Earth, no one that isn’t a bought-and-paid for-shill of the Status Quo would even make the risible claim of Status Quo competence, except as a bitter joke.

The Status Quo assumes we can’t deal with the truth like adults, and so it sugar-coats every unsolvable problem with lies and false assurances. The Status Quo assumption is the Great Unwashed 90% will shoot the messenger, i.e. toss out our public leadership should they be foolish enough to tell us the truth: the promises issued to you cannot possibly be fulfilled.

Not because of an evil cabal, but because the demographics and financial realities render the promises impossible to keep, regardless of who’s in office.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]

How Does Google Make You Stupid?

(NaturalNews) The Internet is quickly becoming the brain and storage bank for the human race. Instead of trying to remember a fact or tidbit with their own brains, people quickly turn to Google for answers. People rely on Google so much that the search engine is measurably destroying their very own long-term memory capabilities. An international survey led by Russia’s Kaspersky Labs has proven that Google-dependence is rotting people’s brains and giving them false perceptions of intelligence.

The international survey, which quizzed 6000 respondents, found that 36 percent of people go to Google for information instead of trying to remember it on their own. It gets worse with age: 40 percent of adults over age 45 automatically rely on Google searches for so-called knowledge.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

One thought on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/28/2015

  1. Re- Obama and the failure of gun control, (everywhere) isn’t trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, one of the definitions of insanity?
    One could argue it was insanity to elect Obama, but hey, look what my insane countrymen just did here in Canada, and Albertans did earlier in that formerly great (soon to be broke) province! OMG!
    It has to be something in the water.

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