Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/7/2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Dublin regulations — Schengen Area rules that prescribe the process for handling immigrants — have become obsolete. She says current circumstances require Europe-wide solutions, rather than actions by individual nations.

In other news, Russian naval forces struck the Islamic State with cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea, almost a thousand miles away from their targets.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Vederso, VM, 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
» Belgian Anti-Austerity Protest Draws Tens of Thousands
» IMF Warns of Potential Volatility From Up to $3 Trillion in Over-Borowing in Emerging Markets.
» Turkmenistan: Government Cuts Subsidies for Its Largely Impoverished Citizens
» Almost 70 Patients Tested for HIV and Hepatitis After Nurse is Caught Reusing a Syringe While Giving Flu Shots at New Jersey Offices
» Hillary’s it Staff Worried They Were Being Asked to Cover Up ‘Shady S**t’
» How Obama Will Get a Third Term
» Ivy League Prof. Calls Ben Carson a ‘Coon’
» Matt Drudge: Copyright Laws Could Outlaw Linking to Websites
» Monsanto’s Roundup, Glyphosate Found to Disturb Hormonal Balance
» Political Correctness, Not Critical Thinking, Is the Key to Our Demise
» Report Finds Female Marines Cannot Meet Some Standards for Special Forces
» The Problem Isn’t Guns or White Men
» Report Finds More Canadians Shunning Government School System
» There’s a New Class of Politicians and it Ain’t Pretty
Europe and the EU
» 4,000-Year-Old Sauna Found in Scotland
» British Supermarket Tesco Slides Into First-Half Loss
» Bronze Age Hoard May Have Been Left by Warrior Chieftain
» CERN Prepares to Test Revolutionary Mini-Accelerator
» Core Finding: Earth’s Frozen Center Formed a Billion Years Ago
» French Parents Tell of Losing Their Kids to Jihad
» Germany Counts Gold to Calm Conspiracists
» Italy: PM Covers Nude Statue to Spare Sheikh’s Blushes
» Italy: Property Taxes ‘Up 143% Between 2011 and 2014’
» Neolithic Earthwork Uncovered in England
» No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined U.S. Tech and Europeans’ Privacy
» Roma Evictions Triple in Italy Capital for Pope’s ‘Year of Mercy’
» Sarkozy Disciple Excluded From Regional Elections for Saying France is Nation of ‘White Race’
» Saudi in Italy Snub Over Planned Execution
» Scotland: 1,500-Year-Old Skeletons Represent Family Members
» Spain’s Podemos Vows Pragmatic Policies, Blasts France, Germany
» UK: Autistic Man Majid Akhtar ‘Drowned in Reservoir While His Carer Was on the Phone’
» UK: Norwich Man Alexander Kerry is Jailed for Battering Pauline King to Death
» Were the Lewis Chessmen Carved in Iceland?
» Bosnia Jails 4 Over Bid to Join IS in Syria
North Africa
» Algerian Security Forces Kill Long-Time ‘Dangerous Terrorist’ In East, Near Tunisian Border
Israel and the Palestinians
» Hamas Video Features Hebrew Song, ‘Kill the Zionists’
Middle East
» 4 Russian Warships Launch 26 Missiles Against ISIS From Caspian Sea
» Gunfire After Police Seal Saudi Shiite Town: Resident
» In Syria, Russia Chasing Chechens Once Again
» Italy: Anti-ISIS Bombing OK ‘But US Should Arm Drones’ Says Tricarico
» Obama Arms ISIS-Linked Militants, Pushes Gun Control on Very Same Day
» Pen Printer Prize Awarded to Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi, In Jail for “Insulting Islam”
» Post-Sanctions Iran to Launch 50 New Oil Projects: Official
» Russian Missiles ‘Hit is in Syria From Caspian Sea’
» Saudi Arabia May Lose Finances and Military Prestige in Yemeni Quagmire
» Syrian Regime Launches Ground Assault ‘Backed by Russian Air Strikes’, Monitor Says
» Syria: NGO: Massive Russian Raids on Hama, Idlib
» Syrian Regime Confirms Start to Ground Offensive
» Turkey: Armenian Neighborhoods Must be Turned Into “Cemeteries”
» Turkish PM’s Son Denies Fleeing to Italy
» US Officials Ask Toyota How ISIS Got So Many Trucks
» Watch Putin Hammer Obama: “Not Grounded in the Real World… Absolutely Unprofessional Politics”
» Russia’s Muslims Divided Over Syria Air Strikes
» Vladimir Putin Spends His Birthday Playing Hockey With Nhl Stars
South Asia
» U.S. Bombing of a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Was No Accident — “It Was the Target”
Far East
» China: Beijing “100%” Under Control With Cameras and Sensors
» In Beijing, ‘Big Brother’ Now Sees All
» Italian National Kidnapped in Philippines Muslim Rebel Area
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Ebola Countries Record First Week With No New Cases
Latin America
» Brazil’s Rousseff to be Investigated for Alleged Funds Misuse
» Los Abandandos — A New Film on the Murder Mystery of Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman
» Luis Fleischman: The Multiple Risks of the Colombia-FARC Agreement
» CDU ‘Rebels’ To Merkel, Changes Course on Migrants
» Close Quarters: Asylum Shelters in Germany Struggle With Violence
» Dublin Rules on Asylum ‘Obsolete’ German Chancellor Says
» Germany: Free Wifi for Refugees
» Italian-Chinese Youngsters Call for Citizenship Reform
» Julio Iglesias Joins Latin Celebrity Boycott of Donald Trump Over Immigration Remarks
» Obama’s Refugee Resettlement Plan Could Stir Battle With States
» Secret EU Plan to Throw Out Thousands of Migrants
Culture Wars
» Italy: Center Right Slams Revised Civil Unions Bill
» Sweden: World’s First Lesbian Bishop Calls for Church to Remove Crosses, To Install Muslim Prayer Space
» Trio Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Finding DNA Fixers

Belgian Anti-Austerity Protest Draws Tens of Thousands

Tens of thousands of Belgian protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Wednesday to rally against austerity measures introduced by the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel, police and trade unions said.

Brussels police said 81,000 demonstrators turned out while the main union organising the protest put the number at 100,000, making it one of the biggest rallies of its kind in Belgium in recent years.

The demonstrations in the capital were peaceful so far, but Belgian television reported isolated clashes between dockers from the Flemish-speaking northern port city of Antwerp and the security forces…

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

IMF Warns of Potential Volatility From Up to $3 Trillion in Over-Borowing in Emerging Markets.

The biggest risks to the global economy are now in emerging markets, where private companies have racked up considerable debt amid a fifth straight year of slowing growth, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday.

“We estimate that there is up to $3 trillion in over-borrowing in emerging markets,” Jose Vinals, a top IMF official, said in presenting the body’s Global Financial Stability report at its annual meeting.

He told reporters that an unprecedented lending spree has come to an end with the plunge in prices for oil, minerals and other commodities that economists attribute to China’s slowdown.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkmenistan: Government Cuts Subsidies for Its Largely Impoverished Citizens

Since 1993 in Turkmenistan has provided its citizens with free access to water, electricity and natural gas. In 2007, the new president introduced limitations. Overall subsidies represent 22% of GDP. The global economic crisis is reducing the government’s finances. The country consumes 36.7% of the natural gas it produces. “The time has come to move to market relations. Now we must all learn to pay,” a government official said.

Ashgabat (AsiaNews) — The Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan is considering abandoning the socio-economic system, in place since independence over 20 years ago, that the government has used to placate the population. At a meeting of the Council of Elders, on September 10, several members of this government advisory body voiced the idea that the time has come for consumers in Turkmenistan to pay a market price for their electricity, natural gas and water (Rosbalt, September 14). To date, these utilities have been generously subsidized.

Since 1993, people in Turkmenistan have enjoyed free access to natural gas (which is the most abundant resource of the country), water and electricity. The free supply of these resources is mostly associated with modern Turkmenistan’s first president Saparmurat Niyazov (a.k.a. Turkmenbashi) who introduced them first for ten years and then extended them until 2030. After his inauguration in 2007, Niyazov’s successor, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, maintained the subsidies but set maximum caps on free usage: 120 liters of free gasoline a month for passenger cars, 35 free kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per person per month, and 600 cubic meters of natural gas per person per year (, September 25). Turkmenistanis now had to pay for the consumption of water, gas, electricity and gasoline beyond the allowed amounts. In addition, Turkmenistan’s population of 5.2 million has enjoyed extremely low rates for general utilities, public transportation, low-priced bread and subsidized housing loans.

Gradually, under Berdimuhamedov, the government started attempts to curb the subsidies. Over the past eight years, the price of gasoline has increased ten times, subsidies for flour and meat were reduced as early as 2012, monthly allocations of free electricity per person were reduced from 35 kWh to 25 kWh in 2013, free gasoline rations were removed entirely in 2014, while the price for natural gas increased to 20 manats ($7) per 1,000 cubic meters on consumption above the maximum allocated free amount of 50 cubic meters per person (, September 24). The government started ordering the installation of gas and water meters—something that Turkmenistanis have never used before—across the country’s entire territory.

With current global decline in natural gas prices and consequent sharp reductions in government export revenues, Ashgabat is most likely to end the subsidies completely—”responding” to the people’s will, as voiced by the Council of Elders. Under some estimates, the subsidies consume more than 22 percent of GDP in Turkmenistan. A representative of the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Economic Development was cited saying that “The time has come to move to market relations. Now we must all learn to pay” (, September 25).

Natural gas remains the country’s biggest resource, and household subsidies have led to domestic overconsumption, with households virtually never switching off their homes’ gas flows. Currently, Turkmenistan consumes around 36.7 percent of the natural gas produced, which is probably high for a population of 5.2 million, even considering emerging local gas processing capacities. Kazakhstan, for example, consumes 24 percent of its gas production, or 4.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) against 22.9 bcm in Turkmenistan (, June 2015). Thus, the reduction of domestic gas consumption may help to increase gas exports.

This will be particularly advantageous as Turkmenistan is facing a drastic reduction in gas export options. With Russia’s decision to decrease gas purchases from Turkmenistan to 4 billion cubic meters per year in 2015, Turkmenistan has been relying overwhelmingly on China as its main customer. Out of a total of 48 bcm expected to be extracted this year, Turkmenistan is planning to deliver 40 bcm to China (Natural Gas Europe, February 10). At the same time, trade with China remains unprofitable: traded gas volumes are used by the government in Ashgabat to repay the debt it contracted with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) for the construction of the China—Central Asia gas pipeline and the development of the Galkynysh gas field (Central Asia Policy Brief, June 2015).

The rising dependence on China as well as shrinking gas export earnings are prompting Turkmenistan to search for new export routes. The planned Turkmenistan—Afghanistan—Pakistan—India (TAPI) pipeline is probably the only insurance against a prolonged economic slowdown in China. President Berdimuhamedov has recently announced that all practical issues for TAPI’s implementation had been resolved (, September 18). It is therefore expected that the construction of the pipeline will begin in December this year. Yet, many experts continue to raise doubts over the project’s feasibility because of inflexible investment conditions and an unstable transit route through Afghanistan (see EDM, December 14, 2010; July 28, 2015; Christian Science Monitor, September 25).

Aside from Turkmenistan’s gas diversification goal, an economic program, recently announced by the president, prioritizes support for industrial development, a large-scale investment program, and a mix of import substitution and export promotion measures, particularly for agriculture and food production (, September 10). These efforts to diversify the economy—which resemble the policy packages from other energy-dependent countries of the region such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (see EDM, October 1, 2012; November 19, 2013; July 6, 2015; September 18, 2015)—are unlikely to be effective. Political constraints continue to limit the development of these countries’ private sectors (, September 24). Like in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan’s government based its social contract with the population on promises of economic well-being. And subsidies were a major part of state ideology, professing Turkmenistan to be different from other “capitalistic” countries of the region. Unlike Uzbekistan, however, Turkmenistan lacks the efficient state apparatus to fully control domestic affairs, despite constant purges in the government and the president’s personal engagement on many issues.

In addition, prices in the country are likely to increase following the devaluation of Turkmenistan’s currency, the manat, on January 1, 2015. Although price controls have, so far, successfully restrained inflation, the pass-through effects of the manat’s devaluation and lower state subsidies for electricity, fuel and public transportation will likely bring about marginally higher prices for food, construction materials, services and public utilities (ADB Outlook, September 2015). And with broadly low wages as well as the low quality of education and health care, it remains to be seen what the authorities can offer the population to compensate for breaking the previous social contract.

Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation

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

Almost 70 Patients Tested for HIV and Hepatitis After Nurse is Caught Reusing a Syringe While Giving Flu Shots at New Jersey Offices

Dozens of co-workers are being screened for HIV and hepatitis after a nurse was found reusing a syringe to administer flu shots.

Employees at Otsuka Pharmaceutical, who received the vaccination at their offices in Princeton, New Jersey on September 30, have been warned they may have been exposed to ‘infected blood.’

Almost 70 patients have now been called in for testing but face a long, anxious wait as it can be months before serious infections such as HIV show up in blood work.

Healthcare provider TotalWellness confirmed that the nurse contracted to carry out the flu shots had ‘failed to follow proper medical procedures and safeguards.’

Officials have not yet revealed whether disciplinary action will be taken against the nurse.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hillary’s it Staff Worried They Were Being Asked to Cover Up ‘Shady S**t’

Employees at the Denver-based IT company that Hillary Clinton hired in 2013 to manage her private email network expressed concern that they were “covering up” something “shady.”

That’s according to a letter sent Monday by Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson to Austin McChord, the CEO of Datto Inc., a Connecticut-based computer cloud storage company.

According to Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, a Clinton family company called the Clinton Executive Services Corp. hired the Denver company, Platte River Networks, on May 31, 2013 to oversee Clinton’s private email network. Platte River in turn hired Datto to create a virtual backup server of Clinton’s emails.

During most of her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton used a server that she housed in her Chappaqua, N.Y. home. But data from that device was transferred to a Datto server controlled by Platte River, which housed the new hardware at a New Jersey data center.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How Obama Will Get a Third Term

Make no mistake about this election’s outcome: If a Democrat wins the 2016 presidency, Obama will run him/her from the safety of the sidelines.

Looks like Barack Obama has a third term as POTUS in the bag, and won’t be needing martial law or any other draconic measure to make it happen.

All Obama needs to remain in power and to press ahead with his deadly Fundamental Transformation of America is for a Democrat—any Democrat—to win the 2016 presidency. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and his twin sister Elizabeth ‘Fauxcahontas’ Warren or the shop-worn and decrepit Bernie Sanders will do.

All Democrats pay homage to the hating-America obsessed Obama, and all would do his bidding once having gained the Oval Office. The Messiah, who came from their midst, is after all their very own creation.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ivy League Prof. Calls Ben Carson a ‘Coon’

University of Pennsylvania Professor Anthea Butler called Presidential Candidate Ben Carson a “coon” for claiming that people have the right to display Confederate flags on private property.

“If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award…” Professor Butler tweeted in response to another tweet linking to a Sports Illustrated article in which Carson was quoted defended the right of NASCAR fans to fly Confederate flags during races.

“Swastikas are a symbol of hate for some people too … and yet they still exist in our museums and places like that,” Carson observed during the event in North Carolina with NASCAR legend Richard Petty. “If it’s a majority of people in that area who want it to fly, I certainly wouldn’t take it down,” he added, noting that NASCAR races are held on private property.

The word “coon” is an offensive term to slander Africans, deriving from the Portuguese word “barracoos,” which is a hut-like dwelling used to store slaves during auctions, according to Online Etymology.

In effect, then, Butler’s tweet insinuated that Carson is a metaphorical slave who belongs in a wooden shed.

[Comment: Typical democrat aka communist.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Matt Drudge: Copyright Laws Could Outlaw Linking to Websites

“I had a Supreme Court Justice say to me it’s over”.

Matt Drudge warns that the very foundation of the free Internet is under severe threat from copyright laws that could ban independent media outlets, revealing that he was told directly by a Supreme Court Justice, “It’s over for me.”

During an appearance on the Alex Jones Show, Drudge asserted that copyright laws which prevent websites from even linking to news stories were being advanced.

“I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me,” said Drudge. “They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.”

“To have a Supreme Court Justice say to me it’s over, they’ve got the votes, which means time is limited,” he added, noting that a day was coming when simply operating an independent website could be outlawed.

“That will end (it) for me — fine — I’ve had a hell of a run,” said Drudge, adding that web users were being pushed into the cyber “ghettos” of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“This is ghetto, this is corporate, they’re taking your energy and you’re getting nothing in return — nothing!”

[Comment: This is how dissemination of truth will be supressed.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Monsanto’s Roundup, Glyphosate Found to Disturb Hormonal Balance

A group of scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IIS) has researched the commonly used herbicide, Roundup, and found that it damages the endocrine system and disrupts hormonal balance in rats.

Prof Medhamurthy Rudraiah at MRDG, IISC, and his student Aparamita Pandey say that Roundup can cause imbalances in the synthesis of steroid hormones in male rats. Their paper on the subject was recently published in the journal Toxicology Reports.

Monsanto’s Roundup primarily kills weeds by inhibiting enzymes that synthesize aromatic amino acids (the basic building blocks that make up proteins) essential for plant development.

Most mammals, including humans, do not make the enzymes that would allow us to synthesize these aromatic amino acids. This is largely why Monsanto has claimed that Roundup is considered ‘safe and non-toxic.’ Recent studies, however, have suggested that glyphosate, the primary constituent of Roundup, could be a carcinogen, and could affect the development of the fetus as well as disrupt hormonal functioning.

A correlation study published in the Journal of Organic Systems has even linked glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, to an enormous increase in chronic diseases across the United States.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Political Correctness, Not Critical Thinking, Is the Key to Our Demise

We have all heard it before. Students at colleges and universities around the country are demanding that anyone who has a differing opinion than their own should be tarred, feathered, banned and removed from their sight. Student groups claim that inviting anyone with a differing opinion onto their campus threatens their very safety or well-being. Sound ridiculous? Leaders at these educational institutions are listening to these demands resulting in the creation of a generation that is single-minded, self-absorbed, and intolerant of others all while the same generation demands a voice, respect and tolerance from others.

What happened to “teaching our kids how to think and not what to think?” This old adage is truly at the core of critical thinking and should be practiced at all learning institutions around the country. When a university or college stops exposing our children to differing opinions or ways of life, then we are doomed to live a life that no longer offers diversity, but demands that we all live, act and believe the same.

In a recent article by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, on the September cover of the Atlantic,

“In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like and seeking punishment of those who give even accidental offense. This is disastrous for education and likely to worsen mental health on campus.”

[Comment: Youth are intentionally taught to make judgements and decisions on emotions, the “reptile” part of the brain. Such people are more easily manipulated to follow any bankster agenda. A population that thinks critically and logically would flush bankster agenda’s down the toilet where they belong.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Report Finds Female Marines Cannot Meet Some Standards for Special Forces

A report conducted by the U.S. Marine Corps on integrating women into all military units concluded that even the top female troops likely cannot cut it in the special forces — even though they typically have better disciplinary records and perform better at problem solving.

A copy of the report, titled “United States Marine Corps Assessment of Women in Service Assignments,” was obtained by The 37-page document was prepared by a brigadier general for the USMC commandant ahead of the Jan. 1, 2016, deadline for implementation of full gender equality in every area of the military.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

The Problem Isn’t Guns or White Men

The media act as if they’re performing a public service by refusing to release details about the perpetrator of the recent mass shooting at a community college in Oregon. But we were given plenty of information about Dylan Roof, Adam Lanza, James Holmes and Jared Loughner. Now, quick: Name the mass shooters at the Chattanooga military recruitment center; the Washington Navy Yard; the high school in Washington state; Fort Hood (the second time) and the Christian college in California. All those shootings also occurred during the last three years.

The answers are: Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, Kuwaiti; Aaron Alexis, black, possibly Barbadian-American; Jaylen Ray Fryberg, Indian; Ivan Antonio Lopez, Hispanic; and One L. Goh, Korean immigrant. (While I’m here: Why are we bringing in immigrants who are mentally unstable?)

There’s a rigid formula in media accounts of mass shootings: If possible, blame it on angry white men; when that won’t work, blame it on guns.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Report Finds More Canadians Shunning Government School System

A growing number of Canadians across the country are giving up on the government education system, says a new report from a conservative think-tank in the Great White North.

According to the Fraser Institute’s report entitled “Where Our Students are Educated: Measuring Student Enrolment in Canada,” private school enrollment is up 17 percent, while government school enrollment has gone down eight percent.

The study discovered that enrollment soared in independent schools and decreased for government schools in nearly every province between school years 2000/2001 and 2012/2013.

“While education is funded and delivered differently across the provinces, we’re seeing a greater number of parents in the vast majority of provinces choosing to have their children educated outside of the public school system,” said Deani Van Pelt, study author and director of the Fraser Institute’s Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education.

[Comment: Because the government schools have turned into indoctrination centres for propagdanzing the ideologies of the new world worder.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

There’s a New Class of Politicians and it Ain’t Pretty

If Johnstone and Tabbara are any indication of the quality of some of the candidates out there, Canada is in for a lot of repeating of history.

As election campaigns heat up, such as the one leading to Canada’s federal election that will be held on October 19, there are a lot of candidates that say some things they later regret. These types of comments range from the truly racist and bigoted to those perceived to be so in this politically correct world that the left like to refer to as “microagressions.”

In the last few years, with the prominence of social media these types of comments are on display for the whole world to see. Now, not only do parties and others who oppose a particular party record these social media comments; they research social media sites and dredge up comments made years ago. How relevant these comments are will be for the voters to decide.

But now, with the widespread use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, we have a brand new class of candidates. It is not that these people are necessarily bigoted and racist; it is the fact they call into question whether or not these candidates are bright enough to function in society let alone be elected to a responsible position in the Parliament of Canada.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

4,000-Year-Old Sauna Found in Scotland

ORKNEY, SCOTLAND—A rare, almost complete underground building dating to the Bronze Age has been discovered on the periphery of the prehistoric Links of Noltland, an archaeological site on the island of Westray. The building may have been used as a sweat house or sauna and for ritual activities. It may also have served as a place where women could give birth, and the sick and elderly could come to die. “We know this was a large building, with a complex network of cells attached to it and a sizeable tank of water in the central structure which would likely have been used to produce boiling water and steam—which could have been used to create a sauna effect,” Rod McCullagh of Historic Scotland said in a press release. Heated stones would have been placed in the tank to heat the water.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

British Supermarket Tesco Slides Into First-Half Loss

Britain’s biggest retailer, supermarket group Tesco, said Wednesday it had fallen into a net loss during its first half, partly on costs linked to an accounting scandal.

Losses after tax stood at £365 million ($557 million, 494 million euros) in the six months to the end of August, compared with a net profit of £6.0 million during the corresponding period a year earlier, Tesco said in an earnings statement.

“We have delivered an unprecedented level of change in our business over the last 12 months and it is working,” chief executive Dave Lewis said.

Tesco is seeking to overhaul its business after reporting the biggest annual loss in its near 100-year history of £5.74 billion for the year to February…

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

Bronze Age Hoard May Have Been Left by Warrior Chieftain

Two Bronze Age hoards have been discovered at Tartaria-Podu Tartariei vest, a site in a small ravine in southern Transylvania, according to a report in Live Science. One of the eighth-century hoards consisted of 300 artifacts, while the other had 50 objects. Both contained parts of horse harnesses, double axes, short swords, spears, brooches, foot and arm bracelets, pendants, torques, beads, and hairpins. “The majority of the objects are made of bronze, yet there are also weapons and tools made of iron,” Corina Bors of the National History Museum of Romania said in a presentation at the recent meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. She thinks that the hoards may have been left as gifts for the gods.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

CERN Prepares to Test Revolutionary Mini-Accelerator

Machines that ‘surf’ particles on electric fields could reach high energies at a lower price.

The home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator, is getting a new machine — and this time, the whole point is to keep it small.

On 18 September, the council that governs CERN, Europe’s premier particle-physics laboratory, near Geneva, Switzerland, approved a boost in funding for a planned experiment called the Advanced Wakefield Experiment, or AWAKE. Due to switch on next year, AWAKE will accelerate particles by ‘surfing’ them on waves of electric charge created in a plasma, or ionized gas. It is a method that could allow future accelerators to probe matter and the forces of nature at ever-higher energies, without the usual accompanying increase in the instruments’ size and therefore cost.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Core Finding: Earth’s Frozen Center Formed a Billion Years Ago

The Pluto-size ball of solid iron that makes up Earth’s inner core formed between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years ago, according to new research.

What’s more, the new findings suggest that Earth’s magnetic field, which is powered by the swirling flow of liquid iron surrounding the inner core, could continue going strong for quite a while, said study co-author Andy Biggin, a paleomagnetism researcher at the University of Liverpool in England. (Paleomagnetism is the study of the record of the Earth’s magnetic field in rocks, sediment or archaeological materials.)

The surprising longevity of Earth’s geodynamo, as well as the inner core’s glacial pace of cooling, is in stark contrast with that on Mars. A strong magnetic field once blocked streams of solar wind on the Red Planet, but that field vanished after just 500 million years. The lack of protection from solar radiation could explain why Earth is teeming with life, while Mars (may) harbor no life at all, according to a July study in the journal Science.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

French Parents Tell of Losing Their Kids to Jihad

A group of French parents, whose sons and daughters left home to fight jihad after converting to Islam, have spoken out about their suffering and constant anguish as part of a moving new government TV campaign.

“I am doing this, because it makes me feel better and I want to call out to my son and tell him ‘We love you, your place is not there but here.”

These are the words of Veronique, whose 23-year-old son Quentin, converted to radical Islam before fleeing the family home in France to head to the Middle East a year ago.

After a family weekend, the young Frenchman told his parents he was going to Germany, but disappeared without a trace.

One month later he eventually called them. Although he declined to say where he was, the GPS on his phone revealed he was in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Germany Counts Gold to Calm Conspiracists

The Bundesbank (Federal Bank) has released a detailed list of all the gold Germany owns, hoping to settle fears it has been exaggerating its wealth.

The Bundesbank’s catalogue stretches to 2,300 pages, listing every bar of gold Germany owns, where it is, how much it weighs and how much of that weight is gold.

It shows that Germany owns 270,316 bars of gold stored in four countries — giving it the second -highest gold reserves in the world behind the USA.

But the majority of that wealth is not stored in Germany, with the biggest stock housed in New York while other reserves lie in Paris and London.

The largest gold reserves in the world are in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where many countries house their gold.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: PM Covers Nude Statue to Spare Sheikh’s Blushes

A naked statue in Florence was covered by the Italian premier Matteo Renzi’s team so as not to offend the visiting crown prince of Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The statue features a naked man in Greco-Roman style balancing a blue mirrored sphere on his shoulder.

In many Arab cultures, including Abu Dhabi, public nudity is prohibited in any form but it is not known whether the statue was covered due to a specific request by the Sheikh’s team or out of caution by the premier’s staff.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Property Taxes ‘Up 143% Between 2011 and 2014’

ANCE tells House finance committee

(ANSA) — Rome, October 7 — Italian property taxes rose from 9.8 billion euros in 2011, when ICI was in force, to 23.9 billion in 2014 under the combined effect of IMU and TASI, the Italian municipalities’ association ANCE told the House finance committee Wednesday — a rise of 143.5% in just three years.

Premier Matteo Renzi has vowed that IMU snd TASI will be abolished in the 2016 budget bill, now being put together.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Neolithic Earthwork Uncovered in England

A Neolithic earthwork consisting of three roughly concentric ditches enclosing an area of high ground overlooking the valley of the River Thame has been discovered by archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology and Cotswold Archaeology. Called a causewayed enclosure, such structures were made with short ditches and banks of earth separated by areas of undug ground, and are the earliest-known kinds of enclosures of open spaces. A small henge monument and a smaller ring-ditch were added later in the Neolithic period. This causewayed enclosure is thought to have been a place where people gathered periodically for rituals and other activities.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined U.S. Tech and Europeans’ Privacy

The spread of knowledge about the NSA’s surveillance programs has shaken the trust of customers in U.S. Internet companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple: especially non-U.S. customers who have discovered how weak the legal protections over their data is under U.S. law. It should come as no surprise, then, that the European Court of Justice (CJEU) has decided that United States companies can no longer be automatically trusted with the personal data of Europeans.

The court, by declaring invalid the safe harbor which currently permits a sizeable amount of the commercial movement of personal data between the EU and the U.S., has signaled that PRISM and other government surveillance undermine the privacy rights that regulates such movements under European law. In the word’s of the court’s press release:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Roma Evictions Triple in Italy Capital for Pope’s ‘Year of Mercy’

Forced evictions of ethnic Roma in the Italian capital have more than tripled since Pope Francis announced a special “year of mercy” which sent the city on a clean-up spree, campaigners said Monday.

After the pontiff declared the Jubilee Year of Mercy in March, Rome carried out 64 forced evictions which “violate international law and human rights”, the pro-Roma group Associazione 21 Luglio said.

News of the holy year, which begins in December and is expected to draw millions of pilgrims, threw graffiti-covered Rome — struggling with traffic, transport and garbage problems — into a clean-up frenzy…

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

Sarkozy Disciple Excluded From Regional Elections for Saying France is Nation of ‘White Race’

The conservative party of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday excluded one of its most high-profile figures from running in December regional elections after she said that France is a “country of the white race,” a remark that caused a scandal reaching beyond the party.

Nadine Morano, minister for professional training when Sarkozy was in office, was unanimously voted off a list in eastern France by the investiture committee of The Republicans, as the former UMPS party is known after a recent name change.

Sarkozy had relied on Morano to stretch the reach of his party to the far right. But her remark Sept. 26 on a popular talk show, repeated several times, caused an uproar — at least in part because it failed to acknowledge the far-flung French population in places like Guadeloupe. It also reduced to non-French the millions of citizens mainly of Arab origin, from North Africa, and others from sub-Saharan Africa.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi in Italy Snub Over Planned Execution

The International Book Fair in Turin has rescinded its offer to Saudi Arabia to be the guest of honour at next year’s event due to human rights concerns as the country prepares to publicly execute a 21-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Nimr.

The spectacular snub provoked outrage from the Saudi ambassador to Italy, Rayed Krimly.

Krimly appealed to Italy not to meddle in his country’s “internal affairs” and not to try to give lessons on human rights, Corriere della Sera reported.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Scotland: 1,500-Year-Old Skeletons Represent Family Members

The remains of nine people unearthed in 1975 in Cramond, Scotland, during the excavation of a Roman bath house and fort have been re-examined with modern scientific techniques. It had been thought that the dead were victims of a medieval bubonic plague, but the new test results show that the bones belong to more than one generation of a single family and date to the sixth century A.D. Two of the men had multiple healed wounds and may have been warriors, and one of the women died from violent blows to the head. Researchers now think that the family may lived in a royal stronghold at Cramond Fort.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain’s Podemos Vows Pragmatic Policies, Blasts France, Germany

The head of Spain’s radical left party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, vowed Tuesday to implement a pragmatic programme if he wins a year-end general election.

In an interview with AFP, Iglesias, a member of the European Parliament, also accused Socialist French President Francois Hollande of being “cowardly” towards Germany and letting Berlin dominate Europe’s affairs.

Founded in early 2014, Podemos — which means “We Can” — shook up Spanish politics with its rapid growth but appears to have stalled in third place in opinion surveys.

With less than three months to go until Spain’s December 20 election, Iglesias said he was determined to “win the game”…

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

UK: Autistic Man Majid Akhtar ‘Drowned in Reservoir While His Carer Was on the Phone’

Majid Akhtar, 28, who had the mental age of a four-year-old, drowned in Kings Mill Reservoir, Mansfield, after carer Nikki Deaney spent 19 minutes on the phone to her boyfriend, an inquest heard.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Norwich Man Alexander Kerry is Jailed for Battering Pauline King to Death

Alexander Kerry, 23, of Norwich, broke into the dilapidated home of ‘reclusive spinster’ Pauline King, 84, and beat her to death with two hammers.

Alexander Kerry had a criminal record including violence and disorderly behaviour dating back to his teens. Miss King lived alone and her house was said to have been an easy target for burglars.

She confronted Alexander Kerry, who had recently been released from a psychiatric unit, as he broke into the property in Norwich through a rear window in the early hours of February 22.

‘Using two hammers he found in the kitchen he launched a brutal and sustained attack,’ Mr Jackson said. He then dragged her through the house and carried on the attack with a kitchen knife.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Were the Lewis Chessmen Carved in Iceland?

The skeletons and tusks of 50 walruses have been found since the late nineteenth century on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in western Iceland. According to Iceland Magazine, recent carbon dating of the bones indicates that they are at least 2,000 years old, and probably came from a large walrus colony that lived on the island before the arrival of the Vikings. Thus, early colonists would have had access to walrus ivory and bone for trade and for carving their own works of art. The new evidence supports the idea that the Lewis Chessmen, discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, could have originated in Iceland. This had been suggested because the “bishop” pieces in the twelfth-century set are dressed in ceremonial clothing as bishops, as they were called in the Icelandic language. In English and other Scandinavian and Germanic languages of the time, the pieces that moved as “bishops” were known as “runners” or “messengers.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Bosnia Jails 4 Over Bid to Join IS in Syria

A Bosnian judge on Tuesday jailed two men for trying to join jihadists in Syria and another pair for helping them, in the first verdict over Islamic State recruitment in the Balkan country.

Nevad Husidic, 29, and Merim Keserovic, 19, both received a year-long sentence for planning to join the Islamic State group in Syria.

And Husein Erdic, 33, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for organising their trip, which took about a year.

Husidic and Keserovic were arrested in February at Sarajevo airport as they were about to travel to Turkey where a network was in place to help them reach Syria…

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

Algerian Security Forces Kill Long-Time ‘Dangerous Terrorist’ In East, Near Tunisian Border

The Algerian Defense Ministry says its security forces have killed a “dangerous terrorist” active since 1995 in an eastern region near the border with Tunisia.

A ministry statement on Wednesday said that Bakari Ali, whose nom de guerre was Abou El-Hacen, was killed a day earlier in the Tebessa region. Weapons including an automatic pistol and a Kalashnikov were seized along with munitions, explosives and portable phones.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Hamas Video Features Hebrew Song, ‘Kill the Zionists’

Rising calls for ‘another intifada’ on the Internet

(by Aldo Baquis) — TEL AVIV — “Those who believe are never afraid”. These words, written by a rabbi two centuries ago, have been recycled by the military wing of Hamas in a ‘psychological war’ video calling for an uprising against “Zionist usurpers”, using mockingly an Israeli song popular a decade ago. In the new video (,7340,L-4707797,00.html), the armed believers are members of Hamas’s Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades and the young Palestinians that have been killed in recent days in attacks in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. “We are God’s fighters,” say the copywriters of the Palestinian Islamic movement. “We have been sent to eliminate Zionists with fire, swords and missiles.” Against a fast-paced ‘Mi-Shema’amin’ — performed in its heyday by Israeli singer Eyal Golan — are images that show the Palestinians’ ever more intense fight against the “usurpers” who have “black days” in store for them. Images of well-known Israeli generals such as Moshe Dayan and Ariel Sharon are shown going up in flames. The message of the video is that “the future belongs to Palestinian fighters”. The last scene shows an El Al plan taking off, implying that Israelis who cherish their lives have time to leave Palestine of their own accord. Another video has been circulating on Palestinian social networks in recent days showing a young Palestinian stabbing two Orthodox Jews repeatedly in the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as one that “teaches” how best to attack victims.

The incitement to a ‘new intifada’ — warn several analysts — by now comes more online than through Palestinian politics, rendering it more difficult to contain.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

4 Russian Warships Launch 26 Missiles Against ISIS From Caspian Sea

By Dylan Vosman

Four Russian Navy warships have fired a total of 26 missiles at the position of the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced. The missiles were fired from the Caspian Sea.

The missile attacks came from Russia’s fleet in the Caspian Sea, near the northern coast of Iran. The precision weapons hit all intended targets. The attacks apparently required cooperation from Iran and Iraq, as the missiles had to travel through their airspace to reach Syria.

Earlier, Russian warships played a key part in deploying the Russian warplanes to Syria, delivering equipment and supplies to an air base near Latakia and the Navy’s old base in Tartus.

Russia has spent a week delivering airstrikes at terrorist forces in Syria, conducting over 120 combat sorties. Now the Navy is joining Russia’s Air Force in the operation.

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

Gunfire After Police Seal Saudi Shiite Town: Resident

Gunfire erupted in a Shiite town in Saudi Arabia Wednesday after police sealed it off with armoured vehicles, a resident said.

Awamiya, near Dammam on the Gulf coast, has been the scene of repeated incidents since protests by the minority Shiite community began in 2011.

The resident said he saw black smoke rising over farms in the community of about 30,000 people when police moved in mid-afternoon.

“It was seen in all Awamiya,” after black armoured vehicles sealed off the area…

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

In Syria, Russia Chasing Chechens Once Again

While Russian President Vladimir Putin’s air campaign in Syria may have other aims, one result seems to be that it is hitting Islamists from Russia’s Caucasus, say analysts.

High on the list of places Russia appears to have targeted are positions held by the Al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda associate with a high concentration of fighters from Chechnya, Dagestan and Muslim ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia.

At the weekend, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the mission aimed at protecting Russia itself.

“It’s better to do it abroad rather than fight terrorism inside the country,” he said.

The presence of Islamists from the Caucasus is not the decisive factor for unleashing Russia’s military might, said Syria specialist Thomas Pierret from the University of Edinburgh.

Even so, the presence of Chechens on the ground effectively makes it “the third round of Russian-Chechen conflict,” Pierret said.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Anti-ISIS Bombing OK ‘But US Should Arm Drones’ Says Tricarico

‘Pinetti must press Carter’ says ex-air force chief

(ANSA) — Rome, October 6 — Using Italy’s Tornado jets to bomb ISIS in Iraq would be a “significant” step but it would be even better if the US agrees to arm Italy’s Predator drones against the Caliphate, former air force chief of staff Leonardo Tricarico told ANSA Tuesday.

Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, who will meet US Defence Secretary Ash Carter Wednesday, should press him about getting the armed versions of the drones, said Tricarico, a former military advisor to the Italian premier’s office.

“The debate that has opened on possible Italian bombing,” Tricarico said, “is consistent with the somnolence and lack of desire with which the international community has decided to fight the so-called Islamic State.

“If we really want to hit ISIS all of us need to roll up up their sleeves and put into the field everything they have got to give to take the place of a coalition that has thus far proved not very effective,” he went on. Tricarico, president of the ICSA Foundation, went on to criticise France’s initiative to conduct raids against ISIS targets, calling it “a sign of the extreme superficiality with which action is being taken”.

As for Italy, the general said “if our Tornadoes are authorised not only for reconnaissance but also as strikers, there’s no scandal there, despite the usual pacifist hysteria that is re-awoken every time in these cases.

“The decision could skip the parliamentary rubberstamp but in actual fact this seems to be obligatory because the initiative sparks alarm among public opinion,” Tricarico went on to say.

The fighter-bombers, he said, “are aircraft fit for purpose, they have shown this over the years: they can hit targets with elevated precision and a margin of error of a metre”.

But Tricarico insisted on what he called the “bizarre” Predator question.

“We have had the Predators for almost 11 years, but we still haven’t got a weapons license the US administration has to give out for them.

“Evidently, they don’t consider us to be allies that are reliable as the British and so they aren’t giving us the weapons kit that would make our Predators much more useful than the Tornadoes in that theatre”.

Tricarico insisted: “I think that Pinotti must seize the opportunity, to speak with her US colleague and put an end to an embarrassing situation”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama Arms ISIS-Linked Militants, Pushes Gun Control on Very Same Day

President Obama authorized a shipment of guns to the Syrian opposition, a.k.a. ISIS-linked militants, on the exact same day he demanded more gun control in response to the Oregon shooting.

Even more shocking, Obama did the very same thing after the 2013 D.C. Navy Yard shooting.

The president approved the re-arming of the Syrian opposition, which predominantly consists of ISIS and its affiliates, on Oct. 1, the same day Obama suggested the U.S. should start banning guns after the Umpqua Community College shooting.

“The approval came at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday,” CNN reported. “…The President also emphasized to his team that the U.S. would continue to support the Syrian opposition as Russia enters the war-torn country.”

Virtually all of the rebels in Syria have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State since at least 2013.

And while Obama is arming these Islamic extremists who are beheading Christians and throwing gays off of buildings, he’s trying to disarm peaceful, law-abiding Americans.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pen Printer Prize Awarded to Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi, In Jail for “Insulting Islam”

The activist is serving a 10 year sentence and a thousand lashes for having promoted online debates on current events, politics and religion. Wikipedia founder accepted the award on his behalf and launched a new appeal for his release. His wife Ensaf Haidar says he was “honored” by such prestigious award

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, in prison for “insulting Islam” in his online writing, has won the PEN Pinter Prize — created in 2009 in memory of Nobel Harold Pinter — for his positions in defense of human rights and freedom of speech and thought.

The writer is currently being held in prison in the kingdom, to serve a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He received the coveted literary award — given annually to a British writer and a International colleague — together with the poet and journalist James Fenton. In the past Hanif Kureishi and Salman Rushdie have been recognized.

Accepting the award on behalf of Badawi, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that the government should “show moral leadership” and try to obtain his release. For his work as a blogger and activist, says Wales, he “should be rewarded” and “not locked up behind bars, facing floggings”.

The British poet and journalist James Fenton points out “the simplicity of the liberal goals of Badawi,” their “modesty” that contrasts with the “ferocity of punishment that was imposed.” He describes a world of “unimaginable cruelty”, but “intimately tied to our business, strategic, military interests and diplomatic relations.”

Saudi Arabia applies a strict version of Islamic law (Sharia) and does not tolerate any form of political dissent. Internet and social media such as Facebook and twitter are highly popular in the Kingdom. However, the authorities forcibly suppress all criticism, dissent or calls for change.

Badawi had been arrested in 2012 and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. However, the judges of the Court of Appeal considered the sentence too mild and imposed 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison, plus a fine of 193 thousand euro A verdict which was approved yesterday by the highest courts which have punished the man for having created a “liberal” blog — later closed — and “insulting Islam by using the electronic media.”

For four years Badawi managed the Liberal Saudi Network, a site that encouraged discussion on the internet of the most important current events, politics and even religion.

His wife says she had hoped he may have been freed. In a recent phone interview, he told her not to expect his return home “in the near future.” This is why Ensaf Haidar is once again appealing to international organizations and activists, to resume the mobilization campaign for the release of her husband.

For this Ensaf Haidar turns once again organizations and international activists, to resume the mobilization campaign for the release of her husband and said he was “honored” by the award.

In the past a video taken by a mobile phone that showed the floggings inflicted on the blogger was widely circulated online; the images sparked international protest and appeals for clemency. In response, the authorities in Riyadh had expressed “surprise and dismay” at the criticism and rejected all forms of interference in the internal affairs of the country.

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

Post-Sanctions Iran to Launch 50 New Oil Projects: Official

Iran is to introduce over 50 new oil exploration and production contracts in the near future, the head of the country’s oil contracts re-negotiation team told a conference in London on Tuesday.

Seyed Mehdi Hosseini, whose country is seen as a major untapped energy producer, announced a “new chapter of cooperation” with the international oil industry at the “Oil and Money” conference.

Under a July agreement with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions imposed on its economy, including on the oil sector…

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

Russian Missiles ‘Hit is in Syria From Caspian Sea’

Russia says it has launched rocket strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea — about 1,500km (930 miles) away.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said four warships fired 26 sea-based cruise missiles at 11 targets, destroying them and causing no civilian casualties.

Meanwhile, Syrian ground troops have launched an offensive under Russian air cover, Syrian officials say.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Saudi Arabia May Lose Finances and Military Prestige in Yemeni Quagmire

The Houthi Shiite rebels have agreed on the seven point UN peace plan in writing. The agreement calls for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from the cities. The military campaign of Saudi Arabia and the UAE complicates the agreement. On the Yemeni front Riyadh risks its prestige and finances. The analysis of two Middle East experts, courtesy of Jamestown Foundation.

Sana’a (AsiaNews) — During the talks sponsored by the United Nations in Muscat, Oman, the Shiite Houthi rebels have agreed in writing on the seven-point peace plan defined by the UN to end the conflict in Yemen. It comes in the wake of a verbal commitment already signed last month by leaders of the movement. Ansar Allah, rebel leader, defines the peace plan “an important and fundamental […] step towards the resumption of the political process” and welcomes the initiative of the United Nations that “calls on all parties to return to the negotiating table “.

The agreement includes a cease-fire, the withdrawal of armed militias from the towns and the return of the government from Aden to the capital Sana’a. Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi claims, however, that the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, withdraw from the occupied areas before signing the agreement.

The peace plan is also complicated by the involvement of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who support a military campaign against the Houthis. According to UN estimates the conflict has killed nearly 4,900 people, including 2,355 civilians.

On the political and military fate of Yemen and how it impacts the Middle East, we present below an analysis by two professors and experts of security and international politics. Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.

Saudi Arabia’s ongoing armed intervention in Yemen, which began overtly in March with airstrikes in support of Yemen’s internationally-recognized president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has since become a coalition effort, although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s major military partner in the intervention. On balance, the coalition campaign to oust the predominately Zaydi Shi’a Ansar Allah (Partisans of God—a.k.a. the Houthis) movement and their allies, which include forces loyal to Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, has made strong progress. Saudi Arabia’s daily air strikes on the Houthis and their allies in the country’s capital of Sana’a and in other Houthi-dominated areas in Yemen’s western highland region are degrading the Houthi alliance’s conventional military forces (al-Arabiya, September 28; al-Arabiya, September 5).

Concurrently, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait have landed troops in the southern city of Aden, the former capital of South Yemen, and are using the city to assist local, southern tribal militias organized under the broad network of al-Muqawama al-Sha’biya (Popular Resistance Committees). This has succeeded first in pushing the Houthis and their allies back from the city and pressuring Houthi-held areas around the city of Taiz in the country’s southwest and in the mainly desert region of Mareb, to the west of Sana’a (The National, September 7; YouTube, July 3; YouTube, June 17; YouTube, June 8; YouTube, June 5; YouTube, May 31; Khabar News Agency [Taiz], April 21; YouTube, April 21; al-Arabiya, March 26).

Border Troubles

In spite of these successes, Houthi and allied forces continue to maintain strong control over northern Yemen, including Sana’a, and Houthi forces have launched consistent attacks on several areas of southwestern Saudi Arabia that border Yemen, particularly in Najran and Jizan Provinces (YouTube, June 9; YouTube, May 29; YouTube, May 5). For instance, on September 18, two Bangladeshis were killed when mortars fired from Yemen struck a hospital in Samtah, a town in the Saudi Red Sea coastal province of Jizan that is only a few miles from the Yemen border (Daily Star [Dhaka], September 19). Earlier, on September 14, Saudi Arabia announced that one soldier had been killed in an attack on a border post in Jizan, (SPA, September 14). A day earlier, four soldiers had been killed in another cross-border attack in Najran (SPA, September 13). This stream of attacks, while not seriously jeopardizing Saudi control of the area, is nonetheless almost constant, placing considerable pressure on civilian populations in the region, particularly through the Houthis’ use of indiscriminate rocket attacks.

A further challenge to Saudi Arabia is the latest risk of the conflict with the Houthis igniting long-dormant tensions in Najran and Jizan. Local politics in these provinces is significantly driven by sectarian and tribal loyalties that uneasily coexist with the Saudi state. Najran and Jizan, which have only been formally governed by the al-Saud dynasty since 1934, retain a strong territorial identity of their own, often in conscious opposition to the forcibly-imposed sterner al-Saud/Wahhabist traditions of central Arabia. In addition, there are strong cross-border ties between tribes in Najran and Jizan, and with the core areas of Houthi support in northern Yemen (YouTube, March 29; al-Akhbar [Beirut], November 12, 2014). [1]

Suggestive of Saudi awareness of these potential tensions, early in the coalition’s campaign in Yemen, the Saudi government deployed a strong, and highly symbolic, Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) force to its southwestern provinces that border Yemen (YouTube, April 27). Najran, which historically had a majority Ismaili Sh’ia Muslim population and also a significant Zaydi Shi’a population with historic socio-cultural ties to areas of northern Yemen presently controlled by the Houthis, has previously been the site of significant protests against the Saudi regime, as well as inter-sectarian violence between Sunnis and the Shi’a sects (YouTube, April 27; YouTube, April 27; Okaz [Riyadh], April 1; al-Riyadh, April 1; AP, May 12; Okaz [Riyadh], April 1; al-Akhbar [Beirut], November 12, 2014; BBC, April 25, 2000). [2] Apparently concerned with demonstrating the loyalty of the local Najrani population, Saudi media showed footage of elaborate local, tribal welcoming ceremonies for SANG forces, especially from the Bani Yam, the most important Ismaili tribal confederation in the governorate (YouTube, April 27; YouTube, April 26; YouTube, March 28). Saudi Arabia’s Minister of the National Guard, Prince Mu’atib bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the son of the recently deceased King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and a powerful player within the Saudi royal family, also personally travelled to Najran to participate in festivities marking the SANG’s deployment with the region’s powerful local tribes (YouTube, June 14). These efforts can be understood as an attempt to bolster local loyalties to the Saudi state, to spread a wider message that the area is calm and also to show SANG forces protecting the local population against the Houthi threat.

In addition, there have previously been unverified reports—mainly from Iranian state media sources—of local opposition forces emerging from Najrani tribes who were deeply dissatisfied with Saudi Arabia’s air campaign in Yemen. Most strikingly, in mid-June, reports by Iranian media, and media produced by Iran’s allies in Syria, claimed that an armed opposition organization called Ahrar al-Najran (Free Ones of Najran) had been formed in the region by these local, anti-Saudi tribal forces (Shaam Times [Damascus], June 18; Fars News [Tehran], June 15; YouTube, June 15). Pro-Iran media also claimed that the movement had captured a military base, shot down a Saudi helicopter, engaged in numerous clashes with government forces and also set up an organization called “The Youth of Najran” (Fars News, July 2; Fars News, July 1). In addition, these media sources claimed that the Saudi Air Force was conducting air strikes against Najrani armed opposition groups belonging to the Ahrar al-Najran movement (Fars News, July 22; Tasnim News Agency [Tehran], July 2). There has been no independent corroboration of any of these events, however. Moreover, since summer, Iranian claims of domestic Saudi opposition forces in Najran have tailed off. This suggests either that such forces, if they existed, have become less active, or that Iran’s government decided that promoting such propaganda were no longer in its interests.

South Yemeni Secession Threat

Further complicating the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts in Yemen is the re-emergence of an emboldened Southern Yemeni secessionist movement. This is primarily being driven by local anti-Houthi Popular Resistance Forces, stylizing themselves as the Southern Resistance; these forces are more loudly seeking support for the independence of South Yemen, which was forcibly reunified with North Yemen after the country’s 1994 civil war, through the assistance of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, even if this move runs contrary to the Saudi-led coalition’s aim to restore a strong, pro-Saudi national government in Sana’a (al-Jazeera, November 29, 2014; YouTube, December 23, 2013; YouTube, March 19, 2013).

As the Saudi and UAE-led coalition seeks to build a Houthi-resistant, quasi-national government structure in southern Yemen, these local calls from prominent southern Yemeni actors for secession (and a growing rejection of President Hadi, a unitary Yemeni state or even a devolved federalism structure), present a growing policy dilemma for Saudi Arabia (Aden al-Ghad, September 16; Aden al-Ghad, September 8; al-Akhbar [Beirut], January 30; YouTube, March 25, 2013). As the necessary local partners for the Saudi and UAE-led coalition against the Houthis and allies forces, the Southern Resistance militias and the overall southern secessionist movement, which is generally strongly anti-Houthi, and anti-Saleh, cannot easily be dismissed, and are reportedly being engaged actively at least by pragmatic policymakers in the UAE, who understand the need to address southern pro-separatist sensibilities and related grievances (al-Youm al-Saba [Aden], September 15; Yemen Akhbar [Aden], September 14; Ababiil [Aden], September 3; YouTube, September 23, 2014). Saudi Arabia, therefore, finds itself in a quandary in southern Yemen too: it needs to build up southern forces to counter the Houthis; however, by doing this, the strength of southern separatists, whose long-term goals run counter to its own, is increased.


The new Saudi monarch, King Salman, has embarked on a high-risk gamble in launching a military intervention to defeat what Saudi Arabia perceives as Iranian expansionism in Saudi Arabia’s traditional client state, and to reinstall Hadi as president. Thus far, the Saudi-led coalition has succeeded in driving the Houthis out of Aden and many areas of southern Yemen. It has faltered, however, in its broader aims of removing the Houthis from the capital, while also being hampered by the continued Houthi pressure on Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border regions and by the South Yemen separatist movement’s renewed activism as a result of the Saudi-led intervention.

Saudi policymakers therefore find themselves at a crossroads. On one hand, they are clearly tempted to continue to press boldly, and potentially dangerously, towards Sana’a in hope of restoring Yemen as a unitary, centrally-ruled Saudi client state, with President Hadi at its helm. However, the potential unwillingness of the Southern Resistance militias to advance into northern Yemen to displace the Houthis, seems likely to severely limit these ambitions. Adding to the pressure are the Houthi cross-border attacks and the potential for a prolonged conflict to reignite long dormant tribal, regional and sectarian irredentist feeling in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

As a result, if Saudi Arabia wants to end the conflict quickly, unless the government is willing to commit large numbers of their own forces in north Yemen, or to find some other way to mobilize significant Yemeni forces against the Houthis, the Saudis may have to recognize some form of Houthi self-rule in the north, and a significantly devolved form of government in southern Yemen. Alternatively, and even more radically, they may have to acquiesce to an independent South Yemen that may be favored by some pragmatists in the UAE government, and which would at least secure them a strong pro-Saudi bastion in southern Yemen.

None of these options are particularly palatable to Saudi Arabia, which is loath to see a de facto Houthi state on its southern border, or to set a precedent of partitioning a fellow Arab state along quasi-sectarian lines, with all the implications this holds for Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. The most obvious alternative, however, is for the Saudi military to plunge deeper into the Yemeni morass, and to take on the battle-hardened and highly capable Houthi guerrillas on their own turf, with all the risks this entails to Saudi Arabia’s finances, to its military and to its regional and international prestige.

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

Syrian Regime Launches Ground Assault ‘Backed by Russian Air Strikes’, Monitor Says

The Syrian army and allied militia carried out ground attacks on rebel positions in Syria on Wednesday backed by Russian air strikes, in what appeared to be their first major coordinated assault, a monitor said.

Russia’s air strikes hit northern parts of Hama province and nearby areas in Idlib province, targeting towns close to the main north-south highway that runs through major cities in western Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Ground attacks using heavy surface-to-surface missile bombardments targeted at least four insurgent positions in the area and there were heavy clashes on the ground, the head of the Observatory Rami Abdulrahman said.

Although Wednesday’s combined assault marked a military escalation, it was not immediately clear whether there would be rapid gains in a conflict that has already dragged on more than four years…

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

Syria: NGO: Massive Russian Raids on Hama, Idlib

(ANSAmed) — ROME, OCTOBER 7 — Russian air raids reportedly hit this morning the Syrian province of Hama and neighboring areas, in nearby Idlib province, in the west of the country, according to the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Heavy bombardments with surface-to-surface missiles were also reported by international media.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syrian Regime Confirms Start to Ground Offensive

Putin claims Hollande called for Assad’s army and FSA to unite

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, OCTOBER 7 — A Syrian official on Wednesday confirmed the start of a ground offensive by government troops in the central part of the country, AP reported.

The official asked to remain anonymous. Meanwhile, French president Francois Hollande was said by Russian president Vladimir Putin to have suggested that Syrian government troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) join forces in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), according to the Russian news agency TASS. In a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin reiterated that he did not know where the FSA is or who its leader is.

But the Russian leader added that “since (the FSA) is supposed to be the combat unit of the so-called healthy opposition, it would create good conditions for a political settlement in Syria if they could join forces against the common enemy, terrorists, the Islamic State, the Nusra Front and others.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Armenian Neighborhoods Must be Turned Into “Cemeteries”

Turkey’s Muslims recently invaded with violent intent a number of Armenian (Christian) neighborhoods in Istanbul.

“These districts must be turned into Armenian and Kurdish cemeteries,” chanted the angry Turks who support the Erdogan government.

This came in response to ongoing clashes between Turkish authorities and the Kurdish Worker’s Party in the east and southeast of the nation—though it is unclear how Armenians are to blame, except in the spirit of the “collective punishment” of inferiors.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople released a statement saying that it prays for an end to the chaos threatening the unity of Turkey. It also expressed disquiet over the intentional targeting of and incitement against the Armenian community in Turkish media:

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkish PM’s Son Denies Fleeing to Italy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son Bilal on Wednesday said he had temporarily moved to Italy to complete his doctoral studies but denied fleeing Turkey after being implicated in a corruption scandal.

Bilal was one of the main protagonists implicated in corruption allegations that exploded in December 2013 against the president’s inner circle and were bitterly denied by Erdogan, then premier.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

US Officials Ask Toyota How ISIS Got So Many Trucks

No one can figure out how terror group is acquiring equipment…

U.S. counter-terror officials have asked Toyota, the world’s second largest auto maker, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota pick-up trucks and SUVs seen prominently in the terror group’s propaganda videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya, ABC News has learned.

Toyota says it does not know how ISIS obtained the vehicles and is “supporting” the inquiry led by the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department — part of a broad U.S. effort to prevent Western-made goods from ending up in the hands of the terror group.

“We briefed Treasury on Toyota’s supply chains in the Middle East and the procedures that Toyota has in place to protect supply chain integrity,” said Ed Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based director of public policy and communications.

Toyota has a “strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities,” Lewis said. He said it is impossible for the company to track vehicles that have been stolen, or have been bought and re-sold by middlemen.

[Comment: Perhaps the CIA/Turkey can provide the answer.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Watch Putin Hammer Obama: “Not Grounded in the Real World… Absolutely Unprofessional Politics”

As airstrikes in Syria heat up, so too has the rhetoric from both sides.

The Obama administration claims that Putin’ s military, which now include the globally feared Spetnatz special operations teams, are attacking rebel forces opposed to Syria’ s President Assad.

Russia, on the other hand, says that the so-called rebels are actually ISIS terrorists that have been funded and armed by America.

These comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin responding to a U.S. journalist are essential watching as they shed further light on President Obama’ s failed middle east policies, especially as they relate to the Islamic State. Moreover, they provide insight into Putin’ s motivations for taking action in Syria and how he views the current U.S. administration.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Russia’s Muslims Divided Over Syria Air Strikes

Russia’s Muslim community has never been united, and Russia’s air strikes in Syria are threatening to stoke existing tensions.

The air campaign began a week ago, with Moscow declaring it was targeting positions of so-called Islamic State (IS) and other Islamists.

But Turkey and other Nato allies fear the principal targets are Syrian opposition groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia’s Muslims tend to fall into three camps: those who support the Kremlin campaign, those who condemn President Assad and his allies but back actions against IS, and those who support IS.

More than 11 million Russians are Muslim, according to official figures that date back to 2011. But experts believe the true figure could be as high as 20 million — nearly 14% of the population.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Vladimir Putin Spends His Birthday Playing Hockey With Nhl Stars

Russian President Vladimir Putin spent his 63rd birthday on the ice Wednesday, playing hockey with NHL stars against Russian officials and tycoons.

Putin scored seven goals as his star-studded team, which included NHL legends Vyacheslav Fetisov and Pavel Bure, won the game 15-10. The opposing team included Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as well as Putin’s close friends — tycoons Gennady Timchenko and Arkady Rotenberg.

Both were slapped with Western sanctions last year for their ties to Putin in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Putin was given a trophy for his team’s win at the end of the game and a medal for his contribution to hockey in Russia.

Earlier in the afternoon, Putin was briefed by Shoigu about the Russian air force operation in Syria. As the Russian television began to broadcast dramatic footages of Russian cruise missiles fired from a warship in the Caspian Sea, lighting up the night sky, Putin stepped on the ice of the Shayba arena in Sochi for the game that was broadcase live on Russian television.

Last year, Putin reportedly spent his birthday holed up in the Siberian wilderness far away from populated areas.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U.S. Bombing of a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Was No Accident — “It Was the Target”

By now, all of you will have read about the U.S. military’s recent bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. What you may not be aware of, is how much the official story has changed in the days since this inexcusable act of barbarism became public.

Doctors Without Borders has been calling the attack a “war crime,” which to the average American sounds outlandish and impossible. The justification for this claim is simple — that the airstrike wasn’t an accident at all, and that the U.S. military intentionally targeted the hospital. As the days go by, it becomes increasingly clear that this is indeed the case, and the Pentagon is now scrambling to justify the intentional targeting of a hospital.

As Glenn Greenwald reports at the Intercept: …

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

China: Beijing “100%” Under Control With Cameras and Sensors

Proudly announced by municipal police: “No corners have escaped us”. The “coverage” is part of a national policy called skynet: big cities will be all and always under the eye of the authorities. The dissidents protest “they speak of security, but it’s just another way to control us all. “

Beijing (AsiaNews) — Despite the huge land mass, the city of Beijing “is 100% controlled by security cameras and sensors installed by the government. No corner of the capital is beyond our control”, proudly declares Department of the municipal police, in a statement confirming the 29% increase of the electronic surveillance by the State: “It ‘an effective way to boost security and crime prevention”.

The “coverage” of Beijing is part of a national policy called “skynet”, which foresees similar moves in all big cities of the country. In the capital alone 4,300 policemen have been trained to use the cameras: according to the official Xinhua news agency, thanks to the images “more than 1,500 criminal cases have been resolved, an increase of 22% compared to 2014”.

However, several dissidents believe that security is only one of the priorities of the government. Speaking to Radio Free Asia, the renowned activist Hu Jia says: “The real purpose of ‘skynet’ is control over the behavior of the people on the streets.” According to Ye Du, based in Guangzhou, the rise of electronic control was decided after the 2013 bombing of Tiananmen Square: “The authorities want to reduce the ‘threat’ from Xinjiang and Tibet, and stop the rise in protests for freedom”.

The city of Beijing extends over 16,800 square kilometers: inside there are two counties, 16 prefectures and 289 municipalities. The inhabitants have exceeded 20 million, but it is impossible to calculate the number of migrant workers who every season move to the capital — no papers and no rights — looking for work. The estimated cost of the “skynet” operation to this city alone is about 150 million euro, including purchase of equipment and salaries of officials in charge of making it work.

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

In Beijing, ‘Big Brother’ Now Sees All

A blanket video surveillance system over Beijing has turned the city into an Orwellian nightmare.

Beijing police say they have video cameras manned by over 4,300 officers trained at “every corner” to cover “100 percent of the capital” during the week-long holiday to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, according to a statement by the Beijing Public Security Bureau. It is unclear if complete surveillence over Beijing will still be in place after the holidays.

The assortment of video cameras mounted to lamp posts, traffic lights, and utility poles will monitor high-traffic areas like markets, shopping malls, parks, and bus stops.

“We are now completely covered by ‘Skynet,’ which is a huge network aimed at controlling people’s behavior on the streets.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italian National Kidnapped in Philippines Muslim Rebel Area

Rolando Del Torchio, 56, abducted by armed men

(ANSA) — Bangkok, October 7 -The Italian embassy in the Philippines on Wednesday confirmed that seven armed men abducted an Italian restaurateur and former missionary priest Rolando Del Torchio, 56, from his pizzeria and café in the city of Dipolog.

The men reportedly pretended to be clients of his Ur Choice Café before abducting Del Torchio, bundling him onto a motorboat and taking off by sea.

Del Torchio, who first went to the Philippines as a Catholic missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), reportedly left the priesthood in 1996 in disgust over pedophile priests within the Church.

He stayed on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, and went to work for an NGO aiding local farmers before opening a café.

Dipolog is located on Mindanao, where Muslim separatist guerrilla groups have taken up arms against the Catholic majority country. Among them is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal with the government in March, and its breakaway faction the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which opposed the agreement. In September, unidentified gunmen abducted Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Canadian nationals John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. Filipino Muslims have demonstrated peacefully against the guerrilla violence in Mindanao.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Ebola Countries Record First Week With No New Cases

The three West African countries at the heart of the Ebola epidemic recorded their first week with no new cases since the outbreak began in March 2014.

The outbreak has so far killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

New cases have fallen sharply in 2015, but the WHO has warned that the disease could break out again.

The epidemic is the worst known occurrence of Ebola in history.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Brazil’s Rousseff to be Investigated for Alleged Funds Misuse

President Dilma Rousseff’s campaign will be investigated for alleged use of funds skimmed from the vast Petrobras corruption scheme, officials said Wednesday, in a twist that could potentially end her term early.

The opposition Social Democratic Party of Brazil (PSDB) has filed five complaints, including one now accepted by a federal electoral body.

Opposition lawmakers — whose candidate lost in a tight race against Rousseff in 2014 — say Rousseff of the Workers Party and runningmate Michel Temer of the centrist PMDB funded their campaign with donations from companies involved in the corruption scheme that has rocked Brazil…

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

Los Abandandos — A New Film on the Murder Mystery of Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman

When Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered under mysterious circumstances on January 18, 2015, we wrote of the curious circumstances surrounding his death. He was found dead in his Buenos Aires flat with a bullet to his head with a pistol allegedly in his possession. He was on the brink of presenting a 300 page brief to a committee of the Argentine Congress based on a decade of investigations. Investigations begun under the auspices of the late President of Argentina Nestor Kirchner and after his passing in 2007, for a time under his successor, his wife Cristina. Nisman’s death came amidst revelations about negotiations of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 between Iran and outgoing Argentine President Cristina de Fernandez Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman regarding a truth commission. The object of the commission was to facilitate an expose of Iran’s and its proxy Hezbollah’s roles in both the 1992 Buenos Aires Israel Embassy and 1994 AMIA Buenos Aires, Jewish Center bombings. Bombings that killed 114, injuring 542.In exchange for no prosecution following the truth commission proceedings, Iran and Argentina would renew their commercial trade.

On the occasion of Nisman’s January 30, 2015 funeral and interment in the martyrs section of the La Tablada Jewish cemetery in Buenos Aires we wrote in an Iconoclast Post, “There is No Justice in Argentina”:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Luis Fleischman: The Multiple Risks of the Colombia-FARC Agreement

On September 23, the drug trafficking, money laundering, extorting criminal organization known as the FARC achieved something not in their grasp for their last forty plus years of insurgency. By an agreement reached between them and the Colombian government led by President Juan Manuel Santos, they will be given political legitimacy and the ability to run for office.

Negotiations are still ongoing and a final peace accord is not expected to be reached until March 2016, as there seems to be a number of problems to be resolved in the next six months.

The agreement establishes a justice mechanism to try the crimes that have been committed in the last half century that left more than 220,000 people dead and more than 7 million people negatively affected in one way or another.

These trials are supposed to apply not only to members of the FARC but also to Colombian security forces, paramilitary and even politicians and businessmen.

Those trials would focus on the most heinous crimes such as kidnappings, extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, violence, rape and recruitment of minors.

Punishments for those found guilty may vary according to the attitude of the criminal. If the suspect acknowledges his responsibility early on he could spend between 5 to 8 years undergoing rehabilitation and re-socialization. This basically means performing some kind of community service while avoiding any prison time.

           — Hat tip: VM [Return to headlines]

CDU ‘Rebels’ To Merkel, Changes Course on Migrants

In a letter, violate German law and EU

(ANSA) — BERLIN — New problems for Angela Merkel: 34 members of CDU, from 8 Laender, sent a letter to the Chancellor, asking to withdraw the policy adopted so far towards migrants. “The current policy does not correspond neither to European law, nor to the German one”, they wrote.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Close Quarters: Asylum Shelters in Germany Struggle With Violence

There has been a rising number of violent incidents in German refugee hostels in recent weeks and concern is growing among officials. But some communities are finding creative ways to make life more tolerable in the asylum homes.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Dublin Rules on Asylum ‘Obsolete’ German Chancellor Says

More Europe needed to tackle refugee crisis, Merkel tells EP

(ANSA) — Strasbourg, October 7 — The refugee crisis facing Europe has made the Dublin regulations on political asylum in the EU “obsolete”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the European Parliament on Wednesday.

“I am committed to working on a new procedure that complies with the demands of equity and solidarity,” Merkel said. Under the Dublin rules asylum applications must be handled by the first country of entry, which rarely coincides with the country where asylum seekers want to end up.

This, combined with the large influx of refugees and migrants into Europe in recent months and their determination to reach their final destination, has led the system to near-collapse. “More Europe is needed to tackle the migrant crisis, not national approaches,” continued Merkel, however adding that “economic migrants cannot stay”. “That way we can help those fleeing from war,” she said. The creation of a “free state” in Libya and Syria and “the restitution of a dignified life in refugees’ home countries without the terror of bombs and death is a European task but also a global one”, the German chancellor said. “Our message today is that Europe must make a decisive contribution to the resolution of these crises,” she concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Germany: Free Wifi for Refugees

For refugees, the Internet is often their only connection to their home country. Across Germany, volunteers are banding together to make sure asylum-seekers have access to WiFi free of charge.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italian-Chinese Youngsters Call for Citizenship Reform

Delegation of youngsters to attend parliament on Oct 9

(ANSA) — Rome, October 7 — Mary Pan is a journalist and works for television talk-show Ballarò; Daniele Zhang is an engineer and works for automotive brake system manufacturer Brembo; Sabrina Hu is a fashion designer; Wulian Weng works for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome; and K-pop star Alex Chen is a familiar face on television.

Here are five young Italian-Chinese who represent tens of thousands of others: second-generation immigrants born of Chinese parents in Italy.

“Many things have changed with respect to a few years ago,” Marco Wong, an electronic engineer born in Bologna in 1963, told ANSA.

“However, much still needs to be done, in particular concerning what Italians of Chinese origin feel to be a deprecation and an injustice, namely citizenship reform (granting citizenship rights to children born of foreign parents on Italian soil),” he continued.

“It is much talked about, in the last parliament it looked as if the reform might be tabled and then nothing happened: the preventive fire from the opposition against a law that many people want seems to have blocked it once again,” Wong said. Wong is honorary president of Associna, the largest web community of second-generation Italian-Chinese. On October 9, the association will send a delegation of approximately 20 representatives aged between 18 and 30 from all over Italy to parliament in line with its work to sensitise and inform members concerning Italy’s institutions. The following day they will participate in the first national convention on second-generation Italian-Chinese in Rome.

Wong believes the time is ripe for greater understanding of the issues involved.

“There is undoubtedly an awareness and an open attitude in society, it is there for everyone to see every day, especially in those environments like schools where the capacity to welcome people is great,” Wong said. The dual identity characterizing second-generation immigrant children can also be seen as a great opportunity, Wong added.

“Many of these youngsters are exploiting their disadvantage as an advantage,” he said.

The majority live in Milan, the Tuscan city of Prato and Rome and, needless to say, their numbers are on the rise.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Julio Iglesias Joins Latin Celebrity Boycott of Donald Trump Over Immigration Remarks

Veteran Spanish singer Julio Iglesias has joined a boycott of businesses relating to US presidential candidate Donald Trump over the billionaire’s controversial rhetoric on the subject of immigration.

“I have sung many times in his casinos, but I won’t be doing it again. He is an a******”, Iglesias, who has been based in Miami for almost four decades, said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.

Referring to comments by Mr Trump, blaming Mexican immigrants for bring crime to the United States and his plan to deport millions of migrants who lack legal permits, Iglesias said: “He thinks he can fix the problems of the world by forgetting what immigrants have done for his country. He’s a clown! And my apologies to clowns.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Obama’s Refugee Resettlement Plan Could Stir Battle With States

The Obama administration’s pledge to absorb thousands more Syrian and other refugees could run headlong into resistance from state and local officials worried about whether their communities can handle the influx.

Federal officials announced last month they plan to take in at least 10,000 refugees from Syria over the next year, and a total of 100,000 refugees from around the world by 2017 — up from 70,000.

While Republicans on Capitol Hill have raised concerns about whether refugees from Syria will be adequately screened for terror ties, local officials are worried simply about whether they have the resources to take them.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Secret EU Plan to Throw Out Thousands of Migrants

Hundreds of thousands of failed asylum seekers will be deported from Europe within weeks under secret plans leaked to The Times.

Brussels will threaten to withdraw aid, trade deals and visa arrangements if countries such as Niger and Eritrea refuse to take back their economic migrants. The proposals also envisage EU states detaining thousands of migrants to prevent them from absconding to avoid deportation.

More than 400,000 people who entered the EU in the first half of this year are expected to have their asylum claims rejected, posing a humanitarian and political challenge for EU leaders.

           — Hat tip: Vederso [Return to headlines]

Italy: Center Right Slams Revised Civil Unions Bill

‘Can’t turn back the clock on social rights’ says govt

(ANSA) — Rome, October 7 — Center-right politicians on Wednesday bristled at the idea of the government’s civil unions bill being put to a vote in the Senate without further debate.

Late on Tuesday, Senator Monica Cirinnà from Premier Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party (PD) introduced a new version of the bill that took the original text approved by the Senate justice committee in March, but with some changes that appeased the Catholic wing of the PD — namely, it no longer makes specific references to existing laws that cover heterosexual marriage.

However the new bill still provides “full recognition of same-sex couples via a new juridical institution, called the civil union”, Cirinnà said.

It still retains key measures allowing gay partners in a civil union to adopt their spouse’s children — known as stepchild adoption — and for widows to receive their deceased partner’s pensions and to inherit property, she said.

The bill also lays out the rights and duties of partners in a civil union, such as the duty of mutual assistance and of contributing to common needs.

Other laws, regulations, and collective bargaining contracts that refer to heterosexual marriage “will be applicable in the same way to the parties in a civil union”.

“There can be no turning back the clock on the recognition of social rights,” Cirinnà warned.

However, the traditionally Catholic center right is still not happy with the bill because it recognizes the rights of gays in committed relationships to be parents. This, they argue, will inevitably usher in the legalization of surrogate motherhood, which is illegal in Italy and which the Catholic Church condemns as a sin.

“The divisive roadblock remains of gay parenting rights and the legitimization of surrogate motherhood, which we would prosecute as a universal crime,” said Senator Maurizio Sacconi from the New Center Right (NCD) party, a junior member of the ruling coalition along with Renzi’s PD.

“The latter is the most divisive element, and its removal is the premise for any negotiation”.

“The new version of the Cirinnà bill is an unacceptable stretch, whose meaning I don’t understand,” said Popular Area (AP) caucus whip Lower House MP Maurizio Lupi, a former transport minister who is also from the NCD.

The AP caucus is made up of the NCD and the small centrist UDC party.

“Introducing tensions into the majority coalition by continuously raising the bar in a divisive way is not good for the government or the country”.

“I see an inappropriate and ill-timed acceleration on civil unions,” said Senator and AP caucus whip Renato Schifani.

“I hope this new proposal will be the subject of debate in the proper parliamentary venues”. Cirinnà, however, was undeterred.

“Common law couples, both hetero and homosexual, will soon see all the rights granted them by Italian and European law written down in black and white,” she said. “Controversy doesn’t frighten us. We are called on to answer to citizens,to the Constitutional Court and to European courts, which have condemned Italy too many times”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Sweden: World’s First Lesbian Bishop Calls for Church to Remove Crosses, To Install Muslim Prayer Space

The Bishop of Stockholm has proposed a church in her diocese remove all signs of the cross and put down markings showing the direction to Mecca for the benefit of Muslim worshippers.

Eva Brunne, who was made the world’s first openly lesbian bishop by the church of Sweden in 2009, and has a young son with her wife and fellow lesbian priest Gunilla Linden, made the suggestion to make those of other faiths more welcome.

The church targeted is the Seamen’s mission church in Stockholm’s eastern dockyards. The Bishop held a meeting there this year and challenged the priest to explain what he’d do if a ship’s crew came into port who weren’t Christian but wanted to pray.

Calling Muslim guests to the church “angels”, the Bishop later took to her official blog to explain that removing Christian symbols from the church and preparing the building for Muslim prayer doesn’t make a priest any less a defender of the faith. Rather, to do any less would make one “stingy towards people of other faiths”.

The bishop insisted this wasn’t an issue, after all airports and hospitals already had multi-faith prayer rooms, and converting the dockyard church would only bring it up to speed. Regardless, the announcement has aroused protest.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Trio Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Finding DNA Fixers

This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists whose research helps to explain how human beings continue to thrive despite an invisible disadvantage — their totally unstable DNA.

Each of the three recipients of the prestigious award — Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar — has researched a different way that cells repair damaged DNA to safeguard genetic information. Their research not only helps to explain how human cells function, but it could also be used to develop new techniques for fighting diseases like cancer.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

7 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 10/7/2015

  1. ‘Europe-wide solutions, not individual actions.’ This is EXACTLY what the invasion is all about! Dictatorship! Now she has admitted it. After experiencing the disaster of a tiny member nation (Greece) almost blowing up the EU, she became traumatized because the EU IS GERMAN POWER. And remember that it followed on the heels of the EU economic depression which is still in place.

    Her dreams of German resurgence were threatened by a mosquito. The single way out of this nightmare would be to provoke a catastrophic crisis which only ‘an Europe-wide response’ could manage. Thus the EU dictatorship will be strengthened and the European bank can then be given more power to act like the US Fed and print money for the global financial investors, so they can continue to profit through the growth of debt.

    She knows full well that the Muslims will never integrate. She has said so herself some years back. They are pawns in her quest for German supremacy barely 100 years after her ancestors destroyed the world order be starting WW1! Here we go again!

    Exactly like her ancestor, she has badly miscalculated. Everyone thought WW1 would be over in a matter of months, but it unraveled the power structure of the whole planet, and led inevitably to WW2.

    This invasion of her own people will set off a series of crises that will eventually lead to terrible war and suffering within a decade or two because she has invited our most dangerous enemy to sit by our fireside. Meanwhile nothing else remains the same. Russia is the new power in the ME and will have the potential to squeeze Europe from the South as well as the East.

    The Muslims are a fifth column for the Russo-Islamic alliance and with fissile material from the old SU being sold to the Muslims via the Soros-inflicted break up of Yugoslavia, a nuclear holocaust is inevitable.

    Are we just helpless victims, or are we going to resist?

  2. George Soros and his open borders garbage backs zero bama every step of the way.

    Soros is banned in Russia and what a good thing too.

    • 100% spot on ! Soros and the devious globalists are the instigators of all of the disruption world wide.

  3. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of ISIS’ shiny new vehicles are probably purchased by Saudi/Qatari “donations” and routed to “moderate Syrian rebels” via those same countries.

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