Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/18/2015

Hundreds of Afghan migrants took to the streets of Berlin today to protest possible changes in the German government’s asylum policies. The Interior Ministry is considering reapplying the Dublin rule that would require an asylum application to be processed by the country where a “refugee” first enters the EU.

Meanwhile, the White House says President Obama will veto any legislation passed by the House that attempts to tighten the vetting process on Syrian “refugees”.

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

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Green Infidel, Insubria, LS, MC, Nathalie, Nick, Srdja Trifkovic, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

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

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

Financial Crisis
» Italian Banks’ Bad Debts Up to 200 Bn
» Yellen Warns Proposed Law on Fed Would Damage US Economy
 
USA
» Barclays Fined Another $150 Mn Over Forex ‘Misconduct’
» Muslim Truck Drivers Fired for Refusing to Deliver Beer Awarded $240K
» Oil Dips Below $40 for First Time Since Aug
 
Canada
» Peel Cops Shoot Suspected Suicide Bomber
» Toronto Man, 56, Charged With Carrying Concealed Cleaver Into Parliament
 
Europe and the EU
» About 3.2 Million Elderly Italians Work, Majority Enjoy It
» Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty Invoked by Paris
» British Survivor of Eagles of Death Metal Concert Tells How ISIS Terrorists ‘Tortured Wounded Victims by Slitting Their Stomachs With Knives’
» Cancelling Jubilee Would be Mistake Says Italian Church
» Czech President Attends Anti-Islam Rally on Revolution Anniversary
» Easyjet Open to Expanding Further in Italy — Country Director
» Elderly Spend Way More on Out-of-Pocket Care Than Others
» In Bush’s Footsteps: Paris Adopts Measures Similar to US Patriot Act
» Italy: Govt and ANAS Have 20bn Investment Plan
» Italy: Rome Guarded by 24,000 Uniformed Police, Army, Alfano Says
» Italy: Five Roma People Found Guilty of Enslaving the Disabled
» Italy: Salvini Calls for Turkey Exclusion From Euro 2016
» Nearly 6,000 Foreign Jihadists on Interpol Radar: Chief
» Op-Ed: Media Lies Are Rewriting the Present
» Poll Says 46% of Italians Fear Terrorist Attacks at Jubilee
» Suspect Sought in Sweden for ‘Planning Terrorist Act’: Police
» Terrorism Spending Outside Stability Pact — Juncker
» Verhofstadt Calls for Creation of EU Intelligence Agency
» Vivendi Says Has 20.11% of Telecom Italia
» Watch Ireland vs Bosnia Fans Boo Minute’s Silence for Paris Attack Victims Before Euro 2016 Play-Off
» We’ll Raise Flag Over Vatican Says ISIS
» Zara Fires French Employees for Barring Woman Wearing Headscarf
 
North Africa
» ISIS Explains How it Brought Down Russian Plane
 
Israel and the Palestinians
» World Famous Boxer & Christian Zionist Manny Pacquiao Visits Israel [Photos]
 
Middle East
» ‘Fatima’ Probe Shows ‘Flow of Foreign Fighters’ To ISIS
» France: Jewish Teacher Stabbed by ‘IS Supporters’
» Hundreds of Bahraini Soldiers Arrive in Yemen to Join Anti-Houthi Forces
» ISIS Says Executed Norwegian, Chinese Captives
» ‘ISIS Has Killed 100,000 Muslims’: Says Jordanian King
» Italy: Pinotti Rules Out Italian Intervention in Syria
» Japan to Set Up Representation Office in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2016
» More Valuable Than Gold: Refugees and Terrorists Crave Syrian Passports
» ‘My Country Says I’m a Threat’, Danish Woman Fighting ISIL Tells Sputnik
» Obama Read ISIL All Wrong, Consistently Underestimating Threat
» Patriarch Younan: IS Cannot be Defeated With Air Raids, The West Has Betrayed Christians
» Save Persecuted Religious Minorities First: James Robbins
» Terrorist Attacks: Causes and Implications
» Watch: Turkish Football Fans Boo and Cry “Allahu Akbar’ During Silence for Paris Victims
 
Russia
» Italy’s Lega Nord Party to Visit Russia to Discuss Terrorism, Sanctions
 
South Asia
» Bangladesh: Dinajpur: Attackers “Wanted to Kill” PIME Missionary, But His Life is Not in Danger
» China’s New Silk Road: Boom or Dust for Pakistan?
» Italian Wounded in Latest Attack on Foreigners in Bangladesh: Police
 
Far East
» China: Xinjiang: 17 Uighur “Terrorists” Killed, Women and Children Included
» Moscow, Beijing to Enhance Cooperation in Field of Aircraft Engines
» US to Give Two Additional Ships to Philippine Navy to Boost Border Control
 
Australia — Pacific
» Jonah Lomu Dies — The End for an All Blacks Legend, New Zealand Hero
 
Immigration
» Afghan Refugees Protest in Berlin Against German Migration Policy
» Canada Split Over Fast-Tracking Syrian Refugees
» EU Far-Right Demands Halt to Refugee Influx After Paris Attacks
» France Needs to Boost Defense Spending, Reconsider Immigration Laws
» Hungary to Challenge EU Migrant Quota Plan
» James Woods: How Exactly Will Dems Vet Potential Terrorists — ‘Same Way They ‘Vetted’ the Tsarnaevs?’
» Migrants in Libya Risk ‘Brutal Violence’: UN
» Obama Would Veto Bill Toughening Syria Refugee Checks: White House
» Rev. Graham: ‘Islam is Not a Peaceful Religion as George W. Bush Told US and as President Barack Obama Has Said’
» Surge of Cuban Migrants Sends Costa Rica-Nicaragua Ties Plunging
» UK Public Support for Refugees Wanes as First Syrians Reach Scotland
» UN Warns States Against ‘Backtracking’ On Migrant Commitments
» US House Bill Would Tighten Refugee Vetting
» Where Are the Christian Refugees From Syria?
 

Italian Banks’ Bad Debts Up to 200 Bn

Housing starts up 92%, mortgage rates down to post-2010 low

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — The bad debts held by Italian banks were up two billion to around 200 billion euros in October, the Italian Banking Association said Tuesday.

Loans were slightly down again in October, by 0.3%.

Housing starts were up 92% in the first nine months of the year.

New-mortgage rates were down to a post-2010 low of 2.61%.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Yellen Warns Proposed Law on Fed Would Damage US Economy

Janet Yellen warned Tuesday that a proposed law in Congress to more closely oversee the Federal Reserve would politicize monetary policy and do deep harm to the US economy.

The “Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act” would tie the hands of Fed policy-makers to a formulaic rule that, if in place during the last six years, would have greatly worsened the impact of the economic crisis, Yellen said in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

“This legislation would severely damage the US economy were it to become law,” she wrote.

It would also “likely lead to… a diminished status of the dollar in global financial markets, and reduced economic and financial stability.”…

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

Barclays Fined Another $150 Mn Over Forex ‘Misconduct’

New York’s financial regulator announced Wednesday another $150 million fine against British bank Barclays over its “misconduct” in foreign exchange services offered to clients.

The New York State Department of Financial Services said the bank systematically had rejected customers’ trades that were unprofitable to the bank, and lied to the customers over why the trades did not go through.

Barclays traders used a computer program known as “Last Look” as “a general filter to reject customer orders that Barclays predicted, based on price movements during the hold period, would be unprofitable to the bank,” the NYDFS said.

The department said the bank also must fire an unnamed senior official of its forex, currencies and commodities trading business for the misconduct, which took place during 2009-2014…

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

Muslim Truck Drivers Fired for Refusing to Deliver Beer Awarded $240K

Two Muslim truck drivers were awarded$240,000 by a federal jury in Peoria, Illinois last month after they were fired for refusing to deliver beer because they claimed that doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Morton, Ill.-based Star Transport in May, 2013 on behalf of the two Somalis, Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of religion.

Mohamed and Bulshale were each awarded $20,000 in compensatory damages, $100,000 in punitive damages, and $1,500 in back pay.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

Oil Dips Below $40 for First Time Since Aug

$39.91 a barrel

(ANSA) — New York, November 18 — Oil dipped below $40 a barrel in New York Wednesday for the first time since August.

It was trading at $39.91.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Peel Cops Shoot Suspected Suicide Bomber

Hours after the horrific terror attacks in Paris, a stand-off unfolded between police officers and a suspected suicide bomber in a Mississauga neighbourhood, the Toronto Sun has learned.

French officials were still counting their dead when Peel Regional Police officers ended a frightening confrontation by opening fire on the 26-year-old man at Golden Orchard Dr. and Grand Forks Rd. — near Bloor St. and Dixie Rd. — shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday.

In the aftermath of the shooting, police downplayed the incident saying only that the call involved “an emotionally disturbed person.”

But the presence of the service’s Explosive Disposal Unit and heavily armed Tactical officers at the scene suggested a far more serious threat was afoot.

A source, who asked not to be named, revealed to Sun on Monday that the bomb squad responded because the man in question was wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest and holding what looked like a triggering device.

It was not immediately known if the vest actually contained explosives.

But suicide bombers and gunmen killed 129 victims in Paris less than eight hours earlier. So police, who were on heightened alert, took the threat seriously.

Uniformed officers shot the suspected suicide bomber four times, the source said.

Fortunately, the shooting was not followed by an explosion…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Toronto Man, 56, Charged With Carrying Concealed Cleaver Into Parliament

A Toronto man who allegedly tried to carry a meat cleaver onto Parliament Hill is to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

A lawyer for Yasin Ali asked for the assessment in court Wednesday after the 56-year-old appeared by video from the courthouse cellblock on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. He will remain in jail until his next appearance on Friday, when he is to appear in court in person.

Ali had a ticket to visit the Peace Tower, and was in line to go through the visitors’ entrance at about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday when a House of Commons security guard asked him to open his coat. The guard found Ali was concealing a large cleaver with an approximately six-inch long blade. Ali never made it as far as the metal detectors.

His court appearance Wednesday was slightly delayed after it became apparent he may need the assistance of an interpreter as he speaks Somali Arabic.

It is not known why he was in Ottawa or on Parliament Hill.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

About 3.2 Million Elderly Italians Work, Majority Enjoy It

Elderly also developing new activities, projects — report

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — A total of 3.2 million elderly Italians work regularly or from time to time and the majority enjoy it, a study showed on Tuesday.

The report by research institute CENSIS and Future Concept Lab found that a further 225,000 elderly people are preparing to look for work in coming years and 407,000 will try to start an independent business.

Furthermore, 84.5% of those surveyed for the report viewed their life positively at the moment. A total of 48.6% of respondents were very or quite satisfied with their work because it pleased them, while 35.9% were satisfied but wanted to work more or do different things. The survey also revealed a trend for elderly people to develop new activities, projects and relationships. About 6.6 million elderly Italians go to restaurants, 6 million go to the cinema, theatre or museums, 4.8 million play betting games, 3.1 million travel abroad and 2.8 million attend dancing courses.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty Invoked by Paris

States bound to aid and assist partners under attack

(ANSA) — Brussels, November 17 — The “common defence clause” invoked Monday by French President François Hollande, the application of which was requested and obtained Tuesday by EU defence ministers — for the first time in the history of the EU — is contained in article 42, point 7, first article of Section 2 of the Lisbon Treaty entitled ‘Dispositions on common security and defence policy”.

After the ministerial green light Tuesday there are no further stages of community procedure envisaged since it concerns a form of solidarity to be agreed bilaterally.

Paragraph 1 of article 42 states “common defence and security policy constitutes an integral part of foreign policy and common security. This assures that the Union has an operational capacity using civil and military means. The Union can make use of such means in external missions to guarantee keeping the peace, preventing conflicts and reinforcing international security, consonant with the principles of the UN charter”. “The execution of such duties is based on the capacity supplied by member states”.

In paragraph 7, activated by France, it states “whenever a state undergoes an armed aggression on its territory, the other member states are obliged to lend aid and assistance with all the means in their possession, in keeping with article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations”. “That does not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of such member states. The commitments and cooperation in this sector remain in conformity with the commitments made in the context of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) which remains, from the States that are members, the basis of their collective defence and the instance of the actuation of the same”.

In the ‘Treaty on the working of the European Union,” article 222, direct intervention is envisaged with military missions of the EU that can be requested in case of terrorist attacks, but in that case the procedure would be much more complex, requiring the unanimous approval of the Council of Europe of heads of state and government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

British Survivor of Eagles of Death Metal Concert Tells How ISIS Terrorists ‘Tortured Wounded Victims by Slitting Their Stomachs With Knives’

ISIS gunmen used knives to torture their mortally wounded victims by slitting their stomachs as they lay on the floor, it has been claimed.

An eyewitness who hid in a cellar for three hours as the armed murderers rampaged through the packed Bataclan Theatre in Paris said she knew people were being tortured because she could hear their screams.

Mariesha Payne, from Perthshire, told the Daily Mail: “We knew people were being tortured in the theatre because we heard people screaming, but they were not being shot and these were singular screams…

           — Hat tip: Nathalie [Return to headlines]
 

Cancelling Jubilee Would be Mistake Says Italian Church

Poll says 46% of Italians fear terrorist attacks in Holy Year

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian bishops’ conference (CEI), on Tuesday said it would be an error to cancel the Catholic Church’s upcoming Holy Year devoted to mercy in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Cancelling the Jubilee Gould be totally mistaken, it would be a big disappointment for the people of God and for all of us,” said Bagnasco, refering to the extraordinary Holy Year called by Pope Francis which will start next month. “This is a great grace that we must live to the full.

“I don’t sense fears for the Jubilee either among my brothers or in the Christian communities,” he said on the fringes of the inauguration of the new academic year at the Pontifical Lateran University. “Vigilance is higher, more watchful and dutiful,” he added. “There absolutely must not be panic among the people who must regard Rome, the pilgrimage to the Holy Door, with the usual serenity and the wish to pray on the tomb of St. Peter”.

An Ixè survey for Raitre television released Tuesday, however, said that around 46% of Italians fear terrorist attacks during the Jubilee.

The percentage is an increase of eight points on last Friday before the Paris massacre. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday that the Italian authorities were continuing a large-scale campaign to prevent terrorism, while warning that it was not possible to eliminate the threat of attacks completely. “Prevention is a grey job that you don’t see, but it is based on important figures,” Alfano told State broadcaster RAI.

“It’s necessary to lower the risk coefficient, not reduce it to zero, because zero risk does not exist”.

The minister said 24,000 uniformed police and army soldiers are being deployed to protect Rome and its province against terrorism as the Jubilee approaches. “We decided to use 1,000 men from the armed forces, 700 are already arriving, and another 300 will arrive,” he said.

“In addition the prefect has 1,226 soldiers from the Secure Streets operation at his disposal”. Indeed, Rome commuters were greeted by the sight of soldiers guarding the subway stations on Tuesday. Public transport company ATAC confirmed the measure was taken in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. The military and law enforcement officers are also deployed at the Vatican, train stations, airports, places of worship, and places where the public is likely to gather, including night spots.

Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin, meanwhile, said emergency plans in case of a terrorist attack on Italian soil are being put in place in agreement with the interior ministry.

“We have bolstered emergency health services and staff in view of the Jubilee,” she said, adding further protocols are in place in case of terrorist attacks. “We hope we will never have to use them,” she said, adding the ministry is assessing possible surprise stress tests to make sure the system is working. She added the ministry already has a Crisis Unit in place in case of terrorist attacks with biological weapons. After the Vatican on Monday said that Pope Francis’s agenda will not be changed by the Paris attacks, on Tuesday Rome’s Jewish community said that the pontiff will visit the city’s Synagogue on the afternoon of Sunday January 17.

Francis will be the third pope, after John Paul II and Benedict XVI, to visit the synagogue. It will be a “meeting charged with symbolic meanings, also in light of the dramatic events of these months and the commitment which religions and religious leaders are called to assume in the struggle against darkness” said Pagine Ebraiche (Jewish Papers), the magazine of the Italian Jewish communities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Czech President Attends Anti-Islam Rally on Revolution Anniversary

The Czech president attended a rally against migrants and Islam in Prague on Tuesday on the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which peacefully toppled communism in then Czechoslovakia.

Nearly 70 percent of Czechs oppose the arrival of migrants and refugees in their country, according to a recent survey by the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Few asylum seekers have chosen to stay in the largely secular European Union and NATO member nation of 10.5 million, with a majority heading to wealthier Germany and other western EU states.

The UN recently criticised a Czech detention centre for migrants and refugees as “degrading.”…

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

Easyjet Open to Expanding Further in Italy — Country Director

Company reports fifth consecutive year of record profit

(ANSA) — Milan, November 17 — Low-cost airline Easyjet could increase its presence in Italy even after the planned opening of a new base in Venice in February 2016 and the arrival of new planes to boost operations in existing bases, its director for Italy Frances Ouseley told ANSA on Tuesday.

When asked whether the company would consider opening new bases, Ouseley replied “yes absolutely”.

“Italy is one of our main markets. We are constantly monitoring new opportunities,” she said. “Of course, for opportunities to be feasible we need to find a match in terms of airport costs and infrastructure,” she added.

She declined to name any potential “candidate” cities as she said it would be premature and each year the company reassesses the best options in all of Europe.

Easyjet reported on Tuesday that annual profit for the year to the end of September rose 18% to 686 million pounds — its fifth straight year of record profits.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Elderly Spend Way More on Out-of-Pocket Care Than Others

Vaccinations could save taxpayers 50mn a year, experts say

(ANSA)- Rome, November 17 — Italy’s elderly spend a disproportionate amount of overall taxpayer spending on out-of-pocket health care, CENSIS think tank said Tuesday.

The elderly spend almost 13 billion euros a year out-of-pocket, making up 40% of Italians’ overall spending on care that is not covered by the national health service, even though the elderly make up just over 20% of the population.

Separately, European public health experts told a Lower House conference that infectious diseases cost Italian taxpayers 97 million euros a year, but effective vaccination could cut those expenses by 50 million euros. Italy allocates such 0.3% of its public health budget to vaccinations, against a European average of 3%, the experts said.

Also on Tuesday, a health ministry study showed hospital stays dropped significantly in the past 10 years, from 7.7 million in 2005 to 6.5 million in 2014. The same study showed a drop in pediatric hospital stays for tonsil removal in 2010-2014, with 10,000 fewer kids being hospitalized for that operation.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

In Bush’s Footsteps: Paris Adopts Measures Similar to US Patriot Act

In response to the Paris attacks the French government has adopted authoritarian measures strikingly similar to those implemented by George W. Bush in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, French journalist and political analyst Gilbert Mercier remarks.

The November 13 attack in Paris has shocked the world and prompted the French government to enact tough measures to ensure security; however, the authoritarian actions are unlikely to solve the country’s longstanding socio-economic problems, apparently lying at the root of the latest hideous assault, French journalist, author and geopolitical analyst Gilbert Mercier underscores.

“The French government’s reaction was both panicked and swift, and it immediately embraced repressive authoritarian measures similar to those that had been set up by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9/11/2001. Just like 9/11 in the United States, it seems that the way France’s bloody Friday will be exploited matters more than the tragedy itself,” Mercier wrote in his recent article for News Junkie Post.

“There is no better justification to crack down on civil liberty, freedom and other principles that define the essence of democracy than the good old permanent global war on terror,” the French author added with a trace of a bitter irony.

The journalist underscored that the Hollande administration has immediately issued a number of orders, including the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency and the introduction of tighter controls at French borders.

Parisians were given instructions to stay at home, while heavily armed police, SWAT teams and military occupied the streets.

Mercier called attention to the fact that a decree strikingly similar to the US Patriot Act was hastily adopted to authorize the search for potential culprits in all buildings and private residences.

The decree also allows the “preemptive arrests without probable cause, of any individual deemed by French authorities to be suspect or dangerous,” the French author underscored, adding that the term “dangerous” is “vague and elastic” and could potentially apply to political dissidents.

While mainstream media sources focused on the French tragedy, a similar attack in Beirut, Lebanon remained largely neglected, Mercier emphasized.

“The unspoken and despicable message sent by the press was that the loss of French lives mattered quite a lot more than the loss of lives of people in the Middle East,” he wrote.

Thus, one can imagine what kind of feeling this approach will provoke in a French youth of Arab origin who usually stands “at the very bottom of the French socioeconomic food chain.”

“People with such grim social prospects are prime and easy targets to become jihadists for ISIS [ISIL],” Mercier pointed out.

Only a sense of real prospect for a better future could become a remedy for France’s hidden social malaise, the French author believes.

In contrast, the road of repression chosen by France’s political and financial establishment leads nowhere.

“For the sake of the European Union’s survival, France, and Europe in general, should drastically rethink its failed policies. The Paris attacks should be regarded as the symptoms of a systemic failure,” he stressed.

On the other hand, in light of NATO’s perpetual wars which have dragged the Middle East and North Africa into the vicious circle of a bloodbath, Paris victims “can be viewed as yet more civilian collateral damage in a world where the net result of absurd Western policies is always the spread of misery and death,” Mercier concluded.

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

Italy: Govt and ANAS Have 20bn Investment Plan

Including 12 bn for South

(ANSA) — Palermo, November 16 — The transport ministry has come up with a 20-billion-euro investment plan over five years in conjunction with Italian highways company ANAS, Cabinet Secretary Graziano Delrio said Monday.

This will include 12 billion euros for Italy’s chronically impoverished South, Delrio said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Rome Guarded by 24,000 Uniformed Police, Army, Alfano Says

Interior minister says 1000 extra servicemen deploying

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — As many as 24,000 uniformed police and army soldiers are being deployed to protect Rome and its province against terrorism as the Jubilee approaches, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday.

“We decided to use 1000 men from the armed forces, 700 are already arriving, and another 300 will arrive,” he said, “in addition the prefect has 1,226 soldiers from the Secure Streets operation at his disposal,” Alfano told Radio Anch’io.

“This is not to preside over things from a military standpoint but to increase fixed sentry positions — we won’t see army trucks going around Rome”.

Security has been stepped up at French buildings in Rome, the Vatican, areas where tourists gather, the 12 most busy areas of the historic centre of Rome and night life districts in a “very meaningful plan,” Alfano added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Five Roma People Found Guilty of Enslaving the Disabled

Forced them to panhandle, beat them up

(ANSA) — Milan, November 17 — A court on Tuesday sentenced five Romanian nationals of the Roma ethnicity to prison for enslavement.

The court found the defendants guilty of forcing 20 disabled people to panhandle and beating them up if they didn’t make at least 30 euros a day.

The sentences ranged from three years four months to 10 years eight months.

The court acquitted two defendants in the case.

Another six suspects are being tried in a different court on the same charges. A seventh suspect is still at large.

=

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Salvini Calls for Turkey Exclusion From Euro 2016

After boos during silence for Paris victims

(ANSA) — Rome, November 18 — Northern League leader Matteo Salvini on Wednesday called for Turkey to be barred from Euro 2016 in France after Turkish fans booed during a minute’s silence for the Paris terror victims ahead of Turkey’s friendly with Greece in Istanbul Tuesday.

“I think that a serious sporting body (like UEFA) should exclude Turkey from the European soccer championships, immediately,” said the leader of the anti-immigrant, anti-euro party.

“If you want to shout ‘Allah is great’ you should stay home and not take part in the Euros”.

Chants of ‘Allahu Akbar’ were reportedly heard in Istanbul as some Turkey fans booed the pre-match minute’s silence.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Nearly 6,000 Foreign Jihadists on Interpol Radar: Chief

Interpol has identified only 5,800 foreign fighters of the roughly 25,000 believed to have joined jihadist groups in conflict zones like Syria and Iraq, the head of the global police body said Wednesday.

He was speaking at an anti-terrorism conference in Seville just days after the Paris terror attacks which killed 129 people and a bomb threat in Germany which led to the cancellation of a football match between Germany and Netherlands.

“The organisation currently holds records of some 5,800 suspected foreign terrorist fighters contributed by more than 50 countries,” Juergen Stock said in an address.

“But with some estimates putting the number of foreign terrorist fighters at more than 25,000 clearly a significant gap still exists between the number of foreign terrorist fighters we have identified and those estimated to have reached conflict zones.”…

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

Op-Ed: Media Lies Are Rewriting the Present

By Gábor Somlai

April 30, 1945: Press Release:

“German boy commits suicide in occupied Berlin”

A German boy committed suicide in occupied Berlin while occupation forces continued the encirclement of the blockaded city.

The boy, aged 56, a vegetarian who loved dogs, was involved in the alleged murder of Jewish settlers.

His suicide prevented the occupation forces from taking the activist a political prisoner or even killing him, which is a common method to break down the resistance and self-determination of the German people.

This brings the total civilian death toll to over 4 million on the German side, including women and children.

Occupation forces also suffered casualties in the most recent conflict.

The boy, named Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany. He is succeeded by Joseph Goebbels, a politician and a father of six.

This is how Hitler’s suicide could have been written and reported had it occurred today and not in 1945. And it would be believed. In fact, one may find the style and language of the news statement above familiar because the propaganda war against Israel has entered a new stage and that is what it is doing.[…]

[Read the article for an expaination…]

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]
 

Poll Says 46% of Italians Fear Terrorist Attacks at Jubilee

Increase of 8% after Paris attacks

(ANSA) — Rome, November 17 — As many as 46% of Italians fear terrorist attacks during the Jubilee in Rome starting next month, according to an Ixè survey for Raitre television released Tuesday.

The percentage is an increase of 8% on the percentage last Friday before the Paris slayings while the previous Friday the percentage was 33%.

“We are not yet at a panic level,” Ixè president Roberto Weber opined, “however in 10 days after the Merano (jihadi) arrests and above all the Paris attacks people are more scared”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Suspect Sought in Sweden for ‘Planning Terrorist Act’: Police

Swedish police were hunting Wednesday for a man wanted for “planning a terrorist act”, security services said, with the country on high alert following the deadly terror assault in Paris last week.

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

Terrorism Spending Outside Stability Pact — Juncker

EC head announces flexibility for such costs

(ANSA) — Brussels, November 18 — France and other countries’ spending against terrorism should be assessed outside the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday in a de facto affirmation of the principle of ‘flexibility’ for such costs. “France must address grave acts of terrorism and must address supplementary spending that must not have the same treatment as other spending” vis-a-vis the Pact, he said, adding that the principle “is valid for other countries too”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Verhofstadt Calls for Creation of EU Intelligence Agency

Faced with the failure of European security cooperation, the leader of the Liberals in the European Parliament has called for the creation of an EU intelligence agency. EurActiv France reports.

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the liberal ALDE group in the European Parliament, told MEPs that the creation of a European intelligence agency, as well as a corps of European border and coast guards, is more urgent than ever.

At a debate in Brussels on Wednesday (18 November), the Belgian politician focussed on the situation in Syria and the fact that France had broken new ground by activating article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Invoking article 42.7

“The activation of article 42.7 is a development that passed largely unnoticed, but that is of fundamental importance. Previously we would have invoked article five of NATO or article 222 of the Treaty of the EU, which concerns domestic security,” the MEP said.

Verhofstadt believes the activation of article 42.7 necessarily implies the creation of a European coalition that other states can contribute to.

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]
 

Vivendi Says Has 20.11% of Telecom Italia

‘No talks with Niel’ says French media group

(ANSA) — Milan, November 17 — French media group Vivendi said Tuesday it had 20.11% of Telecom Italia (TI) and did not have any savings shares “either directly or indirectly”. It also said it had had no talks with French businessman Xavier Niel, who has taken a 15% stake in Telecom Italia. Vivendi and Niel, who owns Internet provider Iliad, have repeatedly denied they are acting in concert to take over TI.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Watch Ireland vs Bosnia Fans Boo Minute’s Silence for Paris Attack Victims Before Euro 2016 Play-Off

Football fans have booed and jeered a minute’s silence that was held in memory of the people who lost their lives in the Paris terrorist attacks.

At least 132 people were killed during a series of attacks in the French capital on Friday and militant group IS have claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

The Republic of Ireland hosted Bonia & Herzegovina in a Euro 2016 play-off at the Aviva Staidum, Dublin on Tuesday night but the pre-planned moment of reflection was disrespected by a minority of those in attendance.

Moment of silence for victims of tragic incident in Paris last Friday now taking place #rip

The crowd initially took several moments to quieten down before the referee blew his whistle to begin the silence, but booing could soon be heard once it had started.

The noise was believed to have been generated in the away end of the stadium.

           — Hat tip: Green Infidel [Return to headlines]
 

We’ll Raise Flag Over Vatican Says ISIS

And Istanbul

(ANSA) — Rome, November 18 — ISIS said in the latest number of its magazine Dabiq that “we ask Allah to support the mujaheddin against the agents of idolatry and the crusaders until the flag of the Caliphate is raised on Istanbul and Vatican City”. The Islamist militants have threatened to strike Rome on several occasions.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Zara Fires French Employees for Barring Woman Wearing Headscarf

Zara fired two employees from a French store on Tuesday after social media outrage over a woman being denied entry for wearing a Muslim headscarf.

“This type of mentality is unheard of at Zara and there have never been instructions given out to act this way,” said Jean-Jacques Salaun, head of Zara’s French stores.

Salaun said a security guard at the store in Plaisir, west of Paris, asked the woman to remove her headscarf, known as a hijab. When the woman refused, she was not allowed to enter.

French law bars people from wearing full-face veils such as with the burqa or the niqab, but the hijab covers only a woman’s hair…

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

ISIS Explains How it Brought Down Russian Plane

In the same issue of Dabiq, ISIS also published a photo explaining how its terrorists brought down a Russian airliner in Sinai last month.

The image, tagged “Exclusive,” shows an IED (improvised explosive device) and the soda can it was hidden in before the bombing.

“After resolving to bring down a plane belonging to a nation in the American-led Western coalition against ISIS, the target was changed to a Russian plane,” the group writes.

“A bomb was smuggled onto the airplane,” the group added, noting it had “discovered a way to compromise the security at Sharkm el-Sheikh airport” to bring down the Metrojet airliner on October 31. […]

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]
 

World Famous Boxer & Christian Zionist Manny Pacquiao Visits Israel [Photos]

One of the world’s biggest names in boxing is in Israel this week in a show of solidarity with the State of Israel.

Manny Pacquiao, a world champion 36-year-old Filipino boxer, is a staunch supporter of Israel and a self-described born-again Christian. Ranked as the second highest paid athlete in the world by Forbes as of 2015, Pacquiao has made a name for himself out of the ring for his devout religious beliefs.

Pacquiao’s support for the state and nation of Israel runs so deep that he even named his son, born in 2014, “Israel”. Fred Sternberg, Pacquiao’s publicist, told The Algemeiner in May 2014 that the boxer even has mezuzahs affixed to each doorpost of his home in the Philippines.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

‘Fatima’ Probe Shows ‘Flow of Foreign Fighters’ To ISIS

Young convert ‘prepared to do anything’, investigators say

(ANSA) — Milan, November 18 — Investigations into Maria Giulia ‘Fatima’ Sergio, a young convert to Islam who is allegedly in Syria with her Albanian jihadist husband, and 10 other people, including her father Sergio and sister Marianna, for alleged criminal association for terrorism and aiding and abetting have “shown clearly the constant and particularly large flow of so-called foreign fighters from numerous countries” and the ability of the Islamic State to “sort the volunteers regardless of their provenance”, Milan prosecutors said Wednesday. Wiretaps also allowed investigators to establish that the “rules” set out in on-line “manuals” for reaching the Islamic State “effectively work” and to “reconstruct the activities carried out both within the occupied territories and with a view to territorial expansion”. These include recruitment activities carried out by people who have already reached the area held by Islamic State and activities of indoctrination and proselytism carried out on-line. In this respect, investigators have reconstructed “the organisation of the departure of ‘Fatima’s family members to join ISIS in relation to the absolute compulsoriness of the ‘jihra’ (emigration) and of the serious consequences for those who, though able, don’t practice it”. Fatima’s sister Marianna and their parents were arrested before leaving Italy for Syria in July. Investigators also allege Fatima is prepared “to carry out any action requested by the organisation, including martyrdom” and that she has “trained in the use of long and short weapons”.

The case is set to come before before a preliminary hearings judge on December 21.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

France: Jewish Teacher Stabbed by ‘IS Supporters’

The attack in France comes as the country is on heightened alert after Friday’s massacre in Paris in which 129 people were killed.

A Jewish teacher in Marseille, France, has been stabbed by three people claiming to be Islamic State supporters, say prosecutors.

The victim’s life is not in danger, they added.

It comes as France is on heightened alert after last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris in which 129 people were killed and over 350 others hurt…

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Hundreds of Bahraini Soldiers Arrive in Yemen to Join Anti-Houthi Forces

Hundreds of Bahraini soldiers arrived to Yemen on Wednesday to join the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels, a military source told Sputnik Wednesday.

SANAA (Sputnik) — Between 200 and 300 Bahraini servicemen arrived in the Yemeni southern port of Aden, the source said, adding that “they will take part in combat action against the Houthi rebels and their allies in Taiz Governorate.”

The Saudi-led coalition’s spokesman Ahmed Asiri confirmed the arrival of the soldiers, as reported by the Al-Arabiya television channel.

Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour returned to his country on Tuesday after an exile in Saudi Arabia, as loyalist forces continued an offensive in Taiz. Hadi is expected to directly oversee the offensive.

Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government and Shiite Houthi rebels, who have been supported by army units loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Since late March, a Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Houthi positions at the request of Hadi.

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

ISIS Says Executed Norwegian, Chinese Captives

Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, Fan Jinghui believed killed

(ANSA) — Rome, November 18 — The Islamic State said Wednesday it has killed Norwegian and Chinese captives after earlier demanding ransoms for the two men, the Associated Pres reported.

The extremist group published two images of the men in the second-to-last page of its glossy English-language magazine, saying they had been “executed after being abandoned by kafir nations and organizations.” “Kafir” is the Arabic word for infidel. In the images, the men both appeared to have been shot to death.

There was no immediate reaction in Beijing to the announcement, nor from the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Norwegian prime minister’s office could not confirm the death. Its spokeswoman Trude Maseide told the Norwegian news agency NTB that there are “published photos that indicate that the hostage Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad has been executed. We are trying to get it verified and will come back with further information.” Grimsgaard-Ofstad has previously been identified as a 48-year-old graduate student in political philosophy from Porsgrunn, south of Oslo. The Chinese man had been identified as Fan Jinghui, 50, a self-described “wanderer” from Beijing who once taught middle school.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

‘ISIS Has Killed 100,000 Muslims’: Says Jordanian King

During visit in Kosovo. ‘War within Islam underway’

(ANSA) — BEIRUT — Some 100,000 Muslims have been killed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in the past two years, King Abdullah said in a press conference on Tuesday during a visit to Pristina, Kosovo.

The Hashemite king was quoted by several media outlets as saying that a “war within Islam” was underway. King Abdallah, who did not specify how he reached this particular figure, reiterated that in his opinion the West and the East are threatened by “a Third World War against humanity”.

“This is what unites us,” Abdallah added, once again calling for a shared struggle against terrorism. Jordan is one of the West’s main allies in the Middle East region and member of the US-led international coalition, which since September 2014 has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Pinotti Rules Out Italian Intervention in Syria

Minister says troops involved in training in Iraq to rise

(ANSA) — Brussels, November 17 — Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of Italy conducting military operations against ISIS in Syria. “I rule out an intervention in Syria. I don’t rule out reinforcing the intervention in Iraq. We are reinforcing it,” she said referring to Italian troops involved in training. “The number planned for our mission in the previous decree was about 500 people, while the decree that is currently being debated in parliament envisages 750. “We are significantly increasing the number of trainers, as the coalition asked us to”. Pinotti said Tuesday that Italy had pledged France full cooperation following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Italy has guaranteed France the maximum level of cooperation of our country,” Pinotti said after a meeting of European defence ministers. “Italy already does a lot because we are among the top contingents in Iraq for the fight against ISIS”. She added that all of France’s 28 EU partners had expressed solidary at Tuesday’s meeting.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Japan to Set Up Representation Office in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2016

Referring to the economic and political developments in the Kurdistan Region during the last decade, the Ambassador stressed that the Government of Japan will open a representation office in the Kurdistan Region, according to Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) foreign relations department.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Japan is set to open its representation office in the Kurdistan autonomous region of Iraq in 2016, Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) foreign relations department said in a press release on Monday.

Japanese Ambassador to Iraq Fumio Iwai announced Tokyo’s decision during a meeting between KRG Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, according the press release.

“Referring to the economic and political developments in the Kurdistan Region during the last decade, the Ambassador stressed that the Government of Japan will open a representation office in the Kurdistan Region next year,” the press release said.

In February, the Japanese government decided to provide some 276 million in low-interest loans to assist Iraqi Kurdistan in improving its infrastructure.

In 2009, Japan International Cooperation Agency was established in the Kurdistan Region to provide development support aimed at improving local residents’ living standard by means of technical cooperation, soft loan and grant aid assistance in cooperation with KRG.

Iraqi Kurdistan, governed by KRG, is an autonomous region of Iraq, bordering Iran, Turkey and Syria.

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

More Valuable Than Gold: Refugees and Terrorists Crave Syrian Passports

Syrian passports, both genuine and fake, have become a much-coveted object for asylum seekers fleeing hot spots in the Middle East and Africa, as well as terrorists who try to enter Europe posing as refugees, War is Boring reported.

And where there’s demand, there’s supply.

“There has long been a thriving black market for passports as record numbers of people seek out new lives in the West. And for years, terror analysts have warned that terrorists could exploit this black market and pose as refugees,” Kevin Knodell noted.

This fear was further fueled last week when a Syrian passport was recovered from one of the suicide bombers responsible for the night of terror in Paris, which left 129 people killed.

Authorities and experts disagree whether the document is genuine or fake. Even if it was issued by Syrian authorities, it could have been stolen. But whoever the attacker truly is, the implications of establishing a link between terrorist acts and refugees could be far-reaching.

“The chaotic nature of the crisis creates ample room for Islamic State to move its agents back and forth. Whether the Bataclan killer was actually a Syrian or a non-Syrian terrorist, it’s already led many Westerners to be even more fearful of the refugees,” the website observed.

This could well be what ISIL was hoping to achieve. As evidenced by the growing popularity of far-right movements across the continent, many Europeans have been increasingly wary of foreigners who hail from other European countries, let alone refugees from faraway lands. Latest terrorist acts could reinforce this trend.

When it comes to non-Syrian refugees, they purchase Syrian passports in the hope that they could receive aid if not asylum meant specifically for Syrians.

“Several European countries have agreed to take in Syrian refugees, but millions more — Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Eritreans, Yemenese, Somalis and others — are fleeing violence and deprivation in their homelands but are disqualified for programs aimed at Syrians. As a result, Syrian passports are a ticket for refugees and their families to qualify for aid programs,” Knodell noted.

Although it might seem counterintuitive, even Syrians themselves often purchase fake passports because they lost their official IDs and cannot make new ones.

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

‘My Country Says I’m a Threat’, Danish Woman Fighting ISIL Tells Sputnik

Joanna Palani is a young Danish woman of Kurdish descent, who became famous worldwide when she declared she was leaving Denmark and heading to the Middle East to fight ISIL.

The 22-year-old is one of many Westerners to join the fight against ISIL in the Syrian city of Kobani.

When asked in a recent interview with Sputnik about the reason why she decided to drop out from university and fight against ISIL together with Kurdish armed forces in Iraq, Joanna said she decided to go after Kobani and Shingal were seized by ISIL and civilians were attacked and killed there.

She believes that every country should fight against or at least help the Kurds fight against ISIL and other terrorist groups, but she did not think that the Kurds have been recieving much help on the ground from the US-led coalition.

In Denmark, Joanna heared news about her people being killed “from every side” and, unable to focus on her own life, she finally decided to leave school and friends to join the fight against the Islamic terrorists in Iraq where she spent almost a year as a drill sergeant in a womens camp in Kurdistan.

When asked if the Kurdish forces need any support, arms or equipment in their struggle against ISIL, Joanna said they certainly do.

“Every time we were in combat with ISIL or al-Qaeda, we didn’t have good equipment, while the ISIL forces are mostly armed with modern US weapons from 2003,” she complained.

Once she returned to Denmark to take a brief break from fighting, Palani said she had her passport seized by police and the Danish intelligence service PET.

“They took away my passport and said I was not allowed to leave Denmark because I was a “threat to the Danish state,” which doesn’t make sense since Denmark is also a part in the fight against ISIL. I have a lawyer now, who helps me. We are going to a curt with this decision.

When asked about her plans for the future, Joanna Palani said she wanted to go back to her unit and keep doing her duty.

“And when the war with ISIL is over, I will go back to my school again… If I’m not dead by then,” she said.

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

Obama Read ISIL All Wrong, Consistently Underestimating Threat

An analyst from the influential US think tank Center for the National Interest explains that since the fall of Mosul in June, 2014, the Obama White House has “consistently underestimated” ISIL’s “potency and resilience” as a threat to both the United States and the Western world.

In his piece for The National Interest, commenting on President Barack Obama’s disastrous interview for ABC News, where the president suggested that ISIL had been “contained” just hours before terrorists launched a series of coordinated attacks in the streets of Paris, Middle East expert Andrew Bowen noted that the comments signal “a failure in [both] intelligence and strategy.”

Bowen, a Senior Fellow and Director of Middle East Studies at the Washington-based Center for the National Interest, suggested that “since the seizure of Mosul over a year and a half ago, President Obama’s team has consistently underestimated the potency and resilience of ISIL as a national security threat to the United States.”

The analyst recalled how the president “previously referred to the nascent organization as a ‘junior varsity’ team, and a day before Paris remarked that ISIL had been downsized and contained.” Furthermore, “even before the rise of ISIL, the White House has misjudged the potential risks of Syria’s civil war on the security of the US homeland and its allies abroad.”

And when the US did decide to intervene against the terrorist group, when it had already captured large swathes of Syria and Iraq, Bowen noted that the US’s military strategy has been “both cumbersome and failing to reap significant progress. The anti-ISIL air campaign,” the analyst noted, “has consistently favored restraint and narrowly defined targets at the expense of making an effective and credible push to debilitate ISIL’s supply lines and their ability to hold key strategic centers, notably Raqqa and Mosul.”

Commenting on the US’s stated goals of minimizing civilian casualties, Bowen noted that “while minimizing civilian casualties is a necessary priority, this objective shouldn’t be at the expense of allowing ISIL to manage and run a state from which they have launched both a reign of terror in Syria and Iraq and abroad.”

As for Washington’s strategy on the ground, the expert suggested that it “has been equally a fitful low-resourced effort of failing to train adequately opposition militants, tribal outreach, reliance on the [Kurdish] PYD, and Iran’s [Revolutionary Guard] and Shia militias.”

What underlines “these strategic and tactical failings,” according to the analyst, “are the fundamental underpinnings of President Obama’s flawed approach to ISIL. ISIL cannot be simply contained.”

“The mindset that Washington can remain safe and secure and focus on Asia without having a sustained strategy for combatting global extremism and addressing instability in the Middle East may sound appealing for a President seeking a legacy of ending wars in the Middle East, but it isn’t a strategy for security America’s future,” Bowen noted. “Quite the contrary.”

Ultimately, the analyst suggests that instead of focusing on “engaging opponents in the region, Washington needs to reinvest in its partners…and also improve relations with other states facing common challenges.” The president, in his view “should use the tragic events in Paris as an opportunity to reexamine his fundamental assumptions about America’s interests and its security globally.”

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

Patriarch Younan: IS Cannot be Defeated With Air Raids, The West Has Betrayed Christians

The head of the Syrian Catholic Church, Mar Ignace Youssif III Younan, accuses Western governments of perpetuating an “endless conflict in Syria” out of regional interests. The terrorists who use Islam as an excuse for violence “have already infiltrated Europe, supported by money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States under the supervision of Western governments.” Pope Francis “true defender of justice, is deeply pained by what is happening in Syria and Iraq.”

Cairo (AsiaNews) — The terrorists of the so-called Islamic State “have already infiltrated in European populations. For years they have received money, weapons and religious indoctrination from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, with the supervision of the West. To claim that the solution is to carry out air strikes [in Syria and Iraq ed] is a lie”, says the patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church Ignace Youssif III Younan in “Le Messager”, a magazine published by the Catholic Church in Egypt.

In a long interview, the patriarch accuses Western governments of wanting to “perpetuate the endless conflict in Syria” and of having “betrayed the Christians of the East. We explained from the beginning that our situation was different from that of other nations in the region, they were not listened to. And now we mourn deaths over the past five years. “ Below the full interview, Italian translation by AsiaNews.

Beatitude, what is the current situation for the Syrian people, and especially Christians?

At the moment the situation in Iraq and Syria is dramatic, and all the Syrian people are living in pain. We, as pastors, we must be close to our people and help them to the best of our ability. The Syrian Catholics (as well as other churches like the Chaldeans, Assyrians and Syriac Orthodox) have lived for centuries in eastern Syria, close to the River Rafi Din. But we had never moved west or to Lebanon as we have in these days. Our presence extended to Iran, Afghanistan and India. The hills of Afghanistan known as Tora Bora are named after a Syrian term which means ‘the darker hills ‘.

Today we are trapped in a terrible situation: Sunni and Shia, sectarian and ethnic problems, criminal gangs called Isis and other terrorist groups who use Islam as an excuse to “purify” areas under their control in the name of religion , and Muslims scholars who tell us that Islam is alien to these facts.

We Christians are not able to live in this chaos that produces militias, armed gangs, terrorist groups and Islamic parties. But when we maintain a firm stand against these phenomena, then the West accuses us of being dictatorial. Yet the story does not matter if there is a caliph, a king, an emir, a prince or a president of the Republic; at least until these can guarantee peace and security to the minorities.

When chaos broke out, after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, we understood the horror of this situation. Western democracies that have conspired against Syria and have produced the destruction of the nation’s infrastructure, the demolition of houses, towns, villages, monuments and archaeological sites. This is the result of a foolish politics and of a conspiracy, under the pretext of bringing democracy to the region

Our nations do not easily accept democracy because there is no real separation of religion from the state. Minorities beg to be represented in front of the Muslim majority, and they feel like immigrants in a foreign land. We Christians have been in these lands for thousands of years, long before Islam. The politicians of the West — and in particular those of the United States, Britain and France — are in favor of an endless conflict in Iraq and Syria. This has produced groups of terrorists and ‘takfiriin’ [those who condemn others with apostasy-ed] and Western media are silent, cowardly and complicit. This is not defending the truth and justice: this is bowing down to those who pay and remaining silent.

All Eastern patriarchs, including myself, have spoken out clearly to the West from the very beginning: “Be careful, the situation in Syria is not like the Egyptian, Tunisian or Libyan. It is much more complex, and conflict will create only chaos and civil war. “ They listened and responded: “No, the Assad regime will fall in a few months.” Something that has not happened, as I predicted. And five years after an innocent people, and especially Christians, have no support. The West has betrayed us.

What is your view of the flow of migrants to Europe?

More than two months ago, the world was moved by the photograph of the little Aylan, who died on the Turkish coast with his brother and mother. But Western governments have another agenda, in particular Turkey has changed its policy towards immigrants once it realized that the United Nations and the European Union would not have helped sufficiently. And then Mrs. Merkel announced that Germany would accept 800 thousand migrants.

In this way the flow of migrants has increased, as well as the number of those traveling with false documents or other illegal ways to reach Germany or other European countries. It is not just the Syrians: even the number of those from other nations has increased.

Today the various parts of the world have become much closer to each other. It is inconceivable to think that Daesh [Arabic term for the Islamic state ed] can be defeated with air raids: this is a big lie. Because their supporters have infiltrated the population, they are financed and have access to weapons and religious indoctrination. For years these terrorist groups were supplied by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries under the supervision of the West. Now the Syrians are asking Russia to intervene on the basis of an agreement of military co-ordination. The Syrian government is the legitimate government recognized by the United Nations. We must be practical: only 1% of Iraqi citizens is now Christian. If these flee, our presence will fade. We do not need words but of deeds.

Have you any hope in the Vienna talks?

There is hope, but I do not know for how much longer. It is easy to destroy, but it’s hard to build. In the last five years we have had only destruction and forced migration, and it will take time to restart. I hope that these talks will conclude in the best possible way.

You participated in Rome at the Synod on the family. His Holiness Pope Francis is saddened by what is happening to Eastern Christians …

yes, His Holiness the Pope — as Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter, head of the Catholic Church and the leader of the largest religious community in the world — is full of sorrow for what is happening in the East. And as the “father” of the Synod he has issued an urgent appeal for solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East. His Holiness is a defender of justice, and suggested that the Vatican could host the next conference on the future of Eastern Christians. It’s a shame that the West has abandoned Christians to this situation.

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

Save Persecuted Religious Minorities First: James Robbins

President Obama says that it would be offensive to our values to make a special effort to save Syrian Christian refugees. But since when it is un-American to stop genocide?

At a press conference Monday at the G20 Summit inAntalya, Turkey, Obama denounced those who say that the United States should “just admit the Christians but not the Muslims” fleeing war-torn Syria. “That’s shameful,” he declared. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

However, for at-risk religious minorities in Syria and Iraq this is not simply a question of compassion, it is a matter of life or death. The U.S. may not impose religious tests but the Islamic State does. Muslims who remain under the oppressive rule of the caliphate may suffer, but Yazidis, Assyrian Christians, and other indigenous religious minorities are marked for extermination, with women and children sold into sex slavery.

Obama would do well to familiarize himself with the 1948 Convention on thePrevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Convention defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

The Islamic State may be killing individual Muslims, but it is not trying to destroy the Islamic faith. However, it is seeking out members of the small, historically rooted religious populations, many of which have lived peacefully in that part of the world for centuries before Islam ever existed. ISIS is not only annihilating them; its members proudly post videos of their atrocities on Youtube.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

Terrorist Attacks: Causes and Implications

In his latest RT interview Dr. Trifkovic considers the state of play following the announcement by Russia’s FSB security agency that the plane crash over Sinai was a terrorist attack.

RT: Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor at Chronicles magazine, is in Belgrade… What are you thoughts on the new information about the plane explosion?

ST: The first thought was how right Putin was to emphasize [at the G20 summit] the need for joint action, and how misguided are those unnamed ‘partners’ that he mentioned, who did not want to join forces because obviously they regard Russia’s terrorist problem as somehow less important than their own.

From now on The Russian president has a free hand in deciding how to deal with this problem, regardless of whether the U.S. and its own allies are serious about the anti-ISIS fight or not. And finally, after all that has come to pass since last Friday night, the old mantra of ‘Assad must go!’ will no longer be heard. We need to prioritize. Obviously there will be no chance of a political solution in Syria unless the terrorist threat is removed first. Not even then is it certain that there will be one, but the old theory that you need to fight Bashar al-Assad on the one side and ISIS on the other at the same time, in parallel — which was the favorite line in Washington — I think has been finally swept aside.

RT: Islamic State has claimed responsibility for both attacks, for what happened on October 31 over Sinai and also on Friday night in Paris. Previously a lot of experts thought that the group did not have the reach to carry out terrorist attacks on such a large scale. Now they seem to have been completely at fault…

ST: ISIS does not only control large territory and has the attributes of a de facto state in about one half of Syria and a solid chunk of northwestern Iraq; it also has sympathizers all over the Islamic world, and inside the Islamic diaspora in Europe. It stands to reason that at some point it will start using those assets, especially when it wants to retaliate for actions such as the Russian bombing campaign which started on September 30; the French had started even earlier, although not very seriously but rather half-heartedly…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]
 

Watch: Turkish Football Fans Boo and Cry “Allahu Akbar’ During Silence for Paris Victims

The silence was held before a friendly game between the Turkish national team and Greece on Tuesday night in Istanbul. There are long standing historical tensions between the two rival nations, and it was the first time the two teams had met for eight years.

Fans in the 17,000 strong sell-out crowd began jeering and shouting as soon the collective gesture of respect and morning for the victims and refection on the horrors that befell France began.

As well as “Allahu Akbar” — Arabic for “god is great” — spectators also chanted, “the martyrs are immortal, the fatherland indivisible”, a popular slogan used by nationalists against the Kurdish, but also one which appears to imply sympathy for the dead ISIS terrorists and suicide bombers.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]
 

Italy’s Lega Nord Party to Visit Russia to Discuss Terrorism, Sanctions

Representatives of Italy’s Eurosceptic Lega Nord party will visit Moscow to discuss counter-terrorism efforts and anti-Russia sanctions.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova — Italian lawmakers from Eurosceptic Lega Nord party will visit Moscow in mid-December, with counter-terrorism efforts and anti-Russia sanctions likely to be on agenda, a member of the delegation told Sputnik on Wednesday.

“In the middle of December an Italian delegation headed by [Lega Nord head]Matteo Salvini that also includes me and president of the Lombardy — Russia [Cultural] Association Gianluca Savoini will visit Moscow,” Claudio D’Amico said.

D’Amico underlined that his party supports Russia in its fight against terrorism and welcomes an idea of creating an international coalition against ISIL that could have “a broader approach dealing with the situation in Libya and Iraq.”

“Our party is also against sanctions and believes that they have to be lifted,” D’amico said, adding that the two issues are likely to be discussed during Moscow talks, including at a meeting with representatives of the ruling United Russia Party.

The upcoming visit will become the second trip of Lega Nord Party representatives to Moscow.

In October 2014, the lawmakers met with Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house of Russia’s parliament Alexei Pushkov and speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament Sergei Naryshkin.

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

Bangladesh: Dinajpur: Attackers “Wanted to Kill” PIME Missionary, But His Life is Not in Danger

Three still unknown attackers seriously wounded Fr Piero Parolari. Police took into custody ten members of an Islamic fundamentalist party. Ruling and opposition parties blame each other. Source pins the incident on “the country’s disastrous political situation”. After the Tavella murder, the government had promised greater security.

Dinajpur (AsiaNews) — This morning, three men, one with a gun and another with a knife, attacked Fr Piero Parolari, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).

“They wanted to kill him,” one of the victim’s confreres told AsiaNews. “He is conscious and talking.” After he was taken to the Dinajpur Medical College Hospital, he “was moved to a medical facility in Dhaka as a precaution. Doctors said that his life is not in danger.”

Nothing is known of the attackers, the Catholic source said, but police have arrested ten members of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic fundamentalist group recently in the news for trying to murder a Protestant clergyman.

Fr Parolari, 64, is a medical missionary and associate pastor in Suihari. He has been in Bangladesh since 1985, working at the St Vincent Hospital.

As he usually does, this morning he was riding his bicycle on his way to the hospital to treat two youths injured in a car accident when a motorcycle drew up him.

“He was near a bus stop in front of a government building,” the Catholic source said. “Three thugs were on the motorcycle. One shot him in the neck, but only grazed it, whilst another threw a knife (perhaps a Chinese knife) at the carotid artery. The cut did most of the damage. Fr Parolari lost a lot of blood.”

The priest fell and hit his head. He has bruises on his eyes and body. The doctors moved him to a hospital in the capital for further observation.

For Fr Parolari’s confrere, what matters “is that police is still saying that the attackers wanted to kill him.”

According to the source, “the reason for the attempted murder is not religious hatred against the Christian community, but the country’s disastrous political situation.”

“Every day, the government in Dhaka is arresting members of the opposition BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) and the Jamaat-e-Islami, ahead of elections in December, which now have been blocked.”

Fuelling tensions, “the Supreme Court of Bangladesh confirmed the death sentence of two political opponents, convicted of war crimes during the Indo-Pakistani conflict of 1971,” which led to the secession of Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan) from Pakistan (then known as West Pakistan).

“When politically-charged events like this ruling occur, the police tells foreigners to stay at home. Although Fr Parolari was attacked before the High Court’s decision, the verdict was already known.”

The religious also noted that following the killing of Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella, shot in the capital whilst jogging, “the government said that it would provide greater protection to foreigners. But all these arrests demonstrate that some parts of the country are still unsafe.”

Several Christian, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders condemned the attack against the Catholic doctor, who is well respected for his work in favour of the needy.

“The attempted murder of a Catholic priest is unacceptable,” Shamsuddin Ahamed, a Muslim, told AsiaNews. “This type of attack harms Bangladesh’s image among developed countries. The government must ensure justice. “

“We strongly condemn what happened,” said Promod Mankin, a Catholic activist and State Minister for Social Affairs Minister. “We want to inflict exemplary punishment on the guilty.”

However, for Fr Parolari’s confrere, the parties are just trying to blame each other. BNP leaders want the government to “find the real culprits rather than hound the opposition.”

(Sumon Corraya contributed to this article)

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

China’s New Silk Road: Boom or Dust for Pakistan?

A glossy highway and hundreds of lorries transporting Chinese workers by the thousands: the new Silk Road is under construction in northern Pakistan, but locals living on the border are yet to be convinced they will receive more from it than dust.

The town of Sost is gateway to millions in customs duties, with its rickety stalls of corrugated iron engraved in Mandarin and Urdu, its cross-border secret agents and its dusty petrol station’s abrupt service.

It is the first stop along a new $46 billion “economic corridor” designed by China in Pakistan…

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

Italian Wounded in Latest Attack on Foreigners in Bangladesh: Police

Unidentified gunmen shot and wounded an Italian man on Wednesday in northern Bangladesh, the latest attack on foreigners that have been blamed on hardline Islamists, police said.

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

China: Xinjiang: 17 Uighur “Terrorists” Killed, Women and Children Included

Chinese military raid cave where wanted suspects were hiding. The latter had been on the run for almost two months on suspicion of masterminding a terror attack in a coalmine that killed 50 people. In what appears to be more Chinese heavy-handedness against ethnic Muslims, the dead include the terrorists’ relatives: four women and three children.

Urumqi (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have killed 17 terror suspects from three families, including women and children, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

“Yes, I received a notice from my superiors informing us that all of the terrorists have been killed and warning us to remain vigilant against a possible revenge attack,” said Exmet Abliz, police chief of Bay’s Qeyir Township, told RFA.

Police sources said that the 17 fugitives were killed when the military blew up the cave in which they were hiding. The fugitives were wanted in connection with the Sogan Colliery attack that killed 50 people.

On that occasion, Chinese authorities pinned the attack on ethnic Uighurs, Turkic-speaking Muslims concentrated in Xinjiang who seek cultural and religious autonomy from Beijing.

For nearly two months, police and the military sought the 17 suspects: the three men believed to have carried out the attack — Tursun Jume, 46, Musa Toxtiniyaz, 47, and Memet Eysa, 60, from Chokatal Meadow, in Bay’s Kanchi Township — and their family members.

Ekber, the director of the Terek Township middle school, which has been used as a base of operations for the manhunt, said teachers and staff finally returned to classes on Tuesday after nearly two months.

“I received a call from the chief of the Bay County Education Department, who told me that the war had ended with a great victory — that all the terrorists had been killed and that we could return to the middle school,” he said.

“Based on the warrant list,” said Ekber, “we found out that the 17 suspects included four women and three children, one of which — nine-year-old Munire [Memet, the adopted granddaughter of Memet Eysa] — was one of our second grade students.”

A local official who provided the names of the suspects to RFA in October said at the time that neither the women nor the children had been involved.

The police raid comes a few days after China, following the Paris attacks, stated that it was going to intensify its fight against Uighur terrorism, which it blames on the al Qaeda-linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

China has vowed to crack down on the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism. However, experts have questioned China’s action for its heavy-handed rule in Xinjiang, blaming the escalation of violence on the central government unjust policies.

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

Moscow, Beijing to Enhance Cooperation in Field of Aircraft Engines

China’s high ranking officials visited the Ufa Engine Industrial Association, where both sides expressed interest in further expansion of cooperation in the field of aircraft engines.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — China’s high ranking officials visited the Ufa Engine Industrial Association, a part of Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC), where both sides expressed interest in further expansion of cooperation in the field of aircraft engines, the UEC press service said Wednesday.

“Senior management of the United Engine Corporation discussed with the state and military leadership of the People’s Republic of China further development of cooperation in the field of production, supply and maintenance of aviation equipment,” the press service said in a statement.

The Chinese delegation was represented by Minister of Industry and Information Miao Wei, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Gen. Xu Qiliang, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui, Chairman of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Lin Zuoming and high ranking officials from the command of the People’s Liberation Army of China.

“Gen. Xu Qiliang on behalf of Chinese leadership confirmed that China is interested in further strengthening of relations with the Russian engine manufacturing industry,” the statement reads.

Several thousand UEC-made engines are in operation in China, including the Saturn AL-31F turbofan engine powering the Sukhoi Su-27/Su-30 fighter aircraft, its modification AL-31FN designed specifically for the Chinese Chengdu J-10 single-engine multirole fighter and the Soloviev D-30KP/KU low-bypass turbofan engines.

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

US to Give Two Additional Ships to Philippine Navy to Boost Border Control

According US President Barack Obama, Washington plans to hand over two additional ships to the Philippine Navy to boost its maritime border control.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States will transfer two military ships to the Philippines to provide support in mapping territorial waters and enhance patrols, President Barack Obama said on Tuesday.

“I can announce that we intend to transfer two additional ships to the Philippine Navy, a research vessel to help map its territorial waters, and another US Coast Guard cutter to bolster the Navy’s ability to conduct long-endurance patrols,” Obama said.

Obama made the statement after touring the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a frigate of the Philippine Navy, which previously served as a US Coast Guard vessel.

The transfer, Obama explained, is a part of the US commitment to increase maritime security assistance to its allies.

He added that more capable navies contribute to regional security.

On Tuesday, Obama arrived in the Philippines to take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting scheduled for November 18-19.

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

Jonah Lomu Dies — The End for an All Blacks Legend, New Zealand Hero

The cause of All Blacks great Jonah Lomu’s death remains uncertain, but was probably related to his kidney failure, his friend and former ABs doctor John Mayhew says.

Lomu, aged 40, collapsed and died at his Auckland home early on Wednesday morning after returning from Dubai on Tuesday, where he had been holidaying after being at the Rugby World Cup in Britain.

Paramedics were called but he was unable to be resuscitated, Mayhew said.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

Afghan Refugees Protest in Berlin Against German Migration Policy

Hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan took to the streets of Berlin to protest against possible legislation amendments, according to Afghan media.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers protested on Tuesday in Berlin against changeable German migration policy, Afghan media reported.

Earlier in November, the German Interior Ministry announced that it could reapply Dublin Regulation which requires asylum requests to be processed by the first EU country that a refugee enters and which was suspended by Berlin in August.

Hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan took to the streets to protest against possible legislation amendments, the TOLOnews broadcaster reported.

Activists who provide refugees with legal assistance also participated in the rally.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees flee war-torn regions of the Middle East and North Africa to reach safety in wealthy countries of the European Union, especially Germany.

The EU border agency Frontex estimates that over 1.2 million illegal crossings have been detected at the bloc’s borders since the beginning of this year.

According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany expects up to a million refugees in 2015.

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

Canada Split Over Fast-Tracking Syrian Refugees

Canada is going full-steam ahead with new leader Justin Trudeau’s plan to take in more than 25,000 Syrian refugees by year’s end, but the drive has split the nation as the Paris attacks raise security fears.

Dueling online petitions for and against fast-tracking refugee claims have gathered steam in Canada since the attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, with some 45,000 for and 70,000 against as of Tuesday.

Prime Minister Trudeau remains committed to his electoral pledge, telling reporters travelling with him to the Philippines for APEC talks that his government “will make every effort” to resettle the asylum seekers…

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

EU Far-Right Demands Halt to Refugee Influx After Paris Attacks

European populist and far-right leaders on Monday seized on the jihadist attacks in Paris to demand the continent stem the record migrant influx, charging that terrorists could hide among the masses.

France’s anti-immigration National Front leader Marine Le Pen called for an “immediate halt” to new arrivals, while Germany’s xenophobic PEGIDA movement drew thousands to their latest anti-Islam rally.

Hungary’s hardline Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has shut out refugees with razor-wire fences, said that “terrorists have exploited mass migration by mingling in the mass of people leaving their homes in the hope of a better life”…

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

France Needs to Boost Defense Spending, Reconsider Immigration Laws

French authorities should reconsider the country’s “assimilation” policy in terms of how and whom it grants the French citizenship, according to French lawmaker Jacques Myard.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova — France needs to increase defense expenditures and toughen the immigration legislation following the deadly Paris attacks, French lawmaker Jacques Myard told Sputnik on Monday.

Earlier in the day, French President Francois Hollande vowed that cuts in the nation’s defense spending would be off the table until at least 2019.

“We have been cutting our defense budget too much for too long and it is time to face a reality as it is, we have to rearm ourselves, increase our budget. We are not living in a peaceful world,” Myard stressed.

According to him, the French authorities should also reconsider the country’s “assimilation” policy in terms of how and whom it grants the French citizenship.

Paris needs to reconsider its foreign policy toward Moscow, Tehran and Damascus following the recent deadly attacks in the French capital, according to Jacques Myard.

“France should revise, reconsider and alter its foreign policy in the region. France’s enemy today are ISIL, al-Qaeda and others but not President Bashar al-Assad. We should use all our means to combat them and also to take into an account and admit our erroneous policy towards those who fight them — towards the regime in Damascus, the Iranian government and also the Russian government,” Myard stressed.

The Paris attacks at a stadium, a concert hall and several restaurants left some 130 dead, with the Islamic State extremist group claiming responsibility for the tragedy.

The Syrian government has been fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups, including ISIL and the Nusra Front, since 2011.

France launched airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria in September as part of a US-led international coalition that acts without either Damascus or UN permission.

Russia has been conducting anti-terrorist airstrikes in Syria since September 30 at the request of President Bashar Assad.

While the United States and its European allies do not see Assad as the Syrian legitimate leader, Russia and Iran have been calling to allow him and his government institutions to play a role in the country’s future political transition.

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

Hungary to Challenge EU Migrant Quota Plan

Hungary’s parliament Tuesday cleared the way for the government next month to challenge the EU’s contentious scheme to share 160,000 migrants around Europe via mandatory quotas.

Justice Minister Laszlo Trocsanyi said before the vote — subsequently approved by 141 lawmakers with 41 against and one abstention — that the case will be filed at European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in early December.

According to the text of the bill, the quota “ignores the (EU’s) principle of subsidiarity and fails to grant national parliaments the opportunity to express their opinion”…

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

James Woods: How Exactly Will Dems Vet Potential Terrorists — ‘Same Way They ‘Vetted’ the Tsarnaevs?’

By Mark Judge

Actor James Woods is critical of the claims by Democratic politicians that, in the wake of the terrorist bombings in Paris, incoming immigrants will be carefully vetted to weed out terrorists. Woods recently tweeted, “How exactly do the Dems propose to ‘vet’ the potential terrorists hidden among the horde? Same way they ‘vetted’ the Tsarnaevs?

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

Migrants in Libya Risk ‘Brutal Violence’: UN

Migrants who travel to Libya hoping to reach the shores of Europe risk “brutal violence” at the hands of people smugglers, a United Nations report said on Monday.

The report said “refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa, … are increasingly vulnerable to killing, detention in inhumane conditions, torture, kidnapping, physical assault, armed robbery and exploitation”.

Many “become victims of brutal violence, coercion and abuse perpetrated by smugglers along smuggling routes”, said the report, published jointly by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office.

It also said “many reported torture intended to extract more money from their families, in what appeared to be coordinated action from criminal gangs based in countries of origin as well as transit”…

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

Obama Would Veto Bill Toughening Syria Refugee Checks: White House

The US House of Representatives could vote as early as Thursday on resolution 4038, which aims to block administration plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year.

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

Rev. Graham: ‘Islam is Not a Peaceful Religion as George W. Bush Told US and as President Barack Obama Has Said’

America must modify its immigration rules to prevent Muslims who are not fully screened from entering the country, otherwise we will “see much more of what happened in Paris,” said Rev. Franklin Graham, who added that “Islam is not a peaceful religion” contrary to what Presidents Bush and Obama have claimed.

“That is just not true,” said the reverend. “Our president and our politicians in Washington need to wake up before it’s too late.”

Franklin Graham, an evangelical minister and the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, made his remarks in a Nov. 14 post on Facebook, one day after the Islamic State massacres in Paris, France.

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

Surge of Cuban Migrants Sends Costa Rica-Nicaragua Ties Plunging

A surge of around 2,000 Cuban migrants trying to cross Central America to reach the United States triggered a diplomatic spat between Costa Rica and Nicaragua on Monday, plunging tense relations between the two countries to a new low.

The row boiled over on the weekend when Nicaragua sent back the Cubans, who had been given temporary visas by Costa Rica to traverse its territory.

Nicaraguan police said the Cubans had crossed into their country “by force” and caused damage at a border crossing…

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

UK Public Support for Refugees Wanes as First Syrians Reach Scotland

The image of a lifeless toddler washed up on a Turkish beach, fully clothed with his shoes still strapped to his feet, sent shockwaves around the world and thrust the reality of the refugee crisis into the public conscience. Aylan Kurdi drowned trying to reach Europe.

Every newspaper in Britain published the image and public support towards migrants changed with what appeared to be a greater sense of empathy towards refugees — but it seems only temporarily.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 and around 100 arrived in Scotland on Tuesday 17 November — the Scottish reception a warm one, despite the cold winter weather.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out for The Times suggests that public support for the resettlement of refugees in the UK has waned and the empathy shown after the death of Aylan Kurdi is diminishing.

The YouGov survey found that 49 percent of those asked believed that Britain should be accepting fewer or no refugees at all, increasing by 22 points since September.

The number of people who think that Britain should take more Syrian refugees has also fallen from 36 percent to 20 percent.

The poll also suggests that the recent terrorist attack in Paris has contributed to a drop in public support for refugees for fear migrants posing as asylum seekers could be Islamic State militants.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, well known for his anti-refugee and anti-immigration stance, recently told his country’s parliament that the EU’s plan to force member states to accept refugee quotas had the potential to “spread terrorism around Europe.”

Seventy-nine percent of those asked said they were worried that Islamic State would attempt to launch a terror attack in the UK, with 37 percent saying they were very worried.

As for the 100 Syrians who are starting a new life in Scotland, Downing Street says they have undergone rigorous security checks.

Refugee Action charity has welcomed the arrival of the refugees, as Stephen Hale chief executive said: “We are delighted to see the Prime Minister’s pledge become a reality.”

But headlines above the body of Aylan Kurdi such as “humanity washed ashore” could become more pertinent than before.

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

UN Warns States Against ‘Backtracking’ On Migrant Commitments

The United Nations on Tuesday called on states not to “backtrack” on pledges made to host migrants and refugees, including from Syria, in the wake of the attacks in Paris.

“We are concerned about the reactions from some states to end programmes being put in place, backtracking from commitments made to manage the refugee crisis,” said UN refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

“Refugees should not be turned into scapegoats and must not become the secondary victims of these most tragic events,” Fleming added, after some EU states indicated they would take a hard line on the migrant crisis following the attacks…

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

US House Bill Would Tighten Refugee Vetting

The House of Representatives could vote as early as Thursday on new legislation that requires stricter vetting for refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war and seeking to settle in the United States.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks claimed by Islamic State extremists, and amid fears that one of the attackers entered Europe through Greece posing as a Syrian refugee, Republican leaders have sought to suspend President Barack Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into America in fiscal year 2016.

Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul said the bill, introduced Tuesday night, would impose new security measures on the already-lengthy vetting process, including assurances that a comprehensive background check would be conducted on every refugee from Syria and Iraq…

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

Where Are the Christian Refugees From Syria?

Christians and other religious minorities in Syria have been targeted for death, sexual slavery, displacement, cultural eradication and forced conversion by ISIS.

Many of these persecuted Christians hope to escape to the United States. They have been largely excluded, with the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration admitting to officials at The Barnabas Fund, a Christian relief agency, “There is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation.”

According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center for Fiscal Year 2015, resettled Syrian refugees were 97 percent Muslim.

The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea, in a November 2 article in National Review, showed that in the past five years 53 out of 2003 Syrian refugees accepted by the United States have been Christians (about 2.5 percent of the total). But about 10 percent of Syrians are Christians.

According to IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith McDonnell, “The U.S. government’s response has been woefully inadequate — neither helping these minorities defend themselves and stay, nor providing them asylum to leave.”

McDonnell added that, “Christians cannot go to UN-run refugee camps because there they face the same persecution and terror from which they fled. If they are not in the refugee camps they are not included in the application process for asylum. The State Department knows this, but continues to allow the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to select refugees for asylum with no regard to the endangered religious minorities.

According to McDonnell, the blame is not just with the UN and the administration. US organizations who resettle refuges are also to blame. “This includes Christian groups that resist any focus on Christian victims of ISIS, and oppose actions by Congress to welcome not just economic migrants but also Christians and other religious minorities victimized by ISIS,” McDonnell, said.

McDonnell noted that, “Other religious minorities-such as Jews, Yazidis, Mandaeans, Shia Shabaks and Turkmen-are also being targeted, and largely left out of refugee resettlement. Shea notes that only one Yazidi was resettled in the U.S. in the past five years of Syria’s civil war, even though thousands of Yazidi girls are taken as sex slaves by ISIS.”

           — Hat tip: Nick [Return to headlines]
 

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 11/18/2015

  1. “Hundreds of Afghan migrants took to the streets of Berlin today to protest possible changes in the German government’s asylum policies. The Interior Ministry is considering reapplying the Dublin rule that would require an asylum application to be processed by the country where a “refugee” first enters the EU.”

    Who’d a thunk?

    What’s the German for ‘in a tizz’ – thinking of Merkel of course. She’s was passes for statesmanship in Europe these days. Great, innit?

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