Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/24/2016

Germany is still receiving a flow of about 2,000 new migrants every day, but about 10% of those are being denied entry because they are not fleeing war or persecution. Meanwhile, a Belgian resort town is considering banning migrants from its public swimming pools after teenage girls were molested by asylum seekers.

In other news, Hong Kong is experiencing its coldest winter in sixty years, with frost appearing on the upper slopes of nearby mountains.

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

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, RRN, 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
» Economic Crisis Rattles Brazil as Olympic Year Starts
» French Economy Minister Doesn’t Believe Chinese Growth Data for ‘A Second’
» Italy: Padoan Says Bad Bank Talks With EC ‘Intense’
» Padoan Says No Fragility in Banks, ECB Was Misunderstood
Europe and the EU
» Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry: How Ex-Spy Was Killed ‘On Putin’s Orders’ And Why No-One is Facing Justice
» Belgium Charges 11th Suspect Over Paris Terror Attacks
» France: Parisians Determined to be Ready for Future Terror Attacks
» France Plans Renewal of State of Emergency
» German Ire Over Cologne Assaults Targets North Africans
» Hungary Intends to Buy Up to 30 Russian Choppers for $490 Mln
» Hungary’s Orban Defends Poland From ‘Groundless’ EU Measures
» Italy: Renzi Says M5S Make Mess Whenever They Govern
» Paris Bomber’s Brother Among Jihadists to be Tried in France
Middle East
» Erdogan ‘Abhors’ Intelligentsia as ‘Heartless and Despicable People’
» Going Rogue: Saudi Arabia’s Assertive Foreign Policy Bears Its Fruit
» Iran Eyes Boeing Plane Purchases as Sanctions End
» Kerry Reassures Saudi of ‘Solid Relationship’ With US
» Syrian Army Seizes Key Rebel-Held Town in Latakia
» Russian Space Agency to Equip Zenit Rocket With Methane Engine
South Asia
» Hina, Murdered in 2006 by Father. Mother “Forgives Him”
» Misery Loves Company: Second Newest US Navy Ship Breaks Down in One Month
» Nepal Discovers New Sex Slave Route
» New Year’s Horrific Beginning for Pakistani Christians
» Pakistan’s Thin Red Line: Armed Teachers in Classrooms
» Sister Bertilla Capra Receives a One-Year Indian Visa
Far East
» Anti-Base Okinawa Candidate Loses Key Mayoral Poll: Media
» China’s Organic Food Boom Driven by Personal, Rather Than Environmental, Concern
» Chinese Restaurants Shut Down After Seasoning Food With Opium to ‘Hook’ Customers
» Hong Kong Hit by Coldest Temperatures in Nearly 60 Years
» Hong Kong Frost Chasers Stranded on Tai Mo Shan: Fire Department Responds to Calls for Help, Trucks Blocked by Traffic Jam
» In a Japan Seemingly Obsessed With Sex, Few Seem to Indulge
» Philippines: Mindanao: Christians Take Up Arms Against Muslims, But “This is Not the Way Forward”
» Thousands Take SAT Test in Hong Kong Despite Claims of Cheating; Macau and Mainland Sittings Cancelled
» Wedged Between Russia and China, Mongolia Chooses Japan
Latin America
» As Zika Virus Spreads, El Salvador Asks Women Not to Get Pregnant Until 2018
» A Continent on Edge: Refugees Bringing Exotic Diseases Into Europe
» Austria Migrant Cap Could be Reached by Summer: Minister
» EU Migration Commissioner Warns Against Schengen Ouster Talk
» German Police ‘Overwhelmed by Border Controls’ Amid Refugee Crisis
» Germany to Increase Aid to Turkey in Tackling Refugee Crisis in 2016
» Germany Rejects About 10 Percent of Migrants
» Japan Accepts 27 Refugees Last Year, Rejects 99 Percent
» Japan Rejected 99 Percent of Refugees Last Year
» Merkel Warns of Growing Anti-Semitism in Wake Influx From the Arab World
» More European Nations Are Barring Their Doors to Migrants
» No Go: Belgian Town Mulls Pool Ban for Migrants After Teen Girls Assaulted
» Protesters March Against Greece-Turkey Border Fence
» Vienna Says Violence Outbreak Possible Over Measures to Reduce Migrant Flow
» Wrong Time to Party: German Night Clubs Ban Refugees From Entry
Culture Wars
» Academy Diversity Pledges Welcomed by Hollywood
» Pope Against ‘Confusion Between Families, Other Unions’

Economic Crisis Rattles Brazil as Olympic Year Starts

Brazil hoped to start 2016 making itself pretty for its turn on the world stage when its hosts the summer Olympics. Instead attention has turned to its deepening economic crisis.

The world’s seventh largest economy tipped into recession last year — official figures show that 1.5 million jobs were destroyed.

The downturn is due to last throughout this year, the International Monetary Fund says.

That would be the first two-year recession since the 1930s in Latin America’s economic powerhouse…

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

French Economy Minister Doesn’t Believe Chinese Growth Data for ‘A Second’

Outspoken French economy minister Emmanuel Macron questioned the reliability of China’s official figures and restated his determination to reform France’s sluggish economy during a marathon round of meetings at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

A fixture of the French press, Macron remains a little-known figure abroad and the annual gathering of the rich and powerful in the Swiss mountain resort presented the perfect opportunity to burnish his international credentials.

Taking part in a whirlwind tour of interviews, debates and cocktail parties, the maverick minister touched on a broad spectrum of subjects including Europe’s refugee crisis, the digital economy and Chinese growth…

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

Italy: Padoan Says Bad Bank Talks With EC ‘Intense’

Minister suggests poor ECB communication caused turmoil

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Italy is in an “intense” phase of negotiations with the European Commission regarding the creation of a bad bank, with talks focusing on the level of government guarantees for bad loans, Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said on Friday.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will meet with Padoan next Tuesday in Brussels, where the agenda, which has not yet been released, is likely to involve the bad bank project, ANSA sources said. Padoan added that the government will pass new measures next week to make it easier for banks to offload bad loans.

“Next week we’ll introduce new measures to make ceding deteriorated bank credit easier,” Padoan said.

Concerns about the number of bad loans on some Italian banks’ balance sheets has been a factor in recent stock market turbulence, despite government reassurances that the Italian banking system is solid.

The Italian government, which recently authorized the rescue of four small lenders financed by healthy Italian banks, has been in talks with the Commission for some time about setting up a bad bank to relieve lenders of the non-performing loans without breaching European laws against State aid. Padoan said Friday that he was satisfied that the European Central Bank (ECB) has acknowledged Italy’s banks are not fragile and complained that poor communication had contributed to the market turbulence that hit some Italian lenders particularly hard. “It’s important that the ECB has clarified that there is no question of fragility in the Italian banks and that it has not requested any capital increases or other measures,” Padoan said.

“The turbulence stemmed from less-than-efficient management (of communications) by some European institutions.

Some signals were misunderstood, as the ECB has admitted”.

Earlier on Friday, ECB President Mario Draghi said that a letter the central bank sent to national authorities requesting information about how they are managing banks’ non-performing loans (NPLs) had been misinterpreted. “It was nothing more than a way to know the different national practices on this,” Draghi said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. European markets, including the Milan bourse, bounced back strongly on Thursday and Friday after Draghi said the ECB’s interest rates will stay low for a long time and that the bank is ready to do everything possible to lift eurozone inflation towards its target of slightly under 2%. Draghi said Friday that the efforts to lift dangerously low inflation rates have suffered setbacks. “There is less cause for optimism about inflation prospects,” Draghi said at the World Economic Forum. Draghi added that this is “not just due to the strong fall in oil prices” but also because of “the downward revision of the growth prospects of emerging economies”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Padoan Says No Fragility in Banks, ECB Was Misunderstood

Minister says central bank admits signed misinterpreted

(see related) (ANSA) — Davos, January 22 — Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Friday that he was satisfied that the European Central Bank has acknowledged Italy’s banks are not fragile and complained that poor communications had contributed to the market turbulence that hit some Italian lenders particularly hard. “It’s important that the ECB has clarified that there is no question of fragility in the Italian banks and that it has not requested any capital increases or other measures,” Padoan said. “The turbulence stemmed from less-than-efficient management (of communications) by some European institutions.

Some signals were misunderstood, as the ECB has admitted”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry: How Ex-Spy Was Killed ‘On Putin’s Orders’ And Why No-One is Facing Justice

An inquiry has found Mr Litvinenko was killed by polonium poisoning in 2006 after ‘antagonising’ the Russian president after fleeing Russia to become a British citizen

An inquiry has found the killing of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was ‘probably approved’ by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The pair had an ‘antagonistic’ relationship going back a number of years, which report author Sir Robert Owen found gave an “undoubtedly a personal dimension” to his killing.

Mr Litvinenko had fled Russia to become a British citizen and made “repeated highly personal attacks” on Putin, including an allegation of paedophilia in July 2006.

The 43-year-old died in November that year after meeting Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun in a London hotel, where it is believed he ingested radioactive polonium which was slipped into his tea.

Sir Robert concluded Lugovoi and Kovtun carried out the poisoning, probably under orders from President Putin…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Belgium Charges 11th Suspect Over Paris Terror Attacks

A Belgian judge on Friday charged an 11th person with terrorism-related offenses over the deadly Paris attacks, two days after the suspect was arrested in a raid in Brussels, prosecutors said.

The man identified as Zakaria J “has been charged with terrorist murders and participation into the activities of a terrorist group,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

French President Francois Hollande has said that the Paris attacks were planned in Syria but prepared and organized in Belgium. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France: Parisians Determined to be Ready for Future Terror Attacks

Whether it’s being able to provide first aid or using technology to improve the response of security services, Parisians are determined to be ready for any further attacks.

Marielle wobbles on her high heels as she practices dragging an injured friend out of danger and stemming a gushing wound — part of her preparation for Paris’s next terror attack.

Like many Parisians, the 30-year-old lawyer believes it is only a matter of time before the city sees a repeat of the devastating November attack in which jihadists targeted several nightspots, killing 130 and injuring hundreds.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

France Plans Renewal of State of Emergency

“The president confirmed to us that several texts would be presented to cabinet on February 3, including for a three-month extension of the state of emergency,” said Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the Communist Party following talks with Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

Hollande’s office had said Wednesday that the government would decide within days whether to extend a three-month state of emergency put in place after coordinated jihadist attacks killed 130 in Paris on November 13.

UN human rights experts have criticised the current state of emergency, due to expire on February 26, for imposing what they see as “excessive and disproportionate” restrictions on key rights.

Prior to Laurent’s comments, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France would “use all means” at its disposal to combat terrorism “until we can get rid of Daesh,” an acronym for Islamic State.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Ire Over Cologne Assaults Targets North Africans

Even 73-year-old retiree Edris says he has not been spared suspicious questions from Germans after a rash of sex assaults in Cologne blamed on North Africans.

“If there is a criminal Moroccan, it boomerangs back to all of us,” said Edris, who moved to Germany from Morocco 47 years ago, adding that criminal Arabs are “pigs”.

Germany’s Maghreb community has come under a harsh spotlight after hundreds of women were groped and robbed by mainly North African suspects on New Year’s Eve outside Cologne’s main train station…

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

Hungary Intends to Buy Up to 30 Russian Choppers for $490 Mln

According to Russia’s Arms Trade Analysis Centre, Hungary is interested in purchasing 30 Russian helicopters.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Hungary plans to buy about 30 Russian helicopters with the value of the contract expected to reach $490 million, a spokesperson for Russia’s Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) said Friday.

“In February, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban plans to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which they will discuss the delivery of up to 30 Russian helicopters to the Hungarian Air Force,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the value of the potential contract has been estimated at 142 billion Hungarian forints (some $490 million).

The spokesperson pointed out that in the future the scope of the contract between the two countries could be expanded since Hungary is seeking to replace its fleet of Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters, some of which have been in operation since 1969.

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

Hungary’s Orban Defends Poland From ‘Groundless’ EU Measures

Brussels ‘irritated if there are strong nation states’

(ANSA-AP) — BUDAPEST — Hungary’s prime minister has described plans by the European Union to assess several laws passed by the new Polish government as “groundless measures from the rather pompous older democracies.” Viktor Orban said Friday on state radio that EU bureaucrats are “irritated if there are strong nation states” and that “the Polish have done nothing which would merit European criticism.”

The EU is focusing on the Polish government’s moves to exert its influence on the Constitutional Court and public broadcasters, some of the same areas in which Orban also clashed with Brussels after returning to power in 2010. Orban said that “there are political debates in Polish public life just like in any European country. These don’t cross any borders.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Says M5S Make Mess Whenever They Govern

Premier comments on Quarto case

(ANSA) — Rome, January 22 — Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday that the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) causes chaos whenever it comes to power. The leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) was speaking in the wake of a furore over the administration of the town of Quarto, near Naples, which was allegedly infiltrated by the Campania mafia, the Camorra.

“I’d like to give the M5S members a big hug,” Renzi told RTL radio.

“Every time they govern somewhere, it’s a mess”. Rosa Capuozzo announced Thursday that she was resigning as mayor Quarto. Capuozzo was elected on a M5S list but was subsequently ejected from the anti-establishment group after initially refusing to step down following allegations of mafia infiltration of her executive. “I think Capuozzo had a duty to govern because she won the elections,” Renzi said. The case was an embarrassment to the M5S, which prides itself on not being tainted by the corruption scandals that have frequently hit Italy’s established parties.

Capuozzo said she had told M5S bigwigs in November about threats she allegedly received from fellow councillor Giovanni De Robbio, who is allegedly linked to the Camorra. The M5S has denied this, saying it was only informed in December and expelled De Robbio days after.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Paris Bomber’s Brother Among Jihadists to be Tried in France

Seven young men from eastern France, including the brother of one of the jihadists behind the deadly Paris attacks, will face trial for going to Syria to fight in 2013, a judicial source told AFP on Friday.

The seven from Strasbourg began returning to France from February 2014 onwards and were arrested in May.

Two other men who went to fight in Syria’s civil war died there. A 10th man named Foued Mohamed-Aggad remained there until his return to take part in the November 13 rampage at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

A total of 130 people died in the string of attacks that struck Paris in November and sent shockwaves across the world.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Erdogan ‘Abhors’ Intelligentsia as ‘Heartless and Despicable People’

Turkey’s president lambasted members of the academic community, including teachers and professors, who called for an end to the violence in the Kurdish southeast.

After repressing and imprisoning academics who sought an end to the ongoing violence in the southeastern region of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a vocal broadside against them in a speech to hundreds of regional mukhtars at his palace residence on Wednesday.

#Erdogan’s new #Turkey Journalists: Jailed! Press/Media: Censored! Opposition: Silenced! New Target: Academics!

— Cahida Dêrsim (@dilkocer) January 14, 2016

Erdogan accused academics of offering vocal political support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over a period of many years. Castigating the academics verbally as ‘intelligentsia,’ the leader accused them of being immoral because they publicly labeled his so-called security operation against Kurds as a ‘massacre.’

Here is the petition what made Erdogan so mad. Dozens of academics detained,offices raided. Read & find what bothers

— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) January 15, 2016

“For years, they had been making propaganda for the separatist terrorist organization in an indirect way. This time, with this statement they signed, they did it openly,” Erdogan said.

#Silopi, north #Kurdistan after many days of curfew and #Turkish military operations

— Duhok Post (@Duhokpost) January 20, 2016

The politically embattled president stated that politicians and intellectuals expressing opposition to his government for its brutal actions against the Kurds were ‘heartless and despicable people.’…

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

Going Rogue: Saudi Arabia’s Assertive Foreign Policy Bears Its Fruit

What happens when Washington’s allies decide to act on their own? Saudi Arabia is one of the most glaring examples of a US ally tempted to “go it alone,” American scholars note.

While US partners in the Persian Gulf are increasingly willing to act on their own, the question arises whether their foreign policy always aligns with Washington’s interests in the region, US scholars Renanah Miles and Brian Blankenship underscore in their article for The National Interest.

Miles and Blankenship call attention to the fact that Riyadh has adopted a more active foreign policy: the kingdom unleashed a war against Shiite Houthis in Yemen, announced the creation of a new coalition against Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL) and ignited serious tensions with Iran by beheading Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

However, “Saudi Arabia’s increasingly assertive posture has already resulted in behavior that arguably runs counter to US preferences. Saudi Arabia has prioritized quashing Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen over fighting the Islamic State [Daesh] and is openly ambivalent about the nuclear deal with Iran. Behavior that inflames tensions promises to deepen regional conflicts, not resolve them,” the scholars emphasize.

In response, the US political establishment has not hidden its exasperation at the Saudis: Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy agenda does not align with Washington’s geopolitical objectives in the region.

The Saudi leadership, however, has turned a blind eye to Washington’s displeasure, and has openly criticized the Obama administration’s approach to the Syrian crisis, Iran’s nuclear deal and the White House’s Middle Eastern policy in general.

At the same time Riyadh’s international image has deteriorated.

A year has passed since King Salman ascended the throne. Although the monarch pledged to bring peace and stability to the region, something quite the opposite has happened, Naser Schruf of Deutsche Welle remarks in his latest Op-Ed.

“For nearly nine months, Saudi Arabia has been waging a war in Yemen, where destitution and the number of civilian victims are growing. The entire region is becoming increasingly unstable. International human rights organizations accuse the kingdom of serious human rights violations and of using prohibited weapons,” Schuf continues.

At the same time, Riyadh’s conflict with President Bashar al-Assad is “developing into fiasco” for the House of Saud. Even though the Gulf kingdom has provided anti-Assad jihadis with enormous financial support, they have not been able to topple Damascus regime.

“Opposition groups backed by Saudis are powerless, internally at odds, and accused of being pro-terrorist,” Schruf stressed, adding that Saudi Arabia’s international image has never been as bad as now.

Not everything in the garden is rosy for the Saudi economy as well: the country is facing serious domestic problems and social tensions triggered by plummeting oil prices and following austerity measures.

By executing Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr Riyadh added insult to injury: it ruined relations with Iran and aggravated sectarian tensions within Saudi Arabia.

However, Washington did not rush to back its Gulf ally, demonstrating that it is unhappy with Riyadh as much as with Tehran.

“Washington faces trade-offs when it comes to choosing where to step back and let others step forward. Less dependence on Washington is in many ways exactly the point, but it comes at a cost,” Miles and Blankenship remark.

While acting on its own, Riyadh should calculate the consequences of its actions and take responsibility for political stability in the region.

The Gulf kingdom should take steps toward mending the situation before it is too late.

According to Schruf, “Salman must swiftly find a way out of Yemen and realign Saudi Arabia’s relations with other key countries in the region, such as Iraq, Syria and Iran.”

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

Iran Eyes Boeing Plane Purchases as Sanctions End

Iran is considering buying planes from US manufacturer Boeing as it moves to upgrade its fleet following the removal of UN sanctions.

Iran’s deputy transport minister Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan told Reuters that Iran is interested in buying 100 aircraft.

UN sanctions were lifted a week ago, allowing Airbus to negotiate a deal to sell 114 aircraft to Iran.

US trade sanctions on Iran remain in place, but Boeing could apply for a special waiver.

However, last week Boeing said there are “many steps” before it decides to sell aircraft to Iran.

The Airbus deal will have an official signing when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits Paris on Wednesday, according to Iranian media.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kerry Reassures Saudi of ‘Solid Relationship’ With US

US Secretary of State John Kerry reassured Saudi Arabia on Sunday of the “solid relationship” between both countries, even after the lifting of sanctions on the kingdom’s regional rival Iran.

“We have as solid a relationship, as clear an alliance, and as strong a friendship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we’ve ever had,” Kerry said before departing Riyadh for Laos at the end of a 24-hour visit.

“Nothing has changed because we worked to eliminate a nuclear weapon with a country in the region,” he added. “We will continue to work in the region with our friends and our allies.”…

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

Syrian Army Seizes Key Rebel-Held Town in Latakia

Syrian regime forces on Sunday overran the last major rebel-held town in the coastal province of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad, state television and a monitoring group reported.

Citing a military source, state television said Syria’s “armed forces, in coordination with the popular defence [militia], seized control of the town of Rabiya.”

The northwestern town had been held by the opposition since 2012 and was controlled by a range of rebel groups including some made up of Syrian Turkmen, as well as the Al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate…

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

Russian Space Agency to Equip Zenit Rocket With Methane Engine

Russia’s Federal Space Agency is planning to create a methane-powered version of the Zenit carrier rocket.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos is planning to create a methane-powered version of the Zenit carrier rocket, local media reported Thursday.

“It was initially planned to fit methane engines to the Fenix rocket, but later, after considering the budgetary situation, we decided not to create a fundamentally different rocket, instead returning to recreating the Russian Zenit [rocket],” the Izvestia newspaper quoted a Russian Federal Space Program planner as saying.

The new methane-powered engine will be created on the basis of the RD-171 liquid-fuel rocket engine, the planner added, stating that Roscosmos will create a model of the engine within the 2016-2025 experimental construction plan timeframe. Over 25 billion rubles ($327 million) have been requested to fund the plan, part of which will be used to fund the initial engine.

The Zenit launch vehicle is produced by the Ukrainian Yuzhmash manufacturer using approximately 70 percent Russian-made components. Work on developing the Fenix rocket is due to begin in 2018, according to Roscosmos. The new rocket family is due to replace the Soviet-developed Soyuz launch system.

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

Hina, Murdered in 2006 by Father. Mother “Forgives Him”

“At first I was angry with the whole world, with life itself. I thought: why is this happening? Why to me and my family? Then I realised. It was all written, fate had already decided for Hina, my husband, and me. And then I found the peace I was looking for. Living without Hina will always be a source of great pain, but Mohammed was and remains the man of my life. It is only right that he pays for what he did, but I have forgiven him and will never forsake him.”

Bushra smiles and puts away the photo album: “Enough reminiscing for today.” Enough of Hina’s serious face as a girl, wearing traditional Pakistani dress. Enough of those pictures capturing happy moments at a birthday party, of snapshots from a distant past, before the day everything changed…

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

Misery Loves Company: Second Newest US Navy Ship Breaks Down in One Month

The US Fort Worth littoral combat ship (LCS 3) is sidelined in port in Singapore due to damage to gears that propel the ship.

The ship was built by Lockheed Martin Corp. It had damage to combining gears that let the ship run on a mix of diesel and gas turbine engines, Bloomberg reported citing a memo from the service.

“There is no estimated date of completion” to the repair works, it added.

According to the initial indications, the gear damage “appears to be caused by a failure to follow established procedures during maintenance.” The incident took place on January 12 when the ship was in Singapore.

It will remain in Singapore while it undergoes “a series of inspections to determine the extent of necessary repairs,” Lieutenant Commander Matt Knight, a spokesman for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

The USS Fort Worth is on a 16-month deployment to Asia, as part of Obama administration’s strategy of rebalance in Asia. The Navy plans to have four littoral ships permanently deployed in Singapore.

The latest incident is a setback for a vessel whose critics say is unreliable and not survival in combat, the article read. The last two defense secretaries have highlighted the flaws of the ship. Last month, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ordered to reduce the program to 40 vessels, from the initial 52.

The incident is the second in little more than a month involving vessels which cost on average about $440 million each, according to the Congressional Research Service.

On December 11, The US Navy combat ship Milwaukee broke down in the open sea while transiting from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport, Florida, and ultimately its home port of San Diego. The ship sustained a failure in its propulsion plant.

According to the memo, the two incidents were not related.

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

Nepal Discovers New Sex Slave Route

Traffickers move women with false papers between Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, and then send them to the Middle East. Fair-skinned Nepali girls and young women get the highest price. The arrest in New Delhi of Pooja, a young Nepali woman, set of the investigation.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) — Nepali police discovered a new route used by traffickers to smuggle sex slaves. The women are moved between Nepal, India and Sri Lanka before travelling to the Middle East and Africa where they are sold off. The authorities cracked the case when, Pooja, a 28-year-old woman from Nepal’s Banke District, was arrested in New Delhi on 11 January with false papers.

At the time of her arrest, the young woman was at the city’s international airport on her way to Colombo. Currently, she is being held at the Tihar Jail for further investigations. The Patiala Courthouse in New Delhi placed her under judicial custody for at least two months.

In her statement, Pooja, who is a mother of four, declared that she wanted to work abroad to pay for the medical care her sick mother needs.

Nepal’s Foreign Employment Department had issued her a work permit on 5 November 2015. In her passport, she was described as a cleaner in Oman.

Balkrishna Pandey, a member of Maiti India, an organisation dedicated to the fight against women trafficking, said that they have “begun the legal process to secure Pooja’s release.”

Recently, sex slave smugglers have favoured the Kathmandu-New Delhi-Colombo route, attracting young women with the promise of a job as house cleaners in Gulf countries.

Once en route, slavers take the women’s papers before selling them off. Fair-skinned Nepali women are particularly prized, and get the best price.

A week ago, five other women were detained in Kathmandu on their way to Colombo via New Delhi.

According to Nepal’s embassy in India, traffickers have come up with more ways to get women into the Gulf States with false papers, passing them off as migrant workers.

“We have been informed that traffickers are sending women to Dhaka or Colombo from Indian airports before trafficking them to destination countries,” an embassy official said.

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

New Year’s Horrific Beginning for Pakistani Christians

by Nasir Saeed

The world has entered a new year with new aims and objectives, new aspirations, new hopes for change, and a new start to life for many around the world.

But unfortunately for Christians in Pakistan it is the old same story, as their persecution continues and seems to be worsening.

So far what I have seen in the first three weeks of January, is contemptable and worrying as it is on a much higher scale than last January, or the beginning of any year I’ve known. I am only talking about what I have seen in the media, but the actual number could be very high. Perhaps hardly any day ever passes when someone, somewhere, does not have to suffer for being a Christian.

           — Hat tip: RRN [Return to headlines]

Pakistan’s Thin Red Line: Armed Teachers in Classrooms

Headmaster Naveed Gul walked past the armed guard at the gate into his office. As primary school pupils studied their morning lessons outside, he reached beneath his warm woolly sweater, and pulled out a gun.

“This is an M20 pistol,” he said. “It’s made in China and it works perfectly.”

A debate over arming teachers has surged in Pakistan once more, days after assistant chemistry professor Syed Hamid Husain opened fire on the Taliban gunmen who stormed the university campus where he worked.

Students told how the 33-year-old father-of-two died shielding them with a handgun during the attack that claimed 21 lives at the Bacha Khan university in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province…

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

Sister Bertilla Capra Receives a One-Year Indian Visa

From now on, the missionary of the Immaculate has to apply for a new visa every year, as an NGO employee. The Vimala Dermatological Centre is supported by local people. Among them are Hindus, Christians and Muslims.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Sister Bertilla Capra has again received a one-year Indian visa. The nun, who is a member of the Missionaries of the Immaculate, an institute associate with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME) might have had to leave India after working in the country for 44 years in the service of lepers.

Recently, India’s Home Ministry told Sister Bertilla, 77, that she can remain in the country until November 2016, but that from now on she has to apply forfor a visa every year.

In the past, the nun was given a five-year visa. In 2010 the government changed the rules andthe sister and other missionaries working in the health field with lepers, must ask for a one-year visa as “employees of non-governmental organizations”.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Sister Bertilla expressed her gratitude to the government for granting her a visa.

The Missionaries of the Immaculate have worked for decades at the Vimala Dermatological Centre, located in Versova, a Mumbai suburb, looking after leprosy patients at different stages of their illness. Here they are not marginalized, but help them live with their families and find job opportunities for them.

“What is very nice,” said one of the sisters, “is that people around us — Hindu, Christian or Muslim — support us and each day bring rice, cereals, fruits, medicines to the sick .”

“Even doctors,” she added, “whether surgical doctors, ophthalmologists or orthopaedics, come to visit the sick and care for them by treating them like other patients.”

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

Anti-Base Okinawa Candidate Loses Key Mayoral Poll: Media

A candidate backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed victory in a mayoral election in Okinawa on Sunday, beating an opponent of a planned new US military base there.

The election was the latest episode in a long dispute about the future of the base, which has deepened mistrust between the central government and the southern island chain.

Incumbent Ginowan mayor Atsushi Sakima, 51, was certain to be re-elected with the support of Abe’s ruling coalition to continue governing the island’s main city, where the US Futenma air base is located, according to exit polls by major broadcasters.

The official result is expected early Monday…

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

China’s Organic Food Boom Driven by Personal, Rather Than Environmental, Concern

Buying food, breathing air, drinking water; all these necessities have become increasingly risky for Chinese consumers — many of whom have benefited from the decades of rapid development that precipitated the current state of affairs.

Nevertheless, an increasingly educated and well-off middle class is driving a trend for sustainable and organic products in the country, says Shaun Rein, managing director of market research firm CMR China. Such products are seen as not only healthier but also symbols of wealth that are ripe for the flaunting.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Chinese Restaurants Shut Down After Seasoning Food With Opium to ‘Hook’ Customers

35 restaurants across China have been found illegally using opium as seasoning in their food, state officials say.

Five restaurants are being prosecuted over the findings, whilst 30 more are under investigation, according to the China Food and Drug Administration.

Read more

The eateries include a popular chain of hot pot restaurants in Beijing.

It is unclear how the opium came to enter the food, however, previous cases in China have seen chefs try to “hook’ customers on their food through use of the narcotic which can cause serious addiction…

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Hong Kong Hit by Coldest Temperatures in Nearly 60 Years

A cold snap gripped Hong Kong on Sunday, with residents shivering as temperatures plunged to the lowest point in nearly 60 years and frost dusted the mountaintops of a city accustomed to a subtropical climate.

Weather officials issued a frost warning saying an “intense cold surge” was in place, coupled with chilling monsoon winds.

Morning temperatures dropped to 3.3 Celsius (38 Fahrenheit) in urban areas of the southern Chinese city, where most buildings lack central heating, and below freezing on the hills…

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

Hong Kong Frost Chasers Stranded on Tai Mo Shan: Fire Department Responds to Calls for Help, Trucks Blocked by Traffic Jam

Hongkongers seeking a frosty experience find themselves stranded, needing emergency assistance from firefighters and ambulance services. Traffic jam in the Tai Mo Shan car park block emergency vehicles from reaching the top.

Dozens of frost chasers became stranded on the road down from Hong Kong’s tallest peak after blistering wind and rain had made road conditions too slippery to walk, hampering rescue efforts.

Firefighters had received around 20 calls for help this morning by 9am from Tai Mo Shan peak as crowds hoping to catch sight of rare frost in subzero conditions had clambered up steep slopes in the early morning and found themselves struggling in the freezing conditions.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

In a Japan Seemingly Obsessed With Sex, Few Seem to Indulge

Japan is well known for many things, and its obsession with sex is one of them. It has one of the most robust pornographic and adult-toy industries in the world and airs TV commercials for items as banal as candy that feature sexually suggestive themes. It even has an annual fertility festival that parades two five-foot-tall penis sculptures down a busy street on a Sunday afternoon.

And yet nearly half of singles in Japan have no interest in dating — a situation that many experts predict will help lead to a population decline of one-third in the next 45 years.

According to a survey of never-married people by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 27.6 percent of single men and 22.6 percent of single women have no interest in engaging in a relationship with the opposite sex. Researchers cite those statistics to argue that a significant portion of Japanese simply has no interest in sex. They might even have an aversion to it.

Read more here: #storylink=cpy

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Philippines: Mindanao: Christians Take Up Arms Against Muslims, But “This is Not the Way Forward”

Some 300 members of an armed Christian group, the Red God Soldiers, have vowed to fight Muslim rebels in self-defence. “If government troops can defend civilians whether they are Muslims or Christians, then I think it will not come to this,” said Mgr Lampon. For PIME missionary, things can “escalate in the future.”

Manila (AsiaNews) — Some Christians have started to arm themselves against extremists in Southern Philippines. However, as Christians, “we must say that this is not the right way to respond to violence. We must not go down this road,” said Fr Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME missionary in the Philippines.

On the website of the Philippine Bishops Conference (CBCP), Bishop Angelito Lampon, of the Vicariate of Jolo, is quoted as saying that some Christians, out of frustration and fear, appear to be ready to take up arms following provocations by some Muslim groups. They have taken the name ‘Red God Soldiers’.

In an apparent show of force, around 300 members of the group on Tuesday showed off their firearms, and vowed to drive Moro rebels from their communities.

The group burnt a flag of the Islamic State group and condemned recent attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a group that split away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

Since 24 December, BIFF members have attacked some villages in Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato, killing nine farmers working in their rice plantations.

“This is a kind of desperate attempt by these Christians who are being attacked now and then by these armed groups,” Mgr Lampon said.

The Red God Soldiers said they are ready to fight BIFF for the sake of their families, communities, and in the name of self-defence, the prelate explained.

Hopefully, “If the government troops can defend civilians whether they are Muslims or Christians, then I think it will not come to this,” added Lampon.

Fortunately, most Christians “are under control,” Fr D’Ambra noted. “They know that violence is not the Christian way. However, some groups can get out of hand. This is not new; the same thing happened in the 1970s, but it eventually stopped.”

For the missionary, this is not only a religious conflict. “It is true that Christian villages were attacked at Christmas, but for a variety of reasons: land and power. Some groups want to sow confusion before the elections in May.

“We have not had any major incidents lately,” Fr D’Ambra said. “In my opinion, however, violence will escalate in the future. The situation in Mindanao is not very good, even though it is under control for now.”

“In addition to the more radical, ISIS-inspired groups like BIFF, there are those who are unhappy with the agreements between Muslim rebels and the government. The situation will become more difficult in the coming months. “

“Currently,” the clergyman said, “all the bishops of the Philippines are in Cebu for the bishops’ conference (which meets twice a year) and for the Eucharistic Congress.

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

Thousands Take SAT Test in Hong Kong Despite Claims of Cheating; Macau and Mainland Sittings Cancelled

Thousands of school students sat their SAT exam in Hong Kong yesterday as exam organisers launched a probe into cheating and pledged to boost security after mainland and Macau sittings were cancelled after details of the exam paper were leaked.

The not-for-profit organisation who run the Scholastic Assessment Test — taken by students applying for universities in the United States — said the integrity of the exam was under “consistent” attack by unscrupulous individuals.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Wedged Between Russia and China, Mongolia Chooses Japan

Mongolia works its way out of diplomatic isolation by declaring itself “perpetually neutral” to avoid many frictions in the region. Rejecting advances from Moscow and Beijing, it opts for cooperation with Tokyo and Berlin to expand its energy markets. At the same time, it plans to become a “steppe road” for Russian and Chinese trade to become a hub in Eurasian transit. Analysis, courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.

Washington (AsiaNews) — Over the past year, Mongolia has worked to institutionalize its foreign policy concept of “trilateralism,” according to which the landlocked Northeast Asian republic is attempting to insert itself into Russia and China’s growing relationship based on energy, transportation and regional development cooperation. Mongolia’s key successes in pursuing this foreign policy initiative have been the establishment of trilateral presidential and prime ministerial—level summits in 2015. Yet, Mongolia’s foreign policy was not limited to tying itself closer to Russia and China. At this year’s United Nations General Assembly meeting, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj suddenly announced that his country would seek UN ratification of Mongolia’s “permanent neutrality” (, September 29). This declaration can be interpreted as a strategic maneuver by Ulaanbaatar to avoid being seen as supporting (or to prevent being cajoled into backing) Beijing’s and Moscow’s controversial foreign policy actions, as well as to repel pressure to join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And just as significantly, in mid-October, Mongolia hosted top-level delegations from two major economic “third neighbors”—Germany and Japan.

German President Joachim Gauck visited Ulaanbaatar on October 14—16, to strengthen bilateral ties within the Mongolian-German comprehensive partnership. Two major memorandums of understanding (MOU) were signed: a copper concentrate trade agreement between Mongolia’s Erdenes Tsagaan Suvraga and Germany’s Aurubis, and a strategic partnership agreement among Mongol Alt Corporation, Ferrostaal and Euro Khan LLC on establishing an oil production and lubrication oil plant. Tsagaan Suvarga needs .031 billion in investment over eighteen years in three phases: 4.4 million has already been invested, and the remaining 6.6 million would come from the International Bank of Germany and other sources (, October 19; Mongol Messenger, October 16).

Just prior to Gauck’s visit, the Mongolian Ministry of Energy and ThyssenKrupp, which was specially selected by the German government, signed an MOU on a new environmentally-friendly plant for processing methane gas from coal that was sanctioned by the Mongolian parliament in 2015. ThyssenKrupp will work on a feasibility study and personnel training while the Mongolian side will issue a license, select a Mongolian project contractor, and provide fundraising assistance for the facility (, October 18). After the German president’s departure, the two sides discussed financing for the Rehabilitation Project for the Darhan-Erdenet power plant and the Ulaanbaatar—Mandalgobi high-voltage transmission line project (, October 20).

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on his way to a five-country Central Asian tour, paid a four-hour official visit to Mongolia on October 22. The two met at the Mongolian head of state’s home, reciprocating Elbegdorj’s visit to Abe’s home last year (, October 27). The Mongolian government indicated that the purpose of the whirlwind visit was to hold discussions on accelerating the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) established between the two countries. Abe asserted that “Mongolia should adopt self-sufficient development policies, and Japan is always willing to help” (, October 23). This was Abe’s second state visit to Mongolia, his first being in March 2013 (see EDM, August 8, 2014).

Mongolian commentators saw Abe’s trip as indicative of Japanese renewed interest in economic cooperation in six major areas: 1) The bilateral ten-year EPA, which enters into force in 2016, will permit 8,100 types of Mongolian products to be imported to Japan at discounted prices, while 5,900 categories of Japanese products will enter Mongolia under reduced customs fees. 2) After Abe’s visit, Japanese Ambassador Takenori Shimizu signed an intergovernmental MOU with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg to consider cooperation on building the East Tsankhi railway for the huge coal deposit of Tavan Tolgoi. 3) Japan will lend 200 million yen (.6 million) to reduce the Mongolian state budget deficit utilized for developing small- and medium-sized enterprises; however, loan conditions and the interest rate remain unknown. 4) Mongolian construction workers will be trained to work on infrastructure development activities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 5) Japan and Mongolia will mutually support each other in international organizations, such as Ulaanbaatar’s election to UNICEF’s Human Rights Council and Tokyo’s candidacy for permanent membership in the UN Security Council. 6) Mongolia would continue to function as an intermediary between Japan and North Korea to solve the abductee issue (, October 23).

Indeed, one immediate fruit from the Abe visit was the successful election (on October 28) of Mongolia to the UNICEF Human Rights Council for 2016—2018 (, October 29). Mongolian officials at the UN mission in New York had lobbied on this issue for many months and acknowledged that Japan was one of the major supporters of their nomination (Author’s interviews, November 7).

At a news conference, Foreign Minister Lundeg Puresuren announced the approval of cooperation on environmental protection, management services for Mongolia’s new airport being built with a Japanese soft loan, and a joint regional energy project. This past May, Abe pledged that Japan would invest 0 billion, over the next 5—10 years, in Asian infrastructure development—investment that will, in part, fund the construction of the aforementioned coal gasification plant (, October 23). Also notably, the Mongolian Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and Sports, Ministry of Education and Science, the Japanese embassy in Ulaanbaatar, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a project agreement to improve health services for vulnerable populations and to reform the educational sector through a grant of million from the Japanese Poverty Reduction Fund (, October 27).

In the Japanese media, Abe’s Mongolian visit was described as evidence of his “unusually deep connection to the country, aimed in part at bringing answers to decades-old questions surrounding Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea,” while Mongolia was seen to be leveraging its ties to North Korea to strengthen economic relations with Japan (, October 24). However, Russian commentators read military and geostrategic significance into the visit, which, they argued, demonstrated “the growing importance of control over Mongolian territory for the world’s leading players.” As evidence, these Russian commentators pointed to Abe’s joint press conference with his Mongolian hosts, where he thanked Mongolia’s government for supporting Japan’s newly revised defense laws. Moreover, he called for the involvement of the United States in developing a Japanese-Mongolian strategic partnership (, November 6;, October 24, 2014).

Wedged between Russia and China, Mongolia has developed a “Steppe Road” strategy to position itself as a transit corridor in the heart of Eurasia and to facilitate infrastructural and trade integration with its two larger neighbors. But at the same time, it is utilizing an invigorated “third neighbor” policy toward Japan and Germany to expand its economic partners along this road as well as to avoid isolation and marginalization

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

As Zika Virus Spreads, El Salvador Asks Women Not to Get Pregnant Until 2018

The rapid spread of the Zika virus has prompted Latin American governments to urge women not to get pregnant for up to two years, an extraordinary precaution aimed at avoiding birth defects believed to be linked to the mosquito-borne illness.

What until recently was a seemingly routine public health problem for countries that are home to a certain type of mosquito has morphed into a potentially culture-shaping phenomenon in which the populations of several nations have been asked to delay procreation. The World Health Organization says at least 20 countries or territories in the region, including Barbados and Bolivia, Guadeloupe and Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Panama, have registered transmission of the virus.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

A Continent on Edge: Refugees Bringing Exotic Diseases Into Europe

As migrants flock to Europe in huge numbers unseen since World War Two, fueling fears that they could bring rare infectious and contagious diseases Danish hospitals are on the lookout for diphtheria, which officials believe has been brought in by asylum seekers, The Local reported on Friday.

“The infection can be very dangerous if one isn’t vaccinated against it. The dangerous type is very rare and we last saw it in Denmark in 1998,” an a spokesman for the Danish State Serum Institute spokesman said.

Incoming refugees have also been found to carry tuberculosis and malaria.

“There is no doubt that infectious diseases are coming in with the refugees that we aren’t used to. There have been discussions on whether all refugees who come to Denmark should be screened,” he said.

Unlike some European countries, Denmark does not screen arriving refugees for illnesses but that policy is likely to change.

Plans are also afoot to vaccinate arriving asylum seekers as Denmark does not vaccinate arriving migrants despite recommendations from the World Health Organization to do so.

In France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that Europe’s migration crisis is putting the EU at grave risk.

Mr. Valls told the BBC that Europe could not take all the refugees fleeing what he called terrible wars in Iraq or Syria.

“Otherwise,” he warned, “our societies will be totally destabilized.”

Meanwhile, health agencies confirmed that Syrian refugees have transported leishmaniasis to Lebanon and Turkey, where it has been difficult to manage and treat.

Moreover, patients can be infected with the parasitic disease without showing symptoms for weeks, months, or even years, which means the health screening process for refugees could miss the disease entirely.

More than a million migrants, mostly refugees, arrived in Europe last year alone.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has previously warned of immigration’s impact on “public health in Europe”.

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

Austria Migrant Cap Could be Reached by Summer: Minister

Austria’s interior minister said Sunday that a new national cap on the number of asylum seekers it takes in this year could be reached by the summer, as Europe grapples with its worst migrant crisis since World War II.

The migrant hotspot said Wednesday it would seek to cap the number of asylum seekers at 37,500 in 2016, compared to the 90,000 claims it received last year, which Austria’s foreign minister said should serve as a “wake-up call” to push Europe to find a common solution to resolve its migrant crisis.

ADVERTISING”According to forecasts, this (the new cap) should be reached before the summer,” Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Meitner told German newspaper Die Welt…

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

EU Migration Commissioner Warns Against Schengen Ouster Talk

The European Union’s commissioner for migration policy, Dimitris Avramopoulos, on Sunday warned against recent suggestions that Greece may be expelled from the Schengen Area if it fails to take more effective action on managing the inflow of thousands of refugees and migrants through its borders.

“If Schengen collapses then the entire European structure will start collapsing,” Avramopoulos told Greece’s Mega TV on Sunday, adding that there are no provisions in the Schengen pact for the ouster of a member.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

German Police ‘Overwhelmed by Border Controls’ Amid Refugee Crisis

The German Trade Union of the Police views the extension of border controls — proposed by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière — as unrealistic, German newspaper Die Zeit reported.

Earlier, de Maizière announced plans to prolong border controls for an undetermined period of time. According to chairman of the Union Jörg Radek, the police don’t have enough staff to put this initiative into practice.

“We can afford it for a period of perhaps three weeks, but for a longer period we don’t have enough human resources,” Radek told the German newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, adding that the law enforcement forces have almost reached their limits.

On September 13, Germany introduced border controls amid the ongoing refugee crisis, as more than one million migrants entered the country last year. The scheme has been renewed several times and is expected to be in force until February 13. Then, according to the country’s authorities, it will likely be extended for an indefinite period of time.

The particular focus of the initiative has been put on the German-Austrian border. Since mid-September, federal police officers have been working overtime patrolling the area.

“We have more than two million hours overtime,” Radek said, adding that about 2,000 officers are being deployed. He also said the police forces are now barely able to carry out other tasks, such as protecting airports, monitoring railway stations and ensuring security on the weekends during football matches.

Radek argued that the planned creation of an additional 3,000 jobs in the next few years won’t bring the federal police much help.

“This will help us only in three years, we can’t deploy these people right now,” Radek explained.

The EU, and particularly Germany, has been trying to cope with a large-scale refugee crisis for more than a year, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty.

The European Commission earlier stated that Europe is currently facing the biggest immigration crisis since WWII.

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

Germany to Increase Aid to Turkey in Tackling Refugee Crisis in 2016

The German government intends to increase the amount of its financial assistance to Turkey to solve the migration crisis some 40 percent in 2016, the Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development said on Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In late November, the European Commission held a joint summit with Turkey. Following the meeting, a deal was agreed upon, under which Turkey promised to prevent refugees currently in the country from traveling to Europe in return for financial assistance and renewed talks on its EU accession.

“We will expand our cooperation with Turkey this year and will increase the amount of assistance from 36 to 50 million euros [$39 to $54],” Gerd Mueller told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Turkey for its efforts in tackling the ongoing migrant crisis, and signed a joint communique with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, under which the latter emphasized the commitment of the government “to undertaking all possible efforts to substantially reduce the number of irregular migrants in the near future.”

Merkel also urged the bloc to provide Turkey with the three billion euros to improve conditions for over two million Syrian refugees, which was promised in November.

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

Germany Rejects About 10 Percent of Migrants

While Germany is still taking in around 2,000 refugees a day, it is now denying entry to about 200 others daily at its borders, the interior minister said on Sunday.

The tighter border controls come after the EU’s top economy last year took in a record 1.1 million refugees and migrants, straining resources and sparking heated political debate.

“People who are fleeing war and persecution are offered security and protection in Germany,” the minister, Thomas de Maiziere, told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

“But that also means that those who do not seek this protection from us are refused entry at the border.

“Anyone who doesn’t want to apply for political asylum in Germany and wants to illegally enter Germany has no right to be here.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Japan Accepts 27 Refugees Last Year, Rejects 99 Percent

Japan accepted only 27 refugees last year and rejected almost all applications, officials said Saturday, as rights groups urged the government to allow more people in.

The country has long been nervous about an influx of refugees into its homogeneous society and has tightly restricted the number it accepts.

Of the thousands seeking refugee status, five were Syrian, only three of which were accepted — a far cry from the massive influx of Syrians into Europe from the war-torn Middle East nation last year.

The justice ministry said it received a record 7,586 refugee applications in 2015, meaning more than 99 percent of requests were rejected…

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

Japan Rejected 99 Percent of Refugees Last Year

Only 27 of the 7,586 applications for resettlement the Japanese justice ministry received in 2015 were actually approved, according to Agence France-Presse.

Included in the thousands of applications were five from Syrian refugees, of which three were approved. Additionally, six Afghans, three Ethiopians and three Sri Lankans were given refugee status, allowing them to resettle in a country that has been known to have stringent immigration regulations.

Japan’s refugee acceptance is remarkably low when compared to the other top-five world economies. Germany has confirmed that it will accept just under 40,000 refugees, the U.K. will accept 20,000 and the U.S. around 10,000. Even the tiny European country of Lichtenstein, population 36,000, has agreed to take 25.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Merkel Warns of Growing Anti-Semitism in Wake Influx From the Arab World

As millions flee war-torn countries where anti-Semitism is rampant, several world leaders are calling on citizens to challenge this hatred everywhere they find it, especially when it comes to young people with anti-Semitic ideologies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged citizens to remain vigilant and to beware of anti-Semitism especially when directed by young people coming from “countries where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread.”

Currently, millions of people are claiming to seek refuge throughout Europe as they flee war-battered nations including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 1.5 million refugees including several from throughout the Arab world entered Germany in 2015 alone.

“We have observed in several schools and meeting places (anti-Semitic) events (led) by young people, against which every adult has to act,” Merkel said. “We must also encourage students who think differently.

“We can try to reason (with them) again and again but it should also be clear: (Anti-Semitism) has no place in our society…we must simply put clear limits,” she said.

Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in November raised concern over the growing number of refugees seeking asylum in the country despite leaving behind nations where “hostility toward Israel and anti-Semitism are a common practice.”

Speaking Saturday, Merkel warned that “Anti-Semitism is more widespread than we imagined. And that is why we must act intensively against it.”

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

More European Nations Are Barring Their Doors to Migrants

Yet from the Greece-Macedonia border to Austria and Germany and northward to Denmark and Sweden, a domino effect is taking shape as nations in Europe suddenly move to keep more migrants out. It happens as Europe’s plan to manage a humanitarian crisis remains in disarray and a surge of new migrants is expected as soon as March.

Increasingly, nations are taking matters into their own hands, putting up policies aimed at cutting the migrant flow and weeding out all but those most at risk from war. This is taking place amid rising security fears in Europe after the terrorist attacks in Paris by assailants that included militants who disguised themselves as migrants, as well as hundreds of sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve in which asylum seekers are among the suspects.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

No Go: Belgian Town Mulls Pool Ban for Migrants After Teen Girls Assaulted

The mayor of a Belgian town said he wants to ban male asylum seekers from public swimming pools after complaints from women that they harassed by migrants, a local newspaper wrote.

Marc Vanden Bussche, the mayor of the North Sea resort town of Koksijde, decided to bring the matter before City Hall after two teenage girls said they had been sexually assaulted by local asylum seekers, Nieuwsblad reported on Sunday.

The Daily Mail earlier wrote that asylum-seekers in Belgium are to be given lessons in civilized flirting so that they learn to respect women.

Special brochures being distributed by the country’s immigration authorities advise the migrants to be tolerant when dealing with representatives of the fair sex, not to touch them and not to whistle when they pass by.

The guidance is an attempt to avoid a repeat of the New Year attacks on women in Cologne, Germany, the newspaper wrote.

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

Protesters March Against Greece-Turkey Border Fence

Hundreds of people protested in northeast Greece Sunday against the security fence along the Turkish border, demanding the opening of safe routes for migrants, two days after 45 died making the risky Aegean Sea crossing.

Demonstrators, some wearing life jackets as a symbol of the flow of thousands of people making the perilous sea journey from Turkey to Greece, marched from the village of Kastanies, which lies close to the frontier.

Police stopped the marchers a few hundred meters (yards) away from the border fence, located in a restricted-access military zone.

The protesters waved placards demanding the opening of borders and a group of Pakistani migrants carried a picture of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi. A picture of his body lying on a beach became a global symbol of Europe’s refugee crisis.

Europe is battling to deal with its biggest migration crisis since World War II, but member states are split on what to do and despite deteriorating winter weather, thousands are attempting the risky sea passage every day.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Vienna Says Violence Outbreak Possible Over Measures to Reduce Migrant Flow

The Austrian Foreign Minister said that he did not rule out the outbreak of violence on the border in the course of the authorities’ implementing the recently agreed measures to tackle the migrant crisis.

VIENNA (Sputnik) — Earlier this week, the Austrian federal government and some provincial governors agreed to reduce migration to the country to some 37,000 people per year, significantly lower than the over 90,000 asylum applications the country received in 2015. Prior to that, Vienna enhanced the measures to defend state borders against illegal border crossings.

“In the most part, the refugees behave peacefully. But, of course, it is possible that some will try to use force against the police and the army. Yes, it can lead to ugly scenes,” Sebastian Kurz told the newspaper Oesterreich in an interview to be published on Sunday.

He added that limits to refugee flow are necessary as many of them bypass safe European countries, as Austria, Germany or, for instance, Sweden are wealthier and more prosperous.

“The next wave of refugees threatens the Schengen. I am hundred percent sure that we will finally find a common European solution. Domino effect will increase the pressure for this to happen faster.”

Europe is struggling to find a solution to a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Germany and Austria are among the destinations most popular with refugees.

EU border agency Frontex detected some 1.6 million illegal border crossings in 2015.

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

Wrong Time to Party: German Night Clubs Ban Refugees From Entry

A number of entertainment facilities in the German city of Freiburg have banned refugees from entry amid several cases of sexual harassment, the German newspaper Badische Zeitung reported.

According to the newspaper, “the refugees are either not allowed or restricted to enter clubs and discos in the city.” Earlier it was reported about several incidents when asylum seekers were said to have sexually harassed and robbed the visitors.

Manager of the music club White Rabbit said that they decided to ban from entry those who have only a temporary residence permit in Germany.

This was not an easy step, but we currently see no other way “how we can solve certain problems with refugees,” the manager said.

Apart from pickpocketing and a knife attack on the security forces, there were cases of sexual harassment, intrusion into the cabins of women’s WC and even an attempted rape.

A visitor of the club described in an interview with the BZ how a large group of African men had come and sexually harassed dancing female visitors.

“I was surrounded and pushed aside while dancing,” the 46-year-old said, adding that she felt threatened because the situation was out of control.

The decision to ban asylum seekers from entry was made by a number of night clubs in Freiburg amid recent events in Cologne when dozens of women were robbed, sexually assaulted, and raped on New Year’s Eve by groups of aggressive men, mostly of Arab and North African appearance.

After the incident, the German authorities have decided to simplify the deportation procedure for refugees who commit crimes.

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

Academy Diversity Pledges Welcomed by Hollywood

Pledges made to double the number of female and minority members of the organisation behind the Oscars have been welcomed by Hollywood figures.

Actor Don Cheadle called the measures “a step in the right direction”.

Oscar nominee Matt Damon also praised the initiatives, but added the industry had “a long, long, long way to go”.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the changes following a backlash over the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations.

The all-white line-up in the four acting categories prompted director Spike Lee, actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her husband Will Smith to announce they would not be attending next month’s awards.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Pope Against ‘Confusion Between Families, Other Unions’

Italian parliament currently examining bill on civil unions

(ANSA) — Vatican City, January 22 — Pope Francis said in a speech for the opening of judicial year of the Vatican’s Roman Rota tribunal that the Catholic Church cannot accept traditional families and other types of union being given the same status.

The pope said the Church’s recent two-year Synod process on the family “told the world that there can be no confusion between the family as willed by God, and every other type of union”. The Church has spoken out against the legalisation of same-sex unions in several countries, although the pope has repeatedly say gay people must never be marginalised. The Italian parliament is currently examining a bill to regulate civil unions, including those between people of the same sex. The Roman Rota is the Vatican court which mainly deals with marriage annulment cases. “The Church continues to propose marriage in its essentials — offspring, good of the couple, unity, indissolubility, sacramentality — not as ideal only for a few — notwithstanding modern models centered on the ephemeral and the transient — but as a reality that can be experienced by all the baptized faithful,” said Pope Francis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

5 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 1/24/2016

  1. “The Daily Mail earlier wrote that asylum-seekers in Belgium are to be given lessons in civilized flirting so that they learn to respect women.”

    All the better to lure them into dark alleys first.

  2. A lot of people just can’t get their thoughts around the idea that “they” have to show you that they are _”REAL”_ men, strong, virile, knowledgeable, etc.

    That’s hard to do in this day and age because the _”REAL”_ men are here:

    The average American male, and no doubt those of a few other nations as well, do not see the above as a threat to notions of their manliness. They’re just kind of happy somebody else is doing it and find and appreciate some value in it.

    Now, THAT is what’s causing the problems, not a lot of babble about left and right (be that plain and simple “left” and “right” or be it using assorted capitalized terms like “Socialist” for identification labels).

  3. 10% are denied? This is a cheap trick. Are they going home, when denied? No. They try it again at another place to intrude.

  4. ” Meanwhile, a Belgian resort town is considering banning migrants from its public swimming pools after teenage girls were molested by asylum seekers.”

    Weren’t they also pooping in the pool? And ahem, masturbating in the pool, as well? You would think that last activity is forbidden in the Koran but I don’t know of course.

    Oh dear God, I am so grateful that where I live, we are not (yet) being culturally enriched. Thankfully, very few Muslims think this state (in the middle of the country) is very interesting, although I have seen burkas and head cloths in Wichita. And I’ve read of quite a contingent in the western edge of the state. Maybe the natives out there can introduce them to the fun of being a westerner (pick-ups, beer, guns, not all at the same time of course). Ha.

    Thanks for all your good work, Baron and Dympnha!

Comments are closed.