Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/15/2016

Monsignor Georges Abou Khazen, the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo, says that the “moderate” Syrian “rebels” supported by the United States and the EU have been bombarding civilians and committing other atrocities in their pushback against the Assad regime in Syria. He maintains that there is no significant difference between these groups and the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front.

In other news, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán says that Greece has failed in its duty to intercept migrants arriving in the Schengen area, and that another line of defense is necessary in Macedonia and Bulgaria along their respective borders with Greece.

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

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Dora, Fausta, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, MC, 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
» China’s Import-Export Nose Dives: Imports at-18.8% in January 2015
» Draghi Says No Italy Negotiations on Buying Bad Loans
» Italy: Pension-to-Spouse’s Row Continues Despite Govt Denial
» Italy: Milan Stock Exchange Makes Big Gains
» Climate Models Are Not Simulating Earth’s Climate — Part 2
» How the Progressive Left Intends to Use the Courts to Harass Those Who Don’t Agree With Them on the Climate
» Report: Obama Told of Scalia’s Death Hours Before Public Announcement
» The 9/11 Al-Qaeda Guy Who Lived in Florida and Hid in Mexico
» The Law, Lawsuits, And Climate Change
» Urgent Calls Begin for Scalia Autopsy
Europe and the EU
» ‘Coalition of the Willing’ on the Sidelines of EU Summit
» EasyJet Eyes ‘Massive Opportunities’ In Europe: CEO McCall
» EU Commissioner Says Firms Should Pay Taxes Where They Earn Profits
» Exclusive: ‘Forget Decency, Fight the Sex Jihad!’ the Moment the Most Powerful Woman in Far-Right PEGIDA Launches Vicious Attack on Muslim Migrants, Telling the Public to ‘Grab Your Pitchforks and Protect Europe’
» Gozzi Says EU Inattention to Dumping May be Changing
» ‘Italy is Back’ Says Renzi Ahead of 2-Yr Anniversary
» Italy: Probe Into Salvini ‘Disgusting’ Magistrates Jibe
» Italy: 14 Evictions in Rome Pittance-Rent Affair
» Italy: 19 Bids for ILVA Admitted
» Italy: Naples Confers Honorary Citizenship on PKK Leader Ocalan
» Morally Repugnant: UK Chancellor’s Family Firm Paid No Tax for Seven Years
» The Islamic Extremists Taking Over UK Prisons: Muslims Make Up Just One in 20 Britons — But One in Seven Inmates
Israel and the Palestinians
» Five Palestinians Killed ‘After Attacking Israelis’
» Former Premier Ehud Olmert Entered Prison
» Palestinians Conducted 228 Attacks Against Israelis Since October
Middle East
» Foreign Ministry: Ankara Condemns US Appeal to Stop Shelling Kurds in Syria
» Freed Yazidi Sex Slave Relives Being Raped and Tortured for Three Months After ISIS Massacred Her Mother and Six Brothers
» Iran Remains Off Limits to US Banks
» ISIS Executioner ‘Is Beheaded by SAS Sniper’s Special Bullet as He Demonstrated How to Decapitate Prisoners’
» Kurds Cross Erdogan’s “Red Lines” In Syria With Russian Air Support
» Study: Drug Use Among Saudi Teenagers Skyrockets
» Syria: Vicar of Aleppo: “Moderate” Front No Better Than Jihadists, Bombing Civilians and Not Seeking Peace
» The Neoconservatives Are Brewing a Wider War in Syria
» Turkish Islamist: Darwin Was a Jew Who Targeted Muslims; Gorillas Are Mutated Jews
» World War 3 Could Start This Month: 350,000 Soldiers in Saudi Arabia Stand Ready to Invade Syria
» EU Ends Nearly All Belarus Sanctions: Source
» Latvian Regulator Demands Riga Mayor Explain Use of Russian on Facebook
» ‘Truck War’ Between Moscow and Kiev, Traffic Was Stopped
» Merkel Isolated as EU Partners Slam Door on Refugees
» Orban: Athens Failed: Fence Along Greek Border is Necessary
» Turkish PM Threatens Germany With ‘Hundreds of Thousands of New Refugees’

China’s Import-Export Nose Dives: Imports at-18.8% in January 2015

Shanghai Stock Exchange reopens, but trading is slow. China’s markets affected by the publication of data on the trade balance, with plummeting exports: in January they collapsed to -11%, with imports at — 18.8%. China’s surplus with the rest of the world amounts to 63.3 billion dollars.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) — The reopening of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and gains made by Tokyo are not helping the Chinese economy, which continues to register major losses in import-exports. Compared to last year, China’s exports fell by 11.2% annually in January, compared with estimates of roughly -1.9%. Imports fell by 18.8% annually, on estimates for a -0.8%.

The trade balance shows a surplus of 63.29 billion dollars, up from 60.09 billion in December. In yuan, exports have suffered a year over year collapse -6.6% in January, while imports were down 14.4%, with the trade balance showing a record surplus of 406 billion yuan.

Analysts say it is due to a weakening demand, both foreign and domestic. But the latest data is part of a now annual trend, and increases expectations of more stimulus measures by the Chinese authorities to counter the economic slowdown of the country and fears related to tensions in financial markets.

The stabilization of the economy is the main concern of the Chinese government, which fears unemployment and financial losses. With the decline of the gross domestic product, in fact, there has been a collapse in the jobs market and hand in hand with this a decline in the purchasing power of the population. These two factors combined could trigger massive social protests — which are already growing exponentially despite Xi Jinping’s tight reign — going so far as to question the one-party political system dominated by the communist regime.

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

Draghi Says No Italy Negotiations on Buying Bad Loans

ECB ‘not buying anything’

(see related) (ANSA) — Brussels, February 15 — European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Monday dismissed speculation that the ECB was negotiating with Italy to buy some of the non-performing loans weighing down the balance sheets of Italian lenders.

“There are no talks between the ECB and the Italian government,” he said.

“I don’t know where this news comes from. We are not buying anything. It’s a question of seeing whether these non-performing loans in a special ABS (asset-backed securities) format can be accepted as collateral”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Pension-to-Spouse’s Row Continues Despite Govt Denial

Poletti says furore is ‘groundless’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 15 — A furore over reports that Premier Matteo Renzi’s government intends to cut State pensions that have been transferred to a spouse following the death of the holder continued on Monday even though the executive denied there was any truth in the speculation.

“The row over transferred pensions is totally groundless,” said Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti of the question that was raised by Northern League leader Matteo Salvini at the weekend regarding a proposed government enabling law.

“Obviously some people try to get easy visibility and invent a problem that does not exist.

“The government’s enabling law bill explicitly leaves in tact all current positions.

“There are no interventions on transferred State pensions under consideration. All the enabling bill proposes is that overlaps and anomalous situations be overcome”. Opposition politicians, however, were not satisfied, amid speculation such pensions will be linked to a person’s score on the ISEE means test.

Maurizio Gasparri, a Senator for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia (FI), linked the issue to a bill regulating civil unions, which will extend some rights currently enjoyed by heterosexual married couples to gay couples.

“It incredible that the government is considering cutting pensions transferred to widows and widowers while at the same time extending them to gay couples,” Gasparri said.

“Renzi must explain to us the reasons for this shameful act of social injustice that will hit the weakest people”. The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) also blasted Renzi’s administration. “This is how the government intends to combat poverty, by cashing on on transferred pensions and once again attacking pension rights,” the M5S said.

“We will combat this unacceptable design with all our strength”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Milan Stock Exchange Makes Big Gains

FTSE Mib index up 4.07%

(ANSA) — Milan, February 15 — The Milan stock exchange made big gains on Monday with the FTSE Mib index up 4.07% at 17.184 points after just over three hours of trading.

Bank-financial services stocks led the way with MPS up 9.1%, followed by Banco Popolare (8.98%), BPER (7.93%) and UniCredit (6.93%). The spread between Italy’s 10-year BTP bond and the German equivalent was steady at just under 133 basis points.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Climate Models Are Not Simulating Earth’s Climate — Part 2

by Bob Tisdale

We presented in part 1 of this series how the spatial patterns of the modeled warming rates for the surfaces of the global oceans from 1982 to 2015 (the era of satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature observations) show no similarities to the spatial patterns of the observed (data-founded) warming and cooling…

The differences between models and data on a global basis highlight a very basic problem with the models. The modelers have to rely solely on manmade greenhouse gases and other anthropogenic factors to drive the climate models, because climate models do not properly simulate the timing, magnitude and duration of naturally occurring processes that can cause ocean surfaces to warm. Based on those models (that bear no similarity to the real world), the surfaces of the global oceans were expected to warm at a rate of roughly 0.17 deg C/decade for the past 34 years, but in the real world, the observed global warming rates due to the combination of natural variability and greenhouse gases was only about 0.10 deg C/decade. That’s a monumental difference between hypothesis and reality…


We live on an ocean-covered planet. One might have thought that one of the climate modelers’ first priorities would have been to simulate the processes that cause sea surface temperatures to vary on annual, decadal and multidecadal bases. Sadly, the modelers elected another route…they chose to create models of a planet that bear no relationship to the one where we live, no relationship at all.

Climate model simulations of sea surface temperatures are far from reality. That is, they’re modeling a virtual planet—a science-fiction planet—with no similarities to Earth. More specifically, as shown in this series of posts, the climate models used by the IPCC do not simulate (1) the actual warming and cooling rates of the ocean surfaces, or (2) the spatial patterns of those trends, or (3) the absolute temperatures. It would be nice if climate modeling agencies might try to simulate the surface temperatures of this planet, not some fairytale one. That way, their models might have some value. Right now, they don’t serve any purpose…other than to illustrate how poorly they simulate Earth’s climate.

Next in this series: ocean heat content.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

How the Progressive Left Intends to Use the Courts to Harass Those Who Don’t Agree With Them on the Climate

On February 10th, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (“ACS”) hosted a panel discussion on legal approaches and activities associated with “combatting” climate change through legal action. Topics covered were RICO prosecutions, climate torts and the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan. The session was organized and moderated by Lisa Heinzerling, the attorney who was brought into EPA to manage the legal analysis of how to extend the agency’s powers beyond the limits of the Clean Air Act in order to implement the environmental activists’ climate agenda, and who had previously won the Massachusetts v. EPA case enabling EPA to regulate carbon dioxide.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Report: Obama Told of Scalia’s Death Hours Before Public Announcement

President reportedly “thrilled” at opportunity to tip balance of Supreme Court

President Barack Obama was reportedly informed about the death of Antonin Scalia hours before it was publicly announced that the Supreme Court Justice had been found dead at a West Texas ranch.

The website DC Whispers, which routinely publishes controversial reports based on inside sources, asserts that Obama knew about Scalia¿s death well before it became public knowledge.

“Word reached the White House hours before formal media announcements were made regarding longtime Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia having been found dead while vacationing at a Texas resort. First the speechwriters were summoned to provide the appropriate tone for Barack Obama¿s remarks,” states the report.

“During that same time, Obama and Valerie Jarrett were already initiating a long-standing plan for what they viewed as a prime opportunity to make Mr. Obama relevant once again and an opportunity that the President was said to be thrilled to have before him.”

If accurate, the report will feed suspicions that foul play may have been involved in Scalia¿s death…

Confusion and contradiction surrounds the circumstances behind Scalia¿s death, with Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronouncing the Supreme Court Justice dead of natural causes having not seen the body.

When Guevara talked to law enforcement officers on the scene, she was told “there were no signs of foul play,” but it subsequently emerged that Scalia was found with a pillow over his head.

Other officials questioned why there were no plans for an autopsy to be performed and why Scalia’s body had been quickly embalmed, a process that would destroy toxicology evidence, after being escorted to Sunset Funeral Home in El Paso by a procession of 20 police officers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The 9/11 Al-Qaeda Guy Who Lived in Florida and Hid in Mexico

In spite of the federal government denials that Islamic militants may have tried to cross the Mexican border to conduct operations in the U.S., a Judicial Watch investigation reveals that al-Qaeda terrorist Adnan G. El Shukrijumah (also spelled Shukijumah in Spanish-language reports), whose mom still lives in Miramar, FL, hid in a Mexican border city across Douglas, Arizona in 2004.

El Shukrijumah was connected to Mohammed Atta, and both were with another man at the Miami immigration office on May 2, 2001,

Adnan G. el Shukrijumah, an al-Qaida terrorist leader once based in South Florida, hid in northern Mexico with two other Arab militants in a border city across from Douglas, Arizona, in 2004, newly released State Department cables say.

One of the cables noted that the information about Shukrijumah, killed in Pakistan in 2014, came from a trusted confidential source who had a relative involved in migrant smuggling.

This matters because…

           — Hat tip: Fausta [Return to headlines]

The Law, Lawsuits, And Climate Change

David Schnare wrote about how the progressive left intends to use the courts to harass those who don’t agree with them on the climate. His focus was on corporations and special interest groups using such legal devices as RICO to intimidate, harass, and even silence those with different opinions. The reality is they are all tantamount to suppression of speech, which creates the paradox of using the law to defeat free speech; the most fundamental of human rights.

All IPCC predictions (projections) failed from the first Report (FAR) in 1990 to the 2013 Report (AR5). Skeptics knew about the failures, but they and the failure were ignored. Alarmists knew the politicians and the public didn’t know or understand. When the switch from warming to climate change occurred, the failed forecasts became a bigger issue and a greater threat to the deception. Hostility to scientists practicing skeptical science increased. The leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) revealed that in December of 2004 Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt created the web page Realclimate to counteract the skeptics and their ‘false’ stories.

Other actions were in progress to silence skeptics. I was privileged to give a keynote lunch presentation to the first Heartland Climate Conference in New York in 2008. The privilege was enhanced by sharing the keynote platform with Dr. Fred Singer. We greeted each other, and Fred asked how I was doing. I said I am fine but just received a lawsuit. Fred said McConchie was still at it then? I asked how he knew the name of the lawyer. He replied that he threatened him and others with lawsuits.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Urgent Calls Begin for Scalia Autopsy

Rush to ‘natural causes’ conclusion criticized.

WASHINGTON — The seemingly quick conclusion that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died of “natural causes” this weekend is prompting calls for an autopsy and toxicological reports by activists and across social media platforms.

William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration political action committee, noted the media¿s “rush” to proclaim Scalia’s death in a rented room in a resort in Texas as either “natural causes” or heart attack within hours of the discovery of his body.

“Anytime a head of state, member of Congress, or the most conservative member of the U.S. Supreme Court is found dead, an extensive autopsy and toxicology examination should be both immediate and mandatory,” said Gheen. “The horrid reaction and comments about his death expressed by many liberals online illustrate that Scalia was hated by many people. His death hands the power of the Supreme Court to the modern left for the first time in American history. The court can now vote, even without a replacement of Scalia, to radically change the United States of America. Scalia’s death means the Supreme Court is now very likely to rubber stamp Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty orders, tear down Republican drawn districts in many states including North Carolina, and take deep left turns on abortion, gun rights, or anything the liberals have ever dreamed of. Scalia was a solid vote against Obama’s immigration orders to be decided by April of this year. We do not contend there is a conspiracy, we contend that there should be no doubts, and the way authorities and the media are rushing conclusions will leave major doubts and legitimate concerns about a death that could lead to a radical political transformation of America to the left.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Coalition of the Willing’ on the Sidelines of EU Summit

Diplomatic sources: at Austria’s Representation to the EU

(ANSA) — BRUSSELS — A meeting of the so-called “Coalition of the willing” is scheduled for noon Thursday, on the sidelines of the EU summit, at Austria’s Permanent Representation to the EU, according to diplomatic sources. The meeting will be attended by Turkey’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the European parliament president Martin Schulz, along with the leaders of Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Slovenia and Greece.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EasyJet Eyes ‘Massive Opportunities’ In Europe: CEO McCall

Europe’s airline sector is on course for further consolidation, while the region offers “massive opportunities” for growth, according to Carolyn McCall, chief executive of British budget airline EasyJet.

“I definitely think there will be consolidation in Europe,” McCall told AFP in a recent interview held in EasyJet’s headquarters at Luton airport, north of London.

And she believes the company can build on its exceptionally strong growth during her almost six years in charge…

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

EU Commissioner Says Firms Should Pay Taxes Where They Earn Profits

The EU’s top economic affairs official said Monday that companies should pay taxes where they earn profits, days after a report of another firm using aggressive strategies to lower their bill.

When asked about a report that the world’s top furniture company Ikea may have underpaid taxes by one billion euros using aggressive tax strategies, Pierre Moscovici said “a company should pay taxes where they generate profits”.

The EU’s economy commissioner told journalists during a visit to the southern French city of Toulouse that “we’ve had enough of multinational firms benefitting from this or that favourable rule … to avoid paying tax where they did business to pay little in taxes in countries where the rates are low.”

He declined to name any company…

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

Exclusive: ‘Forget Decency, Fight the Sex Jihad!’ the Moment the Most Powerful Woman in Far-Right PEGIDA Launches Vicious Attack on Muslim Migrants, Telling the Public to ‘Grab Your Pitchforks and Protect Europe’

The most powerful woman in far-Right Germany has made an extraordinary call for the public to ‘forget about decency’ and fight the ‘sex-jihad’ she claims is being waged against Western women.

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, Tatjana Festerling, 51, the second-in-command of the anti-Islam group Pegida, said ‘political correctness’ was putting women and gay men at risk of assault.

In a vicious attack on Muslim migrants and the political elite, she said: ‘Germany is like an open-air psychiatric ward with the mental illness of political correctness.

‘We don’t have time for decency any more. If we don’t grab our pitchforks and fight the Islamisation of Europe, we are lost.’

Her comments, in a video for MailOnline, will cause concern that a resurgent far-Right is exploiting migration to whip up racist hatred…

           — Hat tip: Dora [Return to headlines]

Gozzi Says EU Inattention to Dumping May be Changing

Federacciai president says protests and letter prompt attention

(ANSA) — Brussels, February 15 — Antonio Gozzi, president of steel-producer association Federacciai, on Monday said there may be “change in the air” regarding attention to dumping, the practice of manufacturers exporting to countries at prices lower than in their home markets. Steel manufacturers have been urging the EU to take stronger anti-dumping measures against Chinese companies, and thousands of steelworkers from across Europe held a protest in Brussels on Monday.

Gozzi said he believes the protest, along with a recent letter signed by seven countries to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom urging the EU to help the industry in crisis, will have a “positive outcome”.

Gozzi said in the past “there has been disattention on the part of European countries” to the steel industry crisis and also “strong resistance to implementation of the steel industry action plan” introduced by former EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani.

“We need to use all the tools at our disposal to avoid unfair trade from China and other countries,” Gozzi said.

He said the foundations for an EU study on the problem that said only 211,000 industry jobs were at risk across the EU “were never understood” and that in fact in Italy “there are hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk”.

Gozzi said the absence of Industry Minister Federica Guidi in Brussels isn’t a sign of disregard for the issue on her part.

“She has always followed the position of Federacciai with extreme attention and support,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Italy is Back’ Says Renzi Ahead of 2-Yr Anniversary

Will show foreign press data in a week’s time

(ANSA) — Rome, February 15 — Italy is back, Premier Matteo Renzi said Monday, a week to the day that the government will celebrate its two years in office.

To mark the date, February 22, Renzi said he would meet the foreign press “to show, numbers at hand, how Italy has returned and wants to make itself heard ever more”.

He said he would make three factory visits from north to south to show the impact of his Jobs Act labour reforms.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Probe Into Salvini ‘Disgusting’ Magistrates Jibe

Judiciary ‘must clean up its act’ says defiant League leader

(ANSA) — Turin, February 15 — Turin prosecutors on Monday opened a probe into an insult launched by Northern League leader Matteo Salvini against magistrates who indicted his No.2, Liguria Councillor Edoardo Rixi, in an expenses case. Salvini described the Italian judiciary as “disgusting”.

Prosecutors want to establish if that constitutes the crime of contempt of the magistrature, judicial sources said. Salvini made the remark at a rally Sunday, saying that Rixi was innocent.

Salvini was defiant after learning of the probe, saying the Italian judiciary must clean up its act so that Italy can become “a normal country”.

Salvini said there were “many magistrates who do their job very well,” citing anti-mafia prosecutors, but added there were those who “work a lot less, engage in politics, probe in one way only and release dangerous criminals in 24 hours”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: 14 Evictions in Rome Pittance-Rent Affair

17 to come

(ANSA) — Rome, February 15 — Some 14 evictions have already been carried out in a Rome pittance-rent scandal and 17 others have been lined up, the city council said Monday. A task force named by Rome Commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca has “started proceedings to free 31 properties, proceedings which have already been concluded in 14 cases,” sources said. All 31 are council homes in the historic centre, they said.

Tronca recently said the cases in Rome of city-owned apartments in luxury neighborhoods being rented for a pittance must be cleaned up “definitively”.

“I believe this is the strong commitment that the extraordinary administration needs to make,” the former Milan prefect said.

“Specialist groups are working with determination in the knowledge that the road is certainly uphill and the task complex and difficult,” Tronca continued.

“We are faced with a situation that is unclear and we could also be faced with an underground phenomenon that I don’t know about. We’ll see, it’s all to be discovered.” Earlier, the extraordinary commissioner appointed last year following the ouster of Mayor Ignazio Marino over an expenses scandal said he had uncovered several bizarre cases of flats owned by the city being rented at rock-bottom prices.

He cited the examples of a flat in the Borgo Pio historic district near the Vatican being rented out at 10.29 euros a month, another in the central Corso Vittorio Emanuele rented at 24.21 euros a month, and another with a view over the Imperial Forums rented at 23.65 euros a month.

“We will do everything possible (to get to the bottom of the situation) in quick acceleration and certainly in the knowledge that it will be a chrono-climb…We’ll certainly do our best,” Tronca continued.

“We’ll see if we make it, it doesn’t depend on what we have discovered but on what we discover from here on,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: 19 Bids for ILVA Admitted

To due diligence phase

(ANSA) — Rome, February 15 — Nineteen bids for troubled steelmaker ILVA were admitted to the due diligence phase Monday.

Ten bids were rejected.

There had been, in fact, 29 expressions of interest in purchasing ILVA assets and affiliates.

They included offers from Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal, Cremona-based steel manufacturer Arvedi Group, Milan-based steelmaker EUSIDER, and family-owned Marcegaglia Group steel processor.

Extraordinary commissioners managing ILVA as the firm undergoes a massive environmental cleanup and financial turnaround project assessed the offers.

State-controlled investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) filed an expression of interest last Tuesday.

A court this year declared ILVA insolvent, with debt totalling nearly three billion euros.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Naples Confers Honorary Citizenship on PKK Leader Ocalan

Mayor De Magistris says city working for peaceful co-existence

(ANSAmed) — NAPLES, FEBRUARY 15 — Naples city has conferred honorary citizenship to Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish leader of the PKK who has been held in detention in Turkey for 16 years.

Naples Mayor, Luigi De Magistris, conferred a parchment certificate of citizenship and a medal of the city to the PKK leader’s niece, Dilek Ocalan.

The decision was based on “sentiments of sharing principles of democracy, equality and freedom for the Kurdish people” to whom “the city of Naples is linked by affection, esteem and friendship,” the city said in a statement.

The mayor said that “Naples is a city of peace and wants to create a community of living together, trying to build peace between Turkey and Kurdistan, like between Palestinians and Israelis.” “We don’t want to re-write history, we don’t have the means to do so, but in our territory we want to demonstrate that one can live together, that love can prevail over hatred”.

Dilik Ocalan said the honorary award “is an important step for us and we ask whoever wants peace and brotherhood to support this struggle which begins from grassroots”.

A public debate on Kurdish resistance and a solidarity concert for Ocalan were being held in Naples Monday evening.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Morally Repugnant: UK Chancellor’s Family Firm Paid No Tax for Seven Years

The UK government’s purported crackdown on tax evasion has been embroiled in another credibility crisis, after research revealed that the family company of Chancellor George Osborne has not paid corporation tax in seven years.

According to analysis from the Sunday Times newspaper, the Osborne family’s wallpaper business, Osborne & Little Group Ltd, paid out dividends totalling US$485,000 (£335,000) to stakeholders in 2014, despite not paying UK corporation tax since 2008.

The chancellor was among those stakeholders, receiving a payout of US$1,780 (£1,230), while Osborne’s parents, Sir Peter and Lady Felicity Osborne, reportedly received dividend payouts of more than US$390,000 (£270,000).

According to the analysis, the company has avoided paying corporation tax by rolling over losses from previous years and deferring tax payments.

The company, founded by Osborne’s father, Sir Peter, and his brother-in-law, reportedly paid US$8,700 (£6,000) in overseas taxes and had a deferred “tax charge” of US$250,000 (£173,000) over the last seven years.

Another Blow for Tories’ Tax Credibility

The news comes as a hugely embarrassing revelation for the chancellor, who himself launched a crackdown in 2012 into what he labeled “morally repugnant” tax avoidance.

It also comes amid increased pressure to get tough on tax evasion in the UK, amid the perception that many large companies are taking advantage of the many loopholes in the British system.

Critics savaged the government’s recently announced ‘sweetheart’ tax deal with Google, which saw the Internet giant agree to pay back US$190 million (£130 million) in unpaid taxes over the past decade.

Despite Osborne initially labeling the deal a “major success” critics pointed out that Google was only paying the equivalent of 3 percent tax on its earnings, which was then contrasted to a similar deal in Italy, which saw Google pay back tax to Italian authorities at a rate of roughly 15 percent.

It also comes amid revelations that some of the world’s largest investment banks paid no corporation tax in the UK in 2014, despite making billions in profits.

The findings are sure to raise more skepticism of the UK government’s commitment to significant tax reform amid criticism the Conservative Party are soft on tax dodgers.

The opposition Labour party has turned up the heat on the government over the matter, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell publishing his tax returns and challenging Mr Osborne to do the same.

In reaction to the revelations, a spokesman for Mr Osborne said: “All of the Chancellor’s interests are declared properly and in accordance with the rules.”

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

The Islamic Extremists Taking Over UK Prisons: Muslims Make Up Just One in 20 Britons — But One in Seven Inmates

As Levi Bellfield embraces Islam, we reveal how fanatics recruit behind bars in ‘jihadi jails’

In recent years, the number of Muslim prisoners has increased dramatically. Ministry of Justice figures show a rise from 6,571 in 2004 to 12,255 a decade later, meaning that Muslims now account for almost 15 per cent of all inmates.

In high security jails, the figure is higher still — one in five; while in one Category A establishment, almost half are Muslims.

Taken on its own, the disproportionate numbers of Muslims being jailed is in itself cause for concern (Muslims comprise roughly 5 per cent of the population of England and Wales).

But what is particularly worrying the authorities is the potential it offers for radicalisation.

As the number of Islamist extremists locked up for terror offences increases, so they are finding fertile ground among fellow prisoners. Indeed, it is claimed that some are deliberately getting custodial sentences so that they can target this pool of disaffected young men.

In turn, there is growing evidence of the spread within prisons of Muslim gangs who wield so much power that other prisoners feel coerced into converting or doing as they bid in other ways.

‘If our prisons are going to be filled with more terrorism offenders, then I think they will also get even more full with radicalised individuals,’ warns Jonathan Russell, head of policy at counter-extremism think tank Quilliam.

‘There is a significant danger that our prisons will become net exporters of extremism, when, surely, if we are arresting terrorists, they should be net reducers.

‘And if we don’t get it right, the very real danger is that when people come out they will be further radicalised and further hardened to commit violence.’

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Five Palestinians Killed ‘After Attacking Israelis’

Five Palestinians, three of them teenagers, have been shot dead after trying to attack Israeli security forces, Israeli officials say.

Another Palestinian, a teenage girl, was critically wounded in another attempted assault, police said.

No Israelis were hurt in any of the incidents.

They were the latest in a wave of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.[…]

[The Israeli security forces should allow themselves to be killed before shooting back in self-defense]

           — Hat tip: MC [Return to headlines]

Former Premier Ehud Olmert Entered Prison

To serve 19-month corruption sentence

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, FEBRUARY 15 — Israeli Former prime minister Ehud Olmert arrived at the Maasiyahu jail in Ramle, in the centre of the country, where he will serve a 19 month-long sentence for corruption, this morning.

In a message released before he reached the prison, he said he is not guilty and that he wishes to be remembered for what he has done for the country.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Palestinians Conducted 228 Attacks Against Israelis Since October

At least 228 attacks have been conducted by Palestinians against Israelis since the start of the current wave of violence in October 2015, the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the agency’s statistics report, 74 percent of the attacks were carried out in the West Bank, 16 percent in Jerusalem and the remaining 10 percent within the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank.

The report reveals that 71 percent of the attacks were conducted by Palestinians of up to 25 years old, while 37 percent of the attacks were conducted by terrorists aged between 16 and 20 years old.

The Israeli Security Agency informs that nearly 200 attacks were carried out by men.

The current wave of violence has already left several hundred people dead. Most of the victims are Palestinians who have been killed during knife, firearm and car attacks on Israelis. A total of 31 Israelis and one US citizen are estimated to have been killed in clashes with Palestinians since October 2015.

Palestinians seek recognition of their independent state, proclaimed in 1988, on the territories of West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine were seized by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent state. Israel has continued to build settlements in the occupied territories, prompting condemnation from the United Nations.

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

Foreign Ministry: Ankara Condemns US Appeal to Stop Shelling Kurds in Syria

Turkey strongly condemned US call to stop Ankara’s shelling the Kurdish militia in Syria, as the latter are seen as terrorist by Ankara, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said on Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces should move to deescalate tensions in northern Syria, claiming that Ankara and the Kurdish militia both face a serious threat from Daesh, encouraging them to focus on anti-Daesh efforts.

“We took with bewilderment the US attempt to put Turkey on par with a terrorist organization. Turkey’s actions are aimed at the fight against terrorism, Turkey strongly condemns statements by Kirby, our strong protest has been brought to the attention of the US authorities,” Bilgic told a press briefing.

On Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkish forces had shelled Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) positions in northern Syria as a retaliatory measure within rules of engagement. The attacks continued on Sunday.

The Kurds comprise ancient tribal groups, which are currently living in parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. In Turkey, Kurds represent the largest ethnic minority, and are striving to create their own independent state, which is not welcomed by Ankara.

YPG is the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Ankara considers the group to be an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is deemed a terrorist organization by Ankara.

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

Freed Yazidi Sex Slave Relives Being Raped and Tortured for Three Months After ISIS Massacred Her Mother and Six Brothers

An ISIS sex slave survivor who was forced to watch her family be brutally murdered by jihadists before being taken into captivity has called for humanity to ‘unite’ against the terrorists.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha, 21, was orphaned when ISIS extremists slaughtered six of her brothers as well as her mother in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar in August 2014.

She was among more than 5,000 Yazidi women taken captive when extremists swept through the town and was held in a building in the ISIS stronghold of Mosul where she was raped and tortured.

She managed to escape the clutches of the jihadists three months later and now lives in Germany, where she works closed with the United Nations (UN) to tell of her experiences.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Iran Remains Off Limits to US Banks

Iran remains essentially off limits to US banks, despite the lifting of some US sanctions following the landmark Iranian nuclear deal.

The Obama administration in mid-January eased several restrictions on doing business with Iran, including former “secondary” sanctions that had threatened to penalize companies outside the US for their business with Iran, as well as some restrictions on Americans seeking to make inroads in the oil-rich country.

Nevertheless, most “primary” sanctions tied to accusations that Tehran supports terrorism remain in effect, blocking US businesses from joining a rush by non-US companies to cash in on Iran’s potential revival…

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

ISIS Executioner ‘Is Beheaded by SAS Sniper’s Special Bullet as He Demonstrated How to Decapitate Prisoners’

A SAS sniper has beheaded an ISIS executioner with a single shot while the militant was teaching jihadis how to decapitate prisoners, it has been reported.

Some 20 Islamic fighters were taking part in the executioner’s outdoor lesson when he was killed by the elite British soldier — hiding 4,000ft away and using specially-designed ‘wounding’ bullets.

A witness said the entire group of student jihadis then fled, deserting their cause after the ill fated training session at a small village in northern Syria.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Kurds Cross Erdogan’s “Red Lines” In Syria With Russian Air Support

The Munich Communique reached by 20 countries last week imposed a cessation of hostilities by the opposing forces in the Syrian civil war with its mounting death toll. It has been breached by Erdogan, Russian backed Assad regime forces and their allies, Iran and proxy Hezbollah. The latter have successfully blocked Syrian opposition forces in both Latakia and Aleppo provinces. There are enough holes in the Agreement to permit freedom of action by Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

This weekend brought news concerning Turkey’s cross border shelling of Syrian Kurdish YPG/PYD forces with Russian air support violating Erdogan’s “red line” crossing the Euphrates and seizing another strategic air field. This occurred despite Obama’s Special Middle East envoy in the war against the Islamic State (IS), Brett Mc Gurk, meeting with Syrian Kurdish YPG/PYD forces in Syria and Vice President Biden’s meeting with Erdogan and Premier Davutoglu in Ankara last week. Erdogan considers the YPG/PYD forces as an extension of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) that Turkey, the EU and US consider as a ‘terrorist group”. This despite his breaking a cease fire agreement with PKK head Abdullah Ocalan under house arrest. Erdogan’s security forces have a real battle on their hands in predominately Kurdish Southeastern Turkey trying to subdue stubborn urban resistance, a change from the 30 year war with Turkey’s Kurds. The advent of a Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the HDP, in the Ankara parliament, that Erdogan has endeavored to isolate but failed to vanquish. is a reflection of the growing Kurdish minority flexing its political strength.

These developments in both Syria and Turkey underline the Administration’s virtual abdication of the countervailing power vacuum in the Middle East that Putin has seized possibly bolstering the regional Kurdish aspirations for a long sought independent resource rich state. This might be viewed as further pushback against the Islamist AKP regime of Turkey’s Erdogan. All of these developments arose following Turkey’s shoot down of a Russian SU -24 bomber in October 2015 and dramatic break off in relations and joint economic projects between Russia and Turkey. Now, there are rumblings from Russian Prime Minister Medvedev in an interview indicated that the rising conflict with Turkey might possibly lead to “new Cold War era.” Frederica Mogherini, EU Foreign Relations Commissioner downplayed that saying she had seen any evidence of that in the last few days. Meanwhile both Poland and the Baltic States aren’t so sanguine. Turkey is a NATO member which can invoke an Article in the Charter of the mutual defense group requiring all members to come to its aid should there be an alleged attack by Russia…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

Study: Drug Use Among Saudi Teenagers Skyrockets

JAFFA, Israel — A new study has shown a sharp increase in drug use among Saudi teenagers, with one in three middle school students and one in four girls of the same age group saying they have used drugs.

The figures, released by Saudi Arabia’s Young People Research Institute, show a clear rise in drug use in every region in the kingdom.

Headmasters told the Al Madina newspaper that schools across the country have stepped up efforts to raise awareness and educate students, but as one headmaster said, “the war on drugs, especially at this problematic age, requires the education system, schools, families, and the authorities to join in the effort.”

The chairman of the Saudi anti-drug authority estimated that the numbers mostly apply to captagon, a stimulant that has gained popularity among students as a cognitive performance enhancer, allegedly helping them do better in school.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Syria: Vicar of Aleppo: “Moderate” Front No Better Than Jihadists, Bombing Civilians and Not Seeking Peace

Msgr. Georges Abou Khazen says civilians in the city are “under continuous bombardment”. In Christian neighborhoods at least four deaths and more than 15 injured. Houses and buildings damaged. Behind the violence are the so-called “moderate opposition groups”. Ankara bombing Kurdish positions in Syria and presses (with Riyadh) for ground troops.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) — “We have been under continuous bombardment over the past few days in Aleppo with civilian deaths, injuries and destruction.” Last night “in our neighborhoods we had four dead and over 15 injured, in addition to homes and buildings damaged. And these attacks are being carried out by the so-called “moderate opposition groups”.

This is the desperate appeal launched by the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo of the Latins, Mons. Georges Abou Khazen, who in a message sent to AsiaNews points his finger at the front defended — and supported — by the West, along with Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

“These bombings — says the prelate — are from the front of the so-called ‘moderates’, and as such defended, protected and reinforced. In reality are no different from other jihadists [Islamic State (IS) and the Nusra Front] except in name only. “

Meanwhile, fighting around the second most important city of Syria, in the north of the country, has intensified. Since 2012 the city has been divided in two, with the western part under the control of Damascus and the eastern sector under the rebels. The government has condemned the military activities undertaken by Turkey at the weekend against Kurdish guerrillas; which they say is a violation of national sovereignty.

In an official letter sent to the UN Secretary General and the President of the Security Council, Damascus has demanded action against Turkey, which it accuses of supporting “terrorists linked to al Qaeda.” Ankara yesterday also launched a massive bombing campaign against Kurdish positions in northern province and reportedly allowed entry through its border to hundreds of fighters considered “Turkish soldiers” or “mercenaries.”

The Turkish government considers the militias of the Kurdish Syrian YPG (People’s Security Unit) allies of the outlawed PKK movement (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), that aim to create an independent state which would also occupy part of the Turkish territory, in the south-east of the country. This is why it has begun to bomb stations in Syria and also in Iraq, as recently reported to AsiaNews by a Chaldean bishop.

The Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo, who in recent days had already reported that “foreign terrorists” and not the Syrians to want to continue the conflict, said that “foreign jihadists have been given the green light to intensify the bombing of civilians.”

The prelate believes this escalation masks the desire to “derail the peace negotiations” by “regional forces — for weeks Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been pressing for the sending of ground troops”. “Behind this strategy — questions the prelate — is there the desire to prevent the regular army to advance and liberate the region from terrorism and the jihadists?”.

Msgr. Georges Abou Khazen appeals “for an ends to these bombings” and encourages both sides to “sit at the negotiating table,” so that Syrians “can solve these problems through dialogue among themselves”.

The war in Syria flared up in March 2011 as a popular protest against President Bashar al-Assad and turned into widespread conflict with extremist tendencies and Islamic Jihad, so far claiming over 260 thousand lives. It sparked one of the most serious humanitarian crisis in history, forcing 4.6 million Syrians to seek shelter abroad, especially in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Hundreds of thousands have tried to reach Europe, at times at the cost of their lives crossing the Mediterranean. The total number of displaced persons is around 13.5 million. (DS)


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

The Neoconservatives Are Brewing a Wider War in Syria

Any person who relies on Western media has no accurate idea of what is happening in Syria

The Islamic State that Washington is trying to create in Syria would provide Washington with a means of destabilizing Iran and Russia by exporting jihadism into those countries. The Russian Federation has Muslim populations as do former provinces of the Soviet Union that now cooperate with Russia. By bogging down Russia in internal conflicts, Washington can move Russia out of the way of Washington¿s exercise of hegemony. Similarly, non-Persian populations in Iran could be radicalized by jihadism and used to destabilize Iran.

In order to protect themselves, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah have come to the support of Syria. The Russians are there legally at the invitation of the Syrian government. The US is there illegally.

Russian air power in support of the Syrian Army has turned the tide against the Islamist State. The invaders are being driven out. The neoconservatives cannot accept this defeat.

Washington is preparing a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the purpose of which is to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the eastern part with the oil fields.

Possibly this is a bluff to get Russia to accept a Syrian settlement less favorable to Russian, Iranian, and Syrian interests. However, the Russian government cannot risk that it is only a bluff. If a US/Turkish/Saudi force were to arrive first in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, Syria would be dismembered.

The Russians can get there first by dropping in paratroopers. In other words, what the insane neoconservatives are doing is giving the Russian government a big incentive to introduce Russian ground troops into the conflict. Once those troops are there, you can safely bet that the insane neoconservatives will cause conflict between them and US/Turkish forces. A wider war will have begun from which neither side can back down.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Turkish Islamist: Darwin Was a Jew Who Targeted Muslims; Gorillas Are Mutated Jews

TEL AVIV — A column in the radical Islamist Turkish daily Vahdet claimed that the evolutionary theory of “the Jew” Darwin contradicts Allah’s word in the Koran and that in actual fact, monkeys evolved from perverted Jews whom Allah cursed and punished, MEMRI reported.

The article, written by Seyfi Sahin, a journalist who supports the ruling Islamist AKP party and claims to be a physician, argues that Jews “terrorize the world of science” and, as a Jew, Darwin concocted his theory of evolution in order to turn Muslims away from their religion.

“The aim of [Darwin’s] theory is to turn the non-Jews away from their religion, to harm their faith, and to make them suspicious about their religion. Darwin, being a Jew, believed, lived, and was buried according to his religion. His real targets were the Muslims,” writes Sahin.

Sahin explains that the chromosomal anomalies between monkeys and humans prove “that humans are not derived from monkeys, but that monkeys come from humans. There are many factors in the creation of such anomalies, among them divine, environmental, and chemical.”

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

World War 3 Could Start This Month: 350,000 Soldiers in Saudi Arabia Stand Ready to Invade Syria

If you were going to gather forces for an invasion, this is precisely how you would do it

350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called ¿Northern Thunder¿.

According to the official announcement, forces are being contributed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and several other nations. This exercise will reportedly last for 18 days, and during that time the airspace over northern Saudi Arabia will be closed to air traffic. This will be the largest military exercise in the history of the region, and it comes amid rumors that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are preparing for a massive ground invasion of Syria.

If you were going to gather forces for an invasion, this is precisely how you would do it. Governments never come out and publicly admit that forces are moving into position for an invasion ahead of time, so ¿military exercises ¿ are a common excuse that gets used for this sort of thing.

If these exercises are actually being used as an excuse to mass forces near the northern Saudi border, then we should expect an invasion to begin within the next couple of weeks. If it happens, we should expect to see the Saudi coalition storm through western Iraq and into Syria from the south, and it is likely that Turkey will come in from the north.

The goal would be to take out the Assad regime before Russia, Iran and Hezbollah could react. For the past couple of years, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allieshave been funding the Sunni insurgency in Syria, and they were counting on those insurgents to be able to take down the Assad regime by themselves.

You see, the truth is that ISIS was never supposed to lose in Syria. Saudi Arabia and her allies have been funneling massive amounts of money to ISIS, andhundreds of millions of dollars of ISIS oil has been shipped into Turkey where it is sold to the rest of the world.

The major Sunni nations wanted ISIS and the other Sunni insurgent groups to take down Assad. In the aftermath, Saudi Arabia and her allies intended to transform Syria into a full-blown Sunni nation.

But then Russia, Iran and Hezbollah stepped forward to assist the Assad regime. Russian air support completely turned the tide of the war, and now the Sunni insurgents are on the brink of losing…

We could literally be looking at the spark that sets off World War 3. I can¿t believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are actually considering this.

And if it does happen, you can rest assured that Barack Obama gave them the green light to go in.

[Comment: The same kind of unofficial greeen light was given to Saddam when he invaded Kuwait. Saudis should realize they are being played. ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

EU Ends Nearly All Belarus Sanctions: Source

The European Union on Monday lifted nearly all its sanctions on Belarus, including against strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, after improvements in the country’s human rights record, an EU source said.

The bloc in October suspended its asset freezes and travel ban sanctions against 170 individuals and three entities in Belarus, and foreign ministers and has now decided to make that decision permanent, the source said.

Four people not included in the October suspension because of their involvement in “unresolved disappearances” will remain blacklisted and a longstanding arms embargo will also stay in place for another 12 months…

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

Latvian Regulator Demands Riga Mayor Explain Use of Russian on Facebook

Latvian language regulator called on Mayor of Riga to explain the use of the Russian language on the Riga City Council’s official Facebook page.

RIGA (Sputnik) — The Latvian State Language Center (Valsts valodas centrs in Latvian) called on Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs to explain the use of the Russian language on the Riga City Council’s official Facebook page, Usakovs said Monday.

“Our state language center is showing off again. This time they have demanded that I explain why Riga City Council speaks with the inhabitants of Riga on Facebook in the Russian language among others,” Usakovs wrote on his Facebook account.

He added that Latvian legislation does not regulate the communications of governmental and non-governmental organizations on foreign social networks.

Usakovs said that he had called on the Latvian Justice Ministry to investigate the “unprofessional” activities of the state language center.

Russians in Latvia make up 26 percent of the country’s population, according to national statistics. Some 40 percent of those living in Latvia speak Russian. Latvia’s only official language is Latvian.

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

‘Truck War’ Between Moscow and Kiev, Traffic Was Stopped

Kiev government blocks Russian trucks

(ANSA) — MOSCOW — Ukraine’s government has stopped the Russian trucks crossing the country, Tass and Unian news agencies reported. Yesterday, Russia’s Transport Ministry blocked the traffic of trucks with Ukrainian license plate in Russia.

According to the Federal Service for Transport Oversight (Rostransnadzor), 152 Ukrainian trucks were stopped in Russia this morning.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Merkel Isolated as EU Partners Slam Door on Refugees

Abandoned by France, defied by eastern Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cuts a lonely figure in her struggle for EU “solidarity” on the refugee crisis ahead of a Brussels summit.

Merkel is battling for a deal that will see refugees more evenly spread around the European Union after Germany welcomed 1.1 million asylum seekers last year.

But instead, eastern European countries are planning new razor wire fences, and even Paris — traditionally Berlin’s closest EU ally — has shown little enthusiasm for Merkel’s welcome policy…

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

Orban: Athens Failed: Fence Along Greek Border is Necessary

Hungary’s premier wants plan B, barrier in Macedonia-Bulgaria

(ANSA) — BUDAPEST — “Greece has failed to protect Schengen borders from mass immigration, and the countries of the Visegrad Group should implement a plan B, building a fence on the southern border of Bulgaria and Macedonia”, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in his speeech to parliament, outlining the results of the V4 summit a few hours ahead of the meeting in Prague, which will be attended by the same countries.

“If Athens is not ready or not able to protect the Schengen area, we need another line of defence in Macedonia and Bulgaria”, he stated.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkish PM Threatens Germany With ‘Hundreds of Thousands of New Refugees’

Turkey wants to continue its attacks against the Kurds in Syria; in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkey’s Prime Minister warned of a “new wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees” if Kurdish fighters start an offensive.

Despite international appeals, Turkey will continue its attacks on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) wrote.

This was announced by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), as his office announced on Sunday.

According to Davutoglu, Turkey wants to prevent aggression on the side of Kurdish fighters. He also warned Merkel of a “new wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees” from Syria if Kurdish fighters start an offensive.

“Our security forces have given the necessary response and will continue to do so,” Davutoglu told Merkel.

The Erdogan government is the last hope for Merkel to solve the refugee crisis, and therefore she has to silently watch his uncontrollable behavior, the newspaper wrote.

The US and France have called on Turkey to stop the attacks on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, but so far without any positive results.

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

8 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/15/2016

  1. “In other news, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán says that Greece has failed in its duty to intercept migrants arriving in the Schengen area”

    Mr Orban, who is reasonable and honorable, did not use his full logic this time: Doesn’t he know that Greece and Lampedusa, Italy are not the real problem. The real problem is the blind interference of the western countries in Libya, Iraq, Syria, . . . etc. and bombing them and then talking about human rights.

    The only effective solution would be to stop bombing the people, let Assad destroy his enemies and everyone’s enemies. But then western powers will have no theme to talk about their “superior ideals and pious crappy preaching morals to Assad and Gaddafi”.

    What can Greece do? If they deport one muslim, the whole of Europe will condemn and whip Greece for being heartless Christians who hate innocent muslim. Nothing makes Turkey happy as seeing Greece trampled on by the rest of Europe, who are always ready to do that for the sake of Turkey, their Alpha Male.

    Simply said when “leaders” are so crappily confused catastrophic crises follow inevitably.

    • The Greeks could have multiple reasons not to help to control the refugees:
      We know they practically owned by the Germans based on their debt and they maybe using the refugees as a weapon to blackmail better conditions from their creditors.
      Maybe they got a secret agreement with Angela Merkel to LET refugees into the EU and in exchange their debt will disappear or magically decrease.
      Either way they are not lifting a finger to stop the invasion. (I am talking about government officials, I am sure the average Greek citizen has a very different opinion). So what small countries like Hungary can do? Band together and find the closest border to Greece they could defend with the others. Simply that is what happening now.

  2. First, Tommy Robinson will be OK ! !

    by LIAM DEACON15 Feb 20161,961
    Tommy Robinson, an organiser behind the anti-Islamisation group PEGIDA UK, has been found unconscious after a night out with his family. He is said to have sustained head injuries, and is now recovering in hospital.

    “Tommy attacked – for those of you asking how he is, he is okay”, his personal assistant Helen Lel Gower revealed on Facebook yesterday. The attack is thought to have occurred on Saturday night.

    “He was on a night out with his wife and was found unconscious”, wrote Mrs. Gower. Adding: “They have been at the hospital all night and he has had his head glued up, yet again!”

    “Had an xray and CT scan as well and is [sic] suffering from concussion. He is asleep at the moment but I’m sure he will be on later today.”

    Some how in Britain, in the inner workings of EDL or now PERGIDA, there needs to a be a security detail set up, that can run at a minimum 4 security teams, with burly men that Tommy can trust, and be vetted, on a rotational basis.
    This if set up now, is better than nothing, and if already under way, the police will have to acknowledge. If later the police provide security, it may also keep on, so that the police are being witnessed at all times as well.
    After all, would you trust the police?

    It is a strain that he lives with, as how do you sleep? Always a concern that a pack of jihadis may break into the house, after you have put your kids to bed and behead the whole family.
    That strain has been going on day in day out.
    Just to know that there are a couple of loyal guys, parked outside in a car, or just being at the front and back door, with some reasonable security handimen skills doing a shift, with thought out plans on what to do on the “what if ?”.
    This is urgently needed, and a pity that I am so far away.
    The more loyal volunteers the better, as it is easier spread for the days and nights, and to cover all hours.

    Trust all that need this security, being at the front line, with this stress, can find a break, time off to relax, refresh as well.

    Just found another link, and Tommy is having further followup checking out.
    Plus a bit more back ground, and seems more like a nightclub out in the street scrap.
    Huffington Post is very similiar, and includes the tweet,


    • Tommy Robinson @TRobinsonNewEra 2hr
      @JessieAnn1924 security costs money

      Yes expensive for official security, but can volunteers, from PEGIDA, trained and wised up, to stay with in the law, on what they can and can not do, have a roster. Even just to blow a loud whistle alert, to warn, and gather others, plus with video cams, cell phones etc.,etc.
      Just so he knows that some one watchful is there, so he can get a good nights sleep at his home

      Tommy Robinson @TRobinsonNewEra 3hr
      Anyone who needs a 3 day sleep go Essex, club 195 ?? I’ve only just woke up Thanks for all the messages of support.Heads sore but on mend✌?️

  3. With due respect to Mr. Orban, it is hardly a failure of Athens that is the cause of the invasion of Europe.

    Even after a million plus invaders made it into Germany and elsewhere, no one in Germany thought to patrol the waters between Lesbos and Turkey? The Greeks would have been crucified by Merkel had they interfered with the invasion flow.

    The Italian navy acted like a Mediterranean uber service for invaders heading for Lampedusa. No condemnation for them? No condemnation for the European governments, with over 3,500,000 active and reserve military, who failed to close a 175-mile land border with Turkey?

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