Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/13/2016

The German EU-skeptical party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) did serious damage to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition in today’s regional elections in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saxony-Anhalt. The party will have seats in all three state parliaments, and did especially well in Saxony, which is in the former communist East.

In other news, the Egyptian minister of justice was fired after he remarked on a TV show that he would arrest Mohammed himself if Mr. PBUH broke the law. The minister immediately corrected himself and apologized, but that was not enough to save his job.

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

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, 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 Central Bank Reassures World That Growth Targets Reachable
» A Political Party Gone Berserk
» Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary’s Emails
» Federal Judge Admits Existence of NSA’s PRISM Program
» George Soros and Staged Chicago Violence
» Leader of Tea Party Patriots Attack Trump at CPAC
» Man Accused of Jamming Calls on Red Line ‘Disturbed by People Talking Around Him’
» Nonwhites Attack at Trump Rally
» Protester Who Stormed Stage at Trump Dayton Rally Threatened Murder — Wanted to be ‘Martyr’
» RNC vs Trump, Why No Jobs, Why Muslims Hate America, Federal Reserve Problems
» Ted Cruz Joins Soros Group in Trump Attack
» Trump vs. Soros: Battle of the Billionaires
» Trump Attacker in Dayton Identified as 32yo Thomas Dimassimo, Posted Ominous Tweet Hours Before Rally, Supports Bernie & BLM
» World’s Largest Cruise Ship is So Vast That Guests Will Have to Use GPS to Find Rooms
» 4 Men Shot at a Muslim Cemetery in Canada Near Cochrane
Europe and the EU
» A Return to Bush-Era Foreign Policy — Prez Candidate Kasich Regrets Turkey Not Being in the European Union
» AfD Success Smashes Right-Wing Populism Taboo in Germany
» ‘Candour Needed on Pilots’ Mental Health’: Crash Probe
» Ex-Bank of England Chief: Euro is ‘Disaster Zone Dominated by Germans’
» Extra Tunisian Olive Oil ‘Threatens 1 in 3 Italian Firms’
» Forbidden Fruit is Sweet: Why European Women Seek Marriage With Islamists
» French Teenage Girls Charged Over ‘Concert Terror Plot’
» Germany: 6,000 Patriots March in Berlin
» Hollande Loyalist Ayrault Ushers in No-Frills French Foreign Policy
» Italian Banks More Taxed Than Rivals — BoI
» Merkel Faces Regional Election Setback After Nationalist Surge
» No, Stephen Hawking, Science Doesn’t Need Any Help From the European Union
» Obama ‘Due in Britain in April’ To Make Pro-EU Case
» Poland: Uber’s Third Biggest Market in Europe
» Rita Bosaho: Spain’s First Black Lawmaker
» Romania Sends 200 Tons of Sugar to Help Moldova
» Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon Reveals the SNP Will Push for Another Independence Referendum
» UK: Kent Cycle Path Booby Trapped With Barbed Wire Strung at Neck Height
» UK: Male Domestic Violence Victims Can’t Get Help Even When Their Lives Are at Risk
North Africa
» Egyptian Minister Sacked for Pledge to Jail Prophet Muhammad
» Moroccans to Rally in Protest at UN Chief’s ‘Biased’ Western Sahara Remarks
» Outrage in Egypt Over Justice Minister’s Prophet Remark
Israel and the Palestinians
» Knife-Wielding Attackers Should be Killed: Israel Chief Rabbi
» More on the Late Taylor Force, USMA ‘09
» The Impoverishment of Palestinians Under the Futile Two-State “Solution”
Middle East
» 34 Dead, 125 Wounded in Turkey Explosion
» IS Threatens Lebanese Christians, Hezbollah, As Arab League Declares the Latter a “Terrorist” Group
» Lebanon Announces Plan to End Seven-Month Rubbish Crisis
» Syria: To Her Abductors Who Wanted to Convert Her, “I Made the Sign of the Cross, “ Says Ex IS Prisoner
» Trafficked Nepali, Bangladeshi Women Trapped in Syria
» US Army Pound ISIS With Vietnam War Era Planes
South Asia
» Australian Journalists Detained in Malaysia for Trying to Question PM
» Colombo Gives China Green Light to Build Port City
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Al Qaeda Affiliate Claims Ivory Coast Beach Resort Attack
» SA: “Whites Stole Aircraft”
Latin America
» Scandal Taints Brazil’s Working-Class Hero Lula
» ‘Denmark is a Haven for Islamists’: Syrian Origin Politician
» EU: Migrant Crisis at Climax in Greece, Time to Deliver
» Madrid Parliament Rejects EU-Turkey Accord
» Merkel Blamed as Populists Surge Across Germany
» Protesters Block Migrant Routes to Calais, Demand End to ‘Invasion in Europe’
» Respected Think-Tank: Border Fences Much Cheaper Than Mass Migration
» Riot Migrants Claim They Didn’t Understand German Norms, Were Just Following Afghan Law
» UK: Hammond: Let’s Create a Schengen Visa and Open Our Borders. PM: I’ll Fire Anybody Who Leaks That
» Vilnius to Provide $5.8 Mln to Ankara Under EU-Turkey Migration Plan

China’s Central Bank Reassures World That Growth Targets Reachable

Governor Zhou Xiaochuan pledges not to use “exchange rates or other monetary policies to stimulate exports”, nor resort to massive capital injections.

Beijing (AsiaNews) — Despite its economic situation, China will maintain its level of growth without resorting to big stimulus measures, said Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBC), the country’s central bank, at a press conference this morning, on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress currently underway in the Chinese capital.

After missing its 6.9 per cent target last year, Beijing has set an economic growth target range of 6.5 to 7 per cent for the next five years amid great difficulties.

In addition to the global crisis, domestic demand is down, exports have plunged, manufacturing suffers from overproduction, and the stock exchange has endured wild fluctuations.

Yet, Zhou believes that growth targets will be met without using “exchange rates or other monetary policies to stimulate exports”, or making use of massive capital injections, as in 2009-2010. At the same time, he added, “if there were international or domestic upheavals, we will show flexibility.”

Since 2014, China has intervened on the exchange rate six times and reduced banks’ reserve requirement ratios several times to encourage lending. In 2009-2010, it injected 4 trillion yuan to promote growth; however, this ended up fostering corruption and speculation.

Zhou also tried to downplay concerns over China’s massive capital flight. Some economists estimate the loss at one trillion dollars last year. For the PBC governor, this “cyclical” phenomenon has been going on “for years”.

Likewise, he note that he was not concerned about the drop in foreign currency reserves, the world’s largest. Last month, they shed US$ 28.6 billion to stand at US$ 3.2 trillion. They had dipped by about US$ 100 billion in both December and January.

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

A Political Party Gone Berserk

The Republican Party is in the process of self destruction, given the continuing and seemingly enduring dim-wittedness of the collection of present and past so-called conservative Republicans that have, and are, exhibiting a complete diminishing and passing out of sight of any semblance of honorable integrity. The disappearance of these numbskulls from the political scene would be a blessing and in the very best interest of the nation as a whole.

These halfwits most certainly contribute nothing of value in regard to the best interests of the people. A people that have, I might add, already lost any respect or regard for the arrogant imbeciles that make up this simple-minded collective, and I need not name names as the people have had ample demonstrations of those responsible for this goofy flight from common sense and reality.

It is readily apparent to any who have been witnessing this mad flight from realism and good sense that these nattering jackasses are effectively diminishing any hope for success as affective representatives of the people. And the worst of the bunch seem to be those who bleat most loudly about their so-called conservative values. I do not know which values they address as I can discern no illusion or likeness of any quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable in regard to the people of this nation or its people.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary’s Emails

Critics have long questioned why violent intervention was necessary in Libya. Hillary Clinton’s recently published emails confirm that it was less about protecting the people from a dictator than about money, banking, and preventing African economic sovereignty.

The brief visit of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Libya in October 2011 was referred to by the media as a “victory lap.” “We came, we saw, he died!” she crowed in a CBS video interview on hearing of the capture and brutal murder of Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi…

Of the 3,000 emails released from Hillary Clinton’s private email server in late December 2015, about a third were from her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the attorney who defended her husband in the Monica Lewinsky case. One of these emails, dated April 2, 2011, reads in part:

Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver . . . . This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

In a “source comment,” the original declassified email adds:

According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,

Increase French influence in North Africa,

Improve his internal political situation in France,

Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world, Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa

Conspicuously absent is any mention of humanitarian concerns. The objectives are money, power and oil

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Federal Judge Admits Existence of NSA’s PRISM Program

A U.S. judge has just admitted the existence of the NSA’s infamous PRISM program by name, apparently the first time any federal judge has done so. PRISM has been an open secret since June 2013, when documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were first made public. An ominous NSA PowerPoint training slide claimed that PRISM allowed “collection [of user data] directly from the servers” of major American tech companies like Yahoo, Google, and Apple, though those tech companies immediately and fiercely protested that no, to their knowledge, they didn’t give the NSA such access. It’s since been generally accepted that the NSA wasn’t physically accessing those companies’ servers with PRISM, but instead creating a streamlined legal process to compel those companies, via orders processed in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to turn over users’ data.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

George Soros and Staged Chicago Violence

“If they bring a knife to the fight we bring a gun.” Click on that link and read the Wall Street Journal June 14, 2008 article for yourself. These words came from the mouth of Barrack Obama… the same Obama I saw on television this morning saying that Donald Trump’s heated rhetoric is the cause of the violence and it is unpresidential.

What’s causing the violence is anti-establishment candidate Donald Trump who is running for President.

What caused the violence in Chicago is the establishment which is doing its best to crush Trump.

You also need to remember that the group calling itself “Never Trump” are supporters of former President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush. It is a nasty, evil group of elitists who think they, not we the people, know what is best for our country.

Do you now understand why no anti-establishment candidates run for political office?

Do you understand why there is so much criminal and perverse behavior among elected officials? Many of those we elect to office are people the establishment can manipulate into voting to support the interests of the elite against the interests of the people. The establishment cannot stand the threat of a non-establishment candidate they can’t buy or bribe with pictures of vile behavior or threats to members of their families.

As I was writing an article to provide answers to the many questions I received via email this week, I watched the Fox News coverage of the Chicago violence. The first thing that told me I wasn’t going to get an accurate view of the news was when Megyn Kelly suggested there were as many as ten thousand protestors who might be facing ten thousand Trump Rally attendees inside the University of Chicago auditorium. A short time before that statement by Kelly, an on-sight news reporter was asked how many protestors there were and he said “several hundred perhaps…” It is now Saturday — and the number of people has increased to 30,000.

The camera pulled back to show a view from the air and if there were more than 500 protestors, I would be surprised. There were, however, 15,000 Trump supporters standing outside of the University of Chicago who could not get in… Trump had made arrangements for them to hear what was going on inside via special microphones. Fox News never corrected Kelly’s error…

Ask yourself some questions. Who shouted “We won!” when Trump decided to close the event down? The protestors did. That was their objective in the first place. They were not there to protest. They were there to stop a political candidate they don’t like from being able to talk with people who support him. They may have a constitutional right to protest. They do not have a constitutional right to disrupt or threaten physical violence towards those who had come to hear a political candidate — students at colleges and universities all over America seem to have a problem understanding that.

Welcome to socialism and the strategies used by both socialist Adolph Hitler and fascist Benito Mussolini. People tend to forget the Nazis were the national socialist party of Germany. Admitted socialist Bernie Sanders never mentions that.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leader of Tea Party Patriots Attack Trump at CPAC

Jenny Beth Martin, leader of the Tea Party Patriots (TPP) spoke at CPAC on Friday, March 4th, 2016. I listened to her 18 minute speech and was appalled at her lack of Constitutional knowledge, not to mention her support for a liberal Warren court decision, NYT’s v. Sullivan, which allows media and public figures to destroy the reputations of others with impunity…

Ms. Martin speaks of fearing for our Constitution, but the candidate she supports, Ted Cruz, wishes to open the Constitution via a Convention of States and destroy what the founders gave us. Her former partner, Mark Meckler, is also pushing a Constitutional Convention under the guise of a Convention of States. I have continually asked these people one question, and have never received an answer. “Where does it say in Article V that the states can call, open, or convene a Convention and bypass Congress?” It doesn’t! Obviously, lawyers Cruz and Rubio know this, but to pass the CFR’s North American Union (NAU) may well require another Constitutional Convention. Remember, Heidi Cruz, along with Ted’s friend, Henry Kissinger, were on CFR’s NAU Task Force.

As a matter of fact, while Meckler was still with TPP, he co-sponsored a conference on an Article V convention at Harvard with several pro-Convention leftists, including Obama associate, Lawrence Lessig. Absent were the people and groups against a Convention. [Link], [Link] They were never invited…

TPP was initially organized by pro-amnesty Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, and funded by the leftist Koch brothers’, Americans for Prosperity. There were originally three founders of TPP. Mark Meckler and Amy Kremler left for various reasons, and Martin retained control. Before Martin became a Tea Party star, she was scrubbing floors and cleaning houses for suburbanites after her husband’s business went bankrupt in 2007. Nothing wrong with physical labor and hard work, but she’s sure had a lifestyle change heading up TPP. In 2011, she was making $6 K a month at TPP. What was disturbing to many people within the TPP, was that she put her husband in charge of TPP’s finances, especially since they had huge IRS debts because of his bankruptcy.

Martin has done quite well for herself, TPP takes in millions of dollars every year. The majority of these donations are spent on “consultants.” Problem with this is, Jenny Beth is the consultant. She sets her fee at $15,000 per month. She also gets a salary, and as of 2012, she was paid more than $272,000. Nice work if you can get it. These two salaries allowed Martin to earn over $450,000 in 2015…

While the national TPP group is flush with cash, much of it raised through fundraising pitches that tell donors the money will be directed to grassroots activities. The smaller TP organizations around the country are struggling on shoestring budgets. TPP is not and never has been a grassroots organization. It is strongly affiliated with the GOP establishment and has been from its inception.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Man Accused of Jamming Calls on Red Line ‘Disturbed by People Talking Around Him’

Aaron Robison was commuting home from work last fall on the Brown Line when an older man carrying a plastic bag of Old Style beer took a seat across from him.

The man opened a beer and surveyed the car, scowling as he saw another rider talking on a cellphone a few feet away, Robison said. He watched as the man pulled a clunky black device topped with five antennas from his pocket and switched it on.

Almost instantly, commuters who had been talking on their phones went silent, checking their screens for the source of their dropped calls, Robison said.

On Tuesday, undercover officers arrested the man who had allegedly created his own personal quiet car in recent months with an illegal device he imported from China, according to Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Nonwhites Attack at Trump Rally

An alliance of nonwhites and supporters of the Jewish socialist Bernie Sanders yesterday violently halted a planned Donald Trump rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Even though the controlled media has tried to blame Trump for the violence, video coverage of the events clearly shows that the peaceful meeting was violently attacked by the largely nonwhite crowd, many of whom were waving Mexican flags.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Protester Who Stormed Stage at Trump Dayton Rally Threatened Murder — Wanted to be ‘Martyr’

UPDATE: The anti-Trump protester Thomas Dimassimo who jumped the security fence and stormed Donald Trump on stage today threatened murder.

Tom Dimassimo is a far-left Wright State student.

He’s a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Here’s Tommy dragging the US flag at a Black Lives Matter rally.

[Comment: Another idiot produced by the Communist indoctriation camps called universities. ]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

RNC vs Trump, Why No Jobs, Why Muslims Hate America, Federal Reserve Problems

I tend to get a lot of mail because I publish my email address after each article. Because of the election and questions that are not being answered by the mainstream media, my mail is filled with political questions (in addition to the usual about business and finance). Perhaps you might like to hear my answers to the most asked questions this past week.


           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ted Cruz Joins Soros Group in Trump Attack

Leftist anarchists sparked security fears in Chicago on Friday and shut down a rally that had drawn tens-of-thousands of Trump supporters.

Thousands of Donald Trump fans were stunned to hear that riots had succeeded in derailing the event at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The announcement came amid protests outside the venue.

Oh yes, George Soros’ anarchists, along with Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall street, F**k the Police, and typical Chicago-Style-Democrat-thug politics were responsible for the riot in Chicago where Trump was to speak. [Link] Many were carrying Mexican flags and wearing “Muslims Hate Trump,” t-shirts. This is the second stage of planning to derail Trump. Because Trump had to cancel the Chicago speech, these gangsters will try this again and again. Yes, it’s the 60s again, with commies fomenting hatred for freedom of speech from the only candidate who wants to return America to her founding principles. And of course, Obama’s buddy, Bill Ayers, was in the crowd demonstrating.

Born and raised in Chicago, I know the politics of this democratic held city only too well, and it very, very ugly.

Ted Cruz and the GOPe jumped into the fray of Soros Chicago politics and actually blamed Donald Trump for the protests. So, Ted Cruz blames Donald for not being politically correct and thus causing the protests and violence.

Diane Marshall of the Marshall Report writes this:

What if the Trump supporters decided to go ballistic and riot Cruz town halls because of Glenn Beck’s garbage mouth calling them ALL NAZIS and Trump Hitler! He can’t blame that all on Beck…he stood their nodding with that snaky grin approving all of the liar messages every time they were spoken, over and over and over again.

Cruz has lied over and over again about Trump, and even about Carson and Rubio. His supporters don’t seem to understand the deviousness of his campaign and continue to say it’s untrue, but we’ve documented his lies many, many times. Cruz has even accepted monies from David McIntosh, the president of Club for Growth.

Remember Club for Growth is pro-amnesty, and when they asked Trump for a million-dollar donation, Trump refused. So CfG spent $3.3 million in attack ads against Trump. Of course Ted Cruz has no problem accepting money from McIntosh, and why wouldn’t he, he’s for open borders. Heidi Cruz spent five years at the Council on Foreign Relations helping to write the North America Union, and that filthy sovereignty destroying piece of legislation eliminates the borders between Canada, Mexico and the United States. If Cruz becomes president, we will become just like the now failed, European Union.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Trump vs. Soros: Battle of the Billionaires

“The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.”- Gyorgy Schwartz AKA George Soros “The Age of Infallibility”

“Make America Great Again”-Donald Trump campaign slogan

The forces arrayed against the United States and freedom are beyond daunting- way beyond daunting. Among the forces promoting a leftist vision of “utopia” is the group “”-funded largely by billionaire George Soros. “” is purported to have been partially responsible for forcing the cancellation of a Trump rally last night in Chicago.

I wrote an article on Soros some years back, “Soros: Republic Enemy #1,” which became one of my more popular articles-I’ve even had people email my article to me (incorrectly attributed to Steve Kroft of “Sixty Minutes”) asking if I had ever read it (“Well yes, as a matter of fact I have”). If you are unfamiliar with Soros it is an informative read.

The main focus of this article, however, is not Soros or, but the ongoing attack on America’s 1st Amendment right to free speech by forces hostile to freedom.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Trump Attacker in Dayton Identified as 32yo Thomas Dimassimo, Posted Ominous Tweet Hours Before Rally, Supports Bernie & BLM

The man who allegedly tried to storm the stage during Donald Trump’s rally in Dayton, Ohio has been identified as 32-year-old Thomas Dimassimo.

Dimassimo’s YouTube channel features a video of himself leading a Black Lives Matter protest last year where he and others stood on an American flag “in solidarity” with BLM activist Eric Sheppard. Sheppard had drawn controversy after he was photographed walking on an American flag during a protest at Valdosta State University.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

World’s Largest Cruise Ship is So Vast That Guests Will Have to Use GPS to Find Rooms

At a quarter-of-a-mile long the Harmony Of The Seas is the largest cruise ship ever to set sail and is so vast it even houses a scaled down version of New York’s Central Park within its 18 decks.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

4 Men Shot at a Muslim Cemetery in Canada Near Cochrane

Sgt. Jack Poitras said the shooting happened near Cochrane and the injured people were being treated at Calgary hospitals. Police said there was a funeral at the cemetery.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

A Return to Bush-Era Foreign Policy — Prez Candidate Kasich Regrets Turkey Not Being in the European Union

One of the overlooked moments (and understandably so) of last night’s Republican candidate debate was the moment Gov. John Kasich told the audience that he would have liked to see Turkey joining the European Union (EU).

WATCH: Kasich thinks the EU should have let in Turkey. #TTT16 #GOPDebate

— (@mrctv) March 11, 2016

Gov. Kasich, who has the hardest “path to victory” for his party’s nomination, but perhaps the easiest path to a Vice Presidential pick said last night: “We’re going to have in some way or another rapprochement with Turkey. And I frankly think that the Europeans went in the wrong direction when they rejected Turkey from joining into the economic sphere of Europe”.

Let’s be clear: the “economic sphere of Europe” is the European Union. Gov. Kasich couldn’t have meant anything else, since European Economic Area (EEA) membership is now nothing but a precursor to EU membership, and since the Lisbon Treaty (the EU’s constitution) makes it incumbent on the union to “develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness”.

By the latter definition, Turkey is already in Europe’s “economic sphere”.

That’s the boring stuff over with. Let’s look at why Gov. Kasich is wrong in his comments about the EU “rejecting” Turkey (which they actually haven’t… in fact Turkish EU membership negotiations are ongoing and closer to fruition than ever):


Far from being a country with “European values” at its core (let’s avoid the spurious catch-all term for a minute and take the EU’s word for what it stands for), Turkey has slid into being an authoritarian, Islamist state which has almost nothing in common with other EU member states.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

AfD Success Smashes Right-Wing Populism Taboo in Germany

Traumatised by its Nazi past, post-war Germany has carefully relegated right-wing populist movements to the fringes of politics, but the anti-migrant AfD may have muscled its way in from the cold.

With discontent growing in Germany over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy, the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday captured seats in the regional parliaments of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt.

It garnered as many as close to one in four votes in Saxony-Anhalt while in the other two states, support reached between 12.5 and 15 percent, projections based on partial results showed.

Andreas Roedder, contemporary history professor at Mainz University, told AFP that due to the migrant crisis, “we are seeing a normalisation of right-wing populist movements in Germany just like elsewhere in Europe, even if here, it takes on a special form because we can’t ignore Germany’s past.”…

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

‘Candour Needed on Pilots’ Mental Health’: Crash Probe

The French probe into the Germanwings plane crashed into a mountainside by the co-pilot said Sunday “clearer rules” are required on when medical confidentiality can be lifted if pilots are found to have psychological issues.

“Clearer rules are needed to establish when it is necessary to lift medical confidentiality,” investigator Arnaud Desjardins said at the launch of the report.

The report found that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had been urged to attend psychiatric hospital just weeks before he crashed the plane in March last year, but his employer had not been informed.

The French probe into the crash of the plane deliberately flown into a mountain by the co-pilot also recommended more stringent medical checks for pilots in its conclusions published on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Ex-Bank of England Chief: Euro is ‘Disaster Zone Dominated by Germans’

The euro currency union has been a disaster that has led the German dominance of the European Union (EU), and is doomed to failure, the former head of the Bank of England has warned.

In an extraordinary attack on the Eurozone, Lord (Mervyn) King said the euro had weakened Europe politically and economically, and Germany’s rise to power on the continent had created “enormous tensions”.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, the former central banker said: “The attempt to create a monetary union has been damaging economically, and it has been damaging politically.

“There are no good ways out of it. It’s only a question of the least bad way.”

One of the most damaging consequences of the currency union, he added, was Germany’s rising power. To make it work, stronger Eurozone nations have had to bail out weaker ones such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Germany has been the biggest lender, but due to a political backlash from voters fed up with their taxes paying for other countries, has insisted on tough austerity measures.

“As a consequence of monetary union, Germany has become the dominant economic, and therefore political, power,” Lord King said.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Extra Tunisian Olive Oil ‘Threatens 1 in 3 Italian Firms’

‘Latest attack on our oil’ says health ministry

(ANSA) — Rome, March 11 — The import into the EU of an extra 35,000 tonnes of Tunisian olive oil a year duty-free threatens one in three Italian firms in the sector, farmers’ association Coldiretti said Friday.

The Italian health ministry called Thursday’s OK from the European Parliament “the latest attack on our oil”.

Anti-euro Northern League leader Matteo Salvini said “it was a criminal vote, I’m angry at the (ruling centre-left Democratic Party) PD, the government and the trade unions”.

In 2015 some 90,000 tonnes of olive oil came from Tunisia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Forbidden Fruit is Sweet: Why European Women Seek Marriage With Islamists

According to the latest statistics, women constitute 60% of all converts to Islam in Germany. Reports say that about one percent of them could be fanatical and prone to violence.

It could be surprising when a young successful European woman with a university degree and modern education decides to change her life and convert to Islam. She starts wearing the hijab, prays five a day, gives up her career and all in all lives a “good life” of a righteous Muslim.

The motives behind such decision could be different. Russian newspaper Kommersant listed some of them.

Reason 1: Anti-Islamic Sentiment in Western Countries

According to experts of the German Islamic Archive (ZIAD), the popularity of Islam in Germany sharply increased after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More than 1,000 people converted to Islam in 2005 while in 2006 the figure reached 4,000.

ZIAD experts provide quite a surprising explanation for this trend. They justify the tendency by the increasing hatred against Muslims and Islam amid the rise of terrorism.

“The higher the pressure of the society is, the more interesting becomes Islam,” ZIAD expert Gerhard Moldenhauer explained stressing that women are more vulnerable and more prone to the Islamic indoctrination.

There is even a direct link between the “fight against hijabs” in Germany and the number of conversions among women. However, it is impossible to predict who is a fanatic, and when and why one becomes a terrorist. Experts argue that the identity transformation process occurs in a different way and very much depends on the external influence.

Reason 2: Chaos of the Modern Society

According to Prof. Dr. Christine Schirrmacher, young female Germans convert to Islam in two cases: if they marry a Muslim or feel too uncomfortable in a chaotic, poorly structured modern society.

Islam gives them an unambiguous set of rules and norms of behavior. Many well-educated women, working in Germany in a bank or pharmacy, say that the hijab and Islam are important to them primarily as a protection against external threats. Whether these threats are real or invented by propagandists is another question.

Reason 3: Influence of the Internet, Social Networks

Another important factor in this context is the influence of the Internet and social media. Germany and other European countries are seriously concerned about the active and efficient use of the Internet and social networks by Daesh (Islamic State) and other terrorist groups.

Ads published by Daesh depict attractive young girls wearing black clothes and holding weapons, marching or driving luxury military cars.

“This could be more than romantic and attractive to young Western women,” Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, head of the Global Islam research center in Frankfurt wrote.

The problem is that women often don’t understand that behind the attractive pictures there is nothing else but propaganda.

“They don’t even think of the fact that this is all just a performance for the public. Women in Islamic State can’t participate in the fighting by definition. They can go to heaven only if they strictly follow the will of their husbands.”

Reason 4: Desire for Adventure

Women leaving their homeland and joining radical groups overseas represent mentally and socially diverse groups, Schroeter said.

“Many of them try to realize their desire for adventures with perseverance worthy of a better cause. There are also a lot of fanatics among them who are ready — at any price — to fight for the idea they were infected with. Some are inspired by the desire to participate in the fateful transformation of the world, and they are even ready to sacrifice their lives for this. However, being in Syria, they understand that nobody expects from them military exploits. They only need to bear the Islamic population and care for their husbands,” the expert explained.

Many indoctrinated women praise their lives with “soldiers of the Caliphate” in their blogs on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter and express their readiness to support their husbands “until the death do us part”. However, they don’t understand: what happens when a husband dies is beyond their idealistic hopes.

In best case, they will become the second, third or fourth wives and will live in conditions far from romantic. Often “wives” or “brides” end up in wounded in a hospital or are killed under questionable circumstances: while local women may eventually seek protection in their own families, foreigners are absolutely defenseless.

According to Schroeter, women make up about 11 percent of 800 German residents who left Germany and joined Daesh in the Middle East. In France this proportion is as twice as high. All in all, the percentage of women who went to Syria to wage jihad is higher than is generally assumed, the expert claimed. This is a dangerous trend that may reach new dimensions in the near future.

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

French Teenage Girls Charged Over ‘Concert Terror Plot’

Two teenage girls have been charged in France with allegedly plotting to assault a Paris concert venue just four months after the deadliest attack on French soil since World War II, legal sources said Saturday.

The girls, 15 and 17 years old, exchanged messages on Facebook in which they discussed an attack similar to those in November that targeted the Bataclan concert venue as well as bars, restaurants and a football stadium, police said.

The girls were arrested Wednesday and appeared before an anti-terror judge Friday on charges of criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist undertaking…

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

Germany: 6,000 Patriots March in Berlin

In a show of strength which has horrified leftists, more than six thousand German patriots today took part in a mass “Merkel must go” rally in Berlin right in front of the Chancellor’s offices.

The rally, organized by the Wir für Deutschland (“We for Germany”) movement, was one of the largest patriotic open air meetings in “red” Berlin’s recent history, and an indication of the growing resentment in that country.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Hollande Loyalist Ayrault Ushers in No-Frills French Foreign Policy

On February 11, 2016, Jean-Marc Ayrault, the biggest Germanophile among the French political class, succeeded Laurent Fabius as minister of foreign affairs. His arrival signals a change of tone on several thorny diplomatic issues.

A confidante of President François Hollande, Ayrault is seen as a seasoned and cool-headed leader. But his lack of diplomatic experience will likely be questioned as he juggles the volatile Syria, Libya and Iran dossiers.

Despite his lack of experience, Ayrault and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier already embody the ideal of the Franco-German special relationship. Last month when the French cabinet reshuffle was announced, Steinmeier congratulated, in French, his “dear” Ayrault…

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

Italian Banks More Taxed Than Rivals — BoI

In 2006-2014

(ANSA) — Rome, March 7 — Italian banks had a tax burden of about 40% in the 2006-2014 period, higher than that of Italy’s four major rivals who had rates between 28% and 37%, a Bank of Italy report said Friday. Government measures brought the tax burden down last year but they remained above those of Britain, France, Germany and Spain, the report said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Merkel Faces Regional Election Setback After Nationalist Surge

A nationalist party powered into three German state legislatures in elections Sunday held amid divisions over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal approach to the migrant crisis, according to projections.

Merkel’s conservatives trailed center-left rivals in two states they hoped to win.

The elections in the prosperous southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate and relatively poor Saxony-Anhalt in the ex-communist east were the first major political test since Germany registered around 1.1 million people as asylum-seekers last year…

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

No, Stephen Hawking, Science Doesn’t Need Any Help From the European Union

Stephen Hawking and 150 other distinguished scientists — all fellows of the Royal Society — have written a letter to the (London) Times saying that if Britain leaves the European Union it would be a “disaster for UK science.”

No it wouldn’t.

Only 3 per cent of science R & D funding in Britain comes from the European Union. And it’s not as though we should be grateful for this sop: not when you consider that Britain puts far more into the EU than it gets back in return. If we were out, we could decide for ourselves how much we want to spend on science — and on which projects — rather than having a bunch of incompetent foreigners decide for us.

When I say “a bunch of incompetent foreigners” I mean just that. Look at the example of the EU’s flagship GPS project in which 28 states have come together in peace and unity and utter pointlessness to spunk Euros 13 billion of taxpayers’ money on a satellite navigation programme that no one actually needs any more because there’s a perfectly good one available already.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Obama ‘Due in Britain in April’ To Make Pro-EU Case

US President Barack Obama will head to Britain next month and make the case for the UK to stay in the European Union, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

The visit will take place towards the end of April, around two months before the June 23 referendum in which Britain will decide whether to leave or stay in the 28-country bloc, The Independent on Sunday said.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street office refused to comment on the report, calling it “speculation”.

Obama is heading to Germany in late April to talk trade with Chancellor Angela Merkel and promote US exports at the Hanover fair, said to be the world’s largest for industrial technology, which takes place between April 25 and 29…

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

Poland: Uber’s Third Biggest Market in Europe

10,000 new users a month in Warsaw only

(ANSA) — WARSAW — Uber is witnessing a strong growth in Poland, where it has been operating since the summer of 2014.

Only in Warsaw, there has been a trend of 10,000 new users each month. “Poland is our third biggest market in Europe”, the app’s director for Poland, Kacper Winiarczyk, said in an interview for Polskie radio. The famous car-sharing app contested by taxi drivers across the planet, will soon be available in more Polish cities other than Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot and Poznan, where it is already active.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Rita Bosaho: Spain’s First Black Lawmaker

A nurse born in Equatorial Guinea is now a lawmaker in Spain. DW’s Lauren Frayer reports on how she is helping the western European country to nudge back the frontiers of diversity.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Romania Sends 200 Tons of Sugar to Help Moldova

Part of the 1,100 tons of help for the poorest

(ANSA) — TRIESTE, 11 MAR — Romania sent nine camions containing 200 tons of sugar to Moldova in order to help its poorest citizens. This is the first portion of the 1,100 tons of help Romania promised its neighbour in January. Other camions containing sugar, canned food and other items are expected over the next week. According to the World Bank data, nearly half of Moldovans live with less than five euros per day.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon Reveals the SNP Will Push for Another Independence Referendum

Scotland’s first minister spoke about her party’s plans at the SNP spring conference at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow today, despite losing the referendum in 2014.

[Comment: Communists use democratic structure to achieve power then implement communist policies. They keep trying until they get the answer they want.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Kent Cycle Path Booby Trapped With Barbed Wire Strung at Neck Height

Daniel Webster, 39, discovered the potentially lethal barbed wire booby trap on a cycle trail in Wormshill, Kent, close to Maidstone, strung at neck height. Police are making enquiries.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Male Domestic Violence Victims Can’t Get Help Even When Their Lives Are at Risk

Double standards surrounding domestic violence are making male victims vulnerable, said Peter Edwards, 50. Last year, his brother, David Edwards, 51, from Chorley was murdered by his wife.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egyptian Minister Sacked for Pledge to Jail Prophet Muhammad

Egypt’s Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind has been sacked after boasting that he would jail Islam’s Prophet Muhammad himself if the prophet broke the law.

Mr Zind made the remark in a televised interview on Friday. He immediately said “God forgive me” and apologised the following day.

He was sacked by the Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail.

It was not immediately clear who would replace Mr Zind, an outspoken critic of the Muslim Brotherhood.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Moroccans to Rally in Protest at UN Chief’s ‘Biased’ Western Sahara Remarks

Moroccan politicians condider UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s relation to the land of the contested Western Sahara and its’ root population to be unobjected and are going to protest against through rallies and marches.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moroccan politicians will rally in the North African nation’s capital Rabat on Sunday afternoon to protest against what they perceive as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s bias toward separatists in the contested Western Sahara.

The sparsely-populated area on the Atlantic coast has been the subject of a long dispute between its indigenous Sahrawi people, led by the Polisario Front, and Moroccan authorities.

Morocco’s government lashed out at the UN chief on Tuesday for describing its relation to the Western Sahara as “occupation,” the Morocco World News reported.

Ban allegedly made the comment during his visit to the Algerian town of Tindouf, the site of Sahrawi refugee camps.

Moroccan authorities subsequently criticized Ban for “departing from his impartiality and neutrality” and making statements that ran counter to UN Security Council resolutions.

The UN has been trying to negotiate a lasting political solution for the Western Sahara crisis that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, after Morocco claimed control of the former Spanish colony in 1975.

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

Outrage in Egypt Over Justice Minister’s Prophet Remark

Egypt’s justice minister faced outrage on social media Sunday after a television interview in which he said he would arrest even “a prophet,” although he later admitted it was a “slip of tongue”.

When asked in an interview on private satellite channel Sada Al-Balad on Friday about a case involving journalists accused of defaming him and whether he would jail them, Ahmed al-Zind said he would imprison anyone.

“Even if it’s a prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him,” Zind said, using the Islamic saying of reverence spoken by Muslims only when referring to the Prophet Mohammed…

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

Knife-Wielding Attackers Should be Killed: Israel Chief Rabbi

An Israeli chief rabbi said that knife-wielding attackers should be killed, after a call by the head of the armed forces to not use excessive firepower in combating a wave of Palestinian violence.

“If a terrorist comes at someone with a knife, it is a (religious) duty to kill him ?- he who comes to kill you, kill him first,” Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said on Saturday.

“Don’t get all afraid of the courts, or if some chief of staff says something else,” Yosef said in a televised weekly sermon…

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

More on the Late Taylor Force, USMA ‘09

My friend and fellow serving US Army officer Bob Roth a USMA’59 grad sent me this eulogy page for the late Taylor Force, murdered at a sea side Manta Ray restaurant in Jaffa near Tel Aviv. A restaurant that Jean and I had frequented on a trip to Israel. Roth and Force are both West Point legacies. Roth’s dad graduated in 1930 having been a mustang, up from the ranks, while, Force’s grandfather graduated in the Class of 1947. Roth and the late Taylor Force shared something else; they were both commissioned as Artillery officers. Force was a native of El Paso, Texas who attended the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in Roswell and was inducted as a Member of the National Honor Society. We visited the NMMI years ago during one of our treks in the Land of Enchantment during two decades of summer sojourns and attending Santa Fe Opera, Chamber Music Festival and Desert Chorale concerts in Santa Fe.

Note this from Force’s eulogy page, USMA Class of ‘09:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

The Impoverishment of Palestinians Under the Futile Two-State “Solution”

Martin Sherman in a trenchant Jerusalem Post , Into the Fray column, this weekend drew attention to the follies of the two-state solutions under the Oslo Accords impoverishing the Palestinians producing the subsequent territorial insecurities now confronting Israeli Jews daily, “The Tragic Toll of the Two State Travesty on the Palestinians “. His tachlis (bottom line in Hebrew): “No one has inflicted greater harm on Palestinian society than avid two-staters.” He rails against the chimera of the two-state solution that a self governing Palestinian could uplift its people and build a vibrant civil society.

That was perpetrated by the late Israeli PM Sharon under the delusion that withdrawal of Israeli Jewish citizens’ from settlements in Gaza, Israel would become more secure. The subsequent events a decade ago, under pressure from Condoleezza Rice, then Bush National Security Advisor, subsequently Secretary of State, created a Islamic Jew hatred Hamas terrorstan stocked with tens of thousands of rockets ranging across Southern and Central Israel. That legacy fostered three inconclusive IDF operations in 2009, 2012 and the 50 day summer war of 2014 replete with terror tunnels. Note what we presciently wrote in a December 2012 NER article about the 12 day November 2012 IDF operation, the first involving the use of Iron Dome batteries, “Not the Time to Conquer Gaza”: Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense:…

           — Hat tip: Jerry Gordon [Return to headlines]

34 Dead, 125 Wounded in Turkey Explosion

A car bomb blew up near an Ankara bus stop on Sunday, killing at least 34 people and wounding 125 others, according to the Turkish health minister.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IS Threatens Lebanese Christians, Hezbollah, As Arab League Declares the Latter a “Terrorist” Group

In a video, IS calls on Christians to convert to Islam, urges Sunnis to rise up and impose Islamic law on Lebanon. Hezbollah, which is fighting the al-Nusra Front and IS in Syria, is declared a terrorist group. Arab League and Arab Gulf States also condemn “terrorist” Hezbollah. Riyadh is accused of supporting extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. Iran warns against putting Lebanon’s stability at risk.

Beirut (AsiaNews) — The Islamic State (IS) group released a video in which it threatens Lebanese Christians — calling on to convert or suffer the consequences — and urges Lebanese Sunnis to “rise up” and impose Islamic law.

The same video accuses Hezbollah of being “the source of crime and oppression in the country,” a statement that coincides with an Arab League summit in Cairo that also condemned the Lebanese Shia movement as a “terrorist” group, days after Arab interior ministers and the Gulf Cooperation Council issued similar resolutions.

The IS video was released by the “media office of the Raqqa emirate” in Syria. It shows two IS members from Lebanon urging Christians to convert to Islam “and if they fail to do so, then they will not be able to confront the IS.”

The video goes on to accuse Lebanese Sunnis and Shias, along with politicians, for allowing the rise of Hezbollah. “You will not stop the arrival of the Islamic State,” the extremists warn. “Perhaps we will cross over to Jerusalem over your remains,” threatened one of the two IS members.

“Your constitution is that of ‘takfir’ and you are being ruled by criminals,” they declare, whilst addressing Sunnis. “Your constitution is the Quran and the way of the Sunna, while their’s is the way of the devil,” they added.

Hezbollah is a Shia political movement and armed group, whose influence in Lebanese politics has grown in recent decades. Allied to and supported by Iran, it has put its military force at the service of Assad regime in fighting Sunni extremist groups like al-Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda) and IS, inflicting major defeats on them.

IS’s attack against Hezbollah comes a few hours after the Arab League in Cairo voted by a large majority to declare Hezbollah a “terrorist” group. Lebanon and Iraq did not vote for the motion, angering the Saudi representative who left the meeting in protest.

“Hezbollah enjoys wide representation in Lebanon and it is a main component in the country,” Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil said.

The Arab League’s move follows a similar one by the Saudi-led GCC, which has designated Hizbullah as terrorist over alleged “terrorist acts and incitement in Syria, Yemen and in Iraq.”

For its part, Hezbollah criticized the GCC resolution as “irresponsible and hostile,” saying that it “won’t prevent us from condemning the crimes of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, the kingdom’s financing and support of terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, or its collaboration with (Israel).”

Iran also slammed the Saudi move, warning its Gulf Arab rivals that they were jeopardising Lebanon’s stability. Because of the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran, Lebanon has been unable to elect a new president for almost two years.

* In Islamic law, takfir is the practice of one Muslim declaring another as kafir (infidel).

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

Lebanon Announces Plan to End Seven-Month Rubbish Crisis

Two landfills will be established near Beirut, and a third one south of the city will be reopened for two months to receive trash that has piled up since July, Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said after the cabinet meeting.

The Lebanese trash crisis began when the landfill south of Beirut was closed with no plan in place for an alternative.

The government had been working on a plan to export the garbage. But this was scrapped last month because the firm chosen failed to obtain documents showing that Russia, the intended destination, had agreed to accept it.

The crisis touched off an unprecedented wave of protests last year by Lebanese organising independently of the main political parties…

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

Syria: To Her Abductors Who Wanted to Convert Her, “I Made the Sign of the Cross, “ Says Ex IS Prisoner

AsiaNews spoke to Josephine, one of hundreds of Christians from Al-Hasakah, who spent a year in the hands of the Islamic State group. She talked about psychological suffering, conversion attempts, and separation from her male relatives. She survived thanks to her faith. Her mother Caroline, a Caritas official, is the only one in her family to have been spared the ordeal. She also negotiated their release with IS, and gave a Jihadi copies of the Bible. Now she hopes “to meet the pope” with her entire family.

Damascus (AsiaNews) — Josephine Martin Tamras is a young Assyrian woman. For a year, she was in the hands of the Islamic State (IS). Hers is a powerful story.

“It was a very difficult time, and not only because we lost our freedom,” Josephine told AsiaNews. “We were at risk all the time, victims of their evil thoughts, captive, ready to be killed. They tried to impose on us their strange beliefs. But what was worse was the fact that we were forced to live in an environment where we did not belong. Praying was the only thing that gave us strength to keep our beliefs.”

Josephine was one of more than 230 Christians, including women, children and seniors, who were abducted by IS from Khabur River, near Tal Tamr, in Al-Hasakah governorate, north-eastern Syria.

After the mass kidnapping, the terrorists freed a first group of 19 Christians after a ransom of about US$ 1,700 was paid for each. Later, as a result of mediation, a deal was struck for the release of all the prisoners. However, an ambush against the IS convoy carrying the prisoners — probably by Kurdish fighters — aborted the whole thing.

The abduction of at least 230 Christians, including entire families, occurred when IS carried out an offensive against predominantly Assyrian villages in north-eastern Syria. Although the total number of hostages is unknown, at least three were summarily executed.

The area is of great strategic importance because it is a linchpin between the Caliphate’s Syrian and Iraqi territories and is close to Turkey for weapons, supplies and fighters.

The kidnapped victims included the husband, three children, father-in-law and other family members of Caroline Hazkour, Caritas chief in Al-Hasakah. For months, she lived in anguish and terror, but was supported by her colleagues with the Catholic charity, and her faith.

A few weeks ago, on 22 February, exactly one year after her nightmare began, she was able to hug her loved ones again. Her daughter Josephine spoke to AsiaNews about her experience in the hands of Daesh (Arabic acronym for the Islamic State).

“They did not use physical violence towards me but the psychological suffering they inflicted upon us was far worse. For example, one of the leaders came one day and picked one of the young Assyrian girls, who was under 16, as his slave. The man was 25 years older. Even today, we do not know what happened to her. This is just one example of what we saw” in Jihadi captivity.

Their goal, Josephine explained, “was to convert us” and to do so they used “weapons and tried to weaken us” physically and psychologically. “For them, it was a shock when I said I would never leave my faith and I made the sign of the cross in front of them, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit because to sustain me and give me strength to the end.”

For Jihadis, her reaction was “an act of blasphemy” that “deserved execution” but Josephine was not intimidated because “I always felt that God was protecting me.”

“It was impossible to know when they would free me,” she added. “When we asked them something, they answered us with more lies. Even on the bus that took us home, we knew nothing of our fate.”

However, “this experience has taught me a lot. It taught me to be patient, keep a steady faith in the heart, especially when one is alone. In fact, they separated me from my brothers and father right away because in their view men and women should be separated.”

The separation from her family (pictured, after the release) “taught me to be independent in everything, and to ask God for the wisdom to come out unscathed from this storm.” This experience “taught me even more the value of unconditional love that I had already experienced through my work with Caritas without distinctions of sex, race, sect or religion.”

Despite the terrible experience, “I do not hate anybody. I do not want revenge and I pray that I may always find the path that leads to the Lord.”

The experience of the kidnapping has also deeply marked Josephine’s mother, Caroline Hazkour, who heads the Caritas centre in Al-Hasakah, who avoided being kidnapped on the night of 22 February 2015 by sheer luck.

Instead of returning to the village of Tel Jazireh, she accepted her colleagues’ advice to stay in Al-Hasakah. Still, she went through the gut-wrenching experience of knowing that her family was in the hands of the Islamic State whilst having to continue her work with Caritas with a smile on her face and the same enthusiasm as before.

“This experience,” she told AsiaNews, “has made me realise the power of the Gospel” When Jesus is in the stormy sea with his disciples, and they call upon him to save them, Jesus rebukes them for their little faith. “I drew strength from these words and decided to be patient, doing my job with love, sure that God was with me.”

“Praying and living the Gospel was the only way to overcome this torment,” she explained. “In spite of the fear and pain, I always felt a deep peace in my heart; I knew I did not have to be afraid, because Jesus was with me.”

With the Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis in mind, the Caritas official noted, “Mercy is of enormous value for us, because what is happening in Syria is the result of corrupt politics that generated wars and death.”

For her, Syria desperately needs mercy “from God, or men. Many asked me if I have feelings of revenge for those who hurt my family,” she said. “They took from me all the childhood memories [her house, like the village church, was destroyed). But I can say that if I met one of them, my goal would not be revenge, because these people know neither God’s law nor the rules of a civil society . . .”

Now that her family is back home, and all the relatives are doing fine, her goal is to ensure a future for her children, starting with education, school, and university.

“I rented an apartment to accommodate all my family,” she said,” because we are now in effect displaced people, like many others in the country who lost their homes.”

What matters now is to help the family overcome the trauma they went through, especially her husband “who was among those who wore the orange jumpsuit (which IS reserves for those set to be executed) and saw first-hand the execution of three of his friends.”

Remembering that in the past Syria “was an example of coexistence and fraternity between religions,” she hopes it can return “as before”.

Finally, Caroline is grateful to the pope for his concern and attention for her country and its people. “I hope to meet him,” she said. “This is my dream and my family’s.”

“When my family was imprisoned, I personally negotiated their release with one of the terrorists. I struck up a conversation with him about religion, including the Christian faith, and tried to explain what Christianity is. I sent him five copies of the Bible, with explanations, to introduce him to the Christian faith and make him understand our approach based on peace.”

For her, what is happening in Syria is a “conspiracy from the outside, to spread chaos, to drive out Christians and eradicate their presence in the region and the role of the Church in the history of this nation.”

Until March 2011, when the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke out, Syria was home to 40,000 Assyrian Christians, plus 1.2 million other Christians.

Since then, a bloody war has taken hold with 270,000 deaths and more than 11 million people displaced. Like in neighbouring Iraq, half of the country’s Christians have left. (DS)

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

Trafficked Nepali, Bangladeshi Women Trapped in Syria

Nepali villager Sunita Magar thought she was heading to a safe factory job in Kuwait, but only when she landed in Damascus did she realise “something had gone very wrong”.

Frequently beaten with a baton and given only one meal a day, Magar says she spent 13 months working as a maid for a Syrian household and pleading to be allowed to go home.

“I was just in shock, I couldn’t stop crying,” the single mother-of-two told AFP.

Magar is among scores of poor Nepali and Bangladeshi women who travelled to the Middle East on the promise of a good job, only to be trafficked into Syria, wracked by five years of civil war…

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

US Army Pound ISIS With Vietnam War Era Planes

By Bill Schroder

The US Army has brought out old warplanes from the Vietnam War era to fight against the Islamic State

The OV-10 Bronco Turbo-Propeller Plane belongs to the Vietnam War era. The US army is seeking to confirm whether this light aircraft can effectively be used for counter-insurgency operations.

Captain Bryant Davis of the Central Command stated that the Vietnam War planes flew more than a hundred missions against the Islamic State. The Central Command is responsible for the military operations in the Middle East.

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

Australian Journalists Detained in Malaysia for Trying to Question PM

Two Australian journalists were detained and barred from leaving Malaysia after they had tried to “aggressively” question Prime Minister Najib Razak about a corruption scandal, police said Sunday.

The duo were detained after they crossed a “security line and aggressively tried to approach the prime minister” who was visiting a mosque in Kuching on the island of Borneo, according to a police statement.

“Both of them were subsequently arrested for failing to comply with police instructions not to cross the security line,” read the statement.

The journalists, who work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners investigative programme, were detained on Saturday night after the incident but were released Sunday without charge…

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

Colombo Gives China Green Light to Build Port City

The project is the largest investment ever made in Sri Lanka. Announced in September 2014 under former President Rajapaksa, it was blocked following criticism from fishermen, activists and Catholics. An area of 269 hectares will emerge next to the capital with shopping malls, luxury apartments and a Formula One racetrack.

Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Despite months of protests by activists, fishermen and Catholics, and more environmental impact studies, China in the end got a green light to build the Colombo Port City, a planned offshore city next to the Sri Lankan capital.

In its announcement yesterday, “The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management has recommended allowing resumption of the project subject to limitations and conditions stipulated in the EIA (environmental impact assessment),” the government said.

However, it did not say what the conditions were, but official sources told AFP that Chinese investors were given permission to resume work on the project without any major modifications.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the US$ 1.5 billion port city project by the China Communication Construction in September 2014.

From the start, people living in the area where the new city will be built objected to the project, and successfully got it suspended. Yet, environmentalists and fishermen always feared that the Sri Lankan government would give in and authorise it.

In January, the People’s Movement against the Port City, an activist group that has spearheaded the protest, submitted its own environmental impact assessment, a 400-page document with 128 negative opinions, stressing the “unimaginable damage” to the local ecosystem since the project will cover 269 hectares on Colombo’s coastline.

The Chinese project is the largest investment ever made in Sri Lanka. It includes shopping malls, luxury apartments, leisure facilities, swimming pools, golf courses, casinos and even a Formula One racetrack.

In addition to criticism levelled at the Sirisena administration, which had blocked the project when it was elected, China has also come in for an attack against its “hegemonic ambitions” designed to consolidate its strategy of “pearl necklace”, a number of port facilities scattered in the Indian Ocean to counter India’s growth in the same region.

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

Al Qaeda Affiliate Claims Ivory Coast Beach Resort Attack

Al Qaeda’s North African affiliate claimed Sunday’s deadly attack by heavily armed gunmen on the Ivory Coast resort of Grand-Bassam, in which at least 16 people were killed, US-based monitors said.

In a message posted on its Telegram channels, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said three of its “heroes” had stormed the Grand-Bassam resort, according to US-based SITE Intelligence Group.

President Alassane Ouattara said six gunmen had been “neutralised”…

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

SA: “Whites Stole Aircraft”

Ex-pilots-and by implication whites-have “stolen” aircraft from the South African Air Force (SAAF), and this is why there are not enough aircraft to train new pilots, that country’s Minister of Defense has announced.

The ludicrous accusation-which illustrates once again South Africa’s slide into Third World nonsense-was made by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in parliament.

[Comment: More likely the black communists dont know how to fix the aircraft after they fired all the white people.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Scandal Taints Brazil’s Working-Class Hero Lula

An ex-metalworker who became one of Brazil’s most popular presidents, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva now sees his legacy under threat after he was implicated in a corruption probe.

Lula, as he is known to all in Brazil, left office in 2011 as a blue-collar hero who presided over a watershed boom and helped lift tens of millions of people from poverty.

Brazil’s first democratically elected leftist was so widely admired as president that Foreign Policy magazine called him a “rock star” and his US counterpart Barack Obama referred to him as “the man.”

Known for his charisma and common touch, Lula’s popularity in Brazil and the success of the economy during a period of high commodities prices helped him ride out numerous corruption scandals. When he stepped down after two terms, he basked in 80 percent popularity ratings…

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

‘Denmark is a Haven for Islamists’: Syrian Origin Politician

A Danish conservative member of parliament has struck out at his nation’s lax attitude towards integration, calling it a “haven for Islamists”.

Conservative MP Naser Khader has spoken out, remarking that Denmark really had no idea how to handle the migrant crisis and radical Islam.

Khader believes that Denmark has a larger problem than most European countries when it comes to Islam. He said: “Since Danish newspapers in 2006 published the Mohammed cartoons, we are now among the five biggest enemies of radical Islamists worldwide.

“In the past decade, the security authorities have foiled attacks several times in this country. And we have in Denmark very liberal laws that make it very easy extremists and make this quasi-Denmark a dream for radical Islamists.”

Speaking in an interview with Der Spiegel, the MP notes that it is difficult for Danish authorities to track radical Islamists because the Danish constitution guarantees more freedom of speech than the German equivalent. In the interview he says that Holocaust denial is not an offence in Denmark, whereas in Germany merely giving a Hitler salute can land a person in prison for years. “One can say and spread what you want basically,” he said.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

EU: Migrant Crisis at Climax in Greece, Time to Deliver

Madrid Parliament rejects EU-Turkey ‘shameful’ accord

BRUSSELS — “Humanitarian crisis reaches its climax in Greece. MS (member states) to urgently accept relocations. Time to deliver”, tweeted EU commissioner for Migration Dimitri Avramopoulos.

500 relocation request from Greece pending. EU Commission sources say countries must step forward to reply

Five hundred requests for re-location from migrants in Greece have not yet received a reply from EU member states, European Commission sources say. This was confirmed by authorities in Athens and Brussels. It is up to individual countries to step forward and reply to individual requests from Greece, the sources say. At the Council of EU Interior Ministers’ meeting Greek Immigration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas had asked for solidarity from EU partners, especially stressing the theme of relocation.

Italian Lower House Speaker says EU States avoiding duty in migrant crisis

Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini on Friday said the current migrant crisis affecting the European Union wouldn’t exist if every member State were to do its part. Boldrini said the EU is “doing what it shouldn’t do: there’s a tendency to turn a blind eye to some countries”. “The EU can’t demand that non-EU countries respect a series of standards and objectives if it’s not ready to pursue them itself,” Boldrini said. “Some States are making an effort to manage the (migrant) phenomenon, but others no. This creates the crisis; otherwise there wouldn’t be one,” she said. “If Europe wants to continue to be a moral compass for the world, it needs to set an example. It also needs to do it to defend its own reputation,” she said

Turkey says Aegean migrants fall from 6,800 to 2,000 a day.Turkey to Greece re-entries continue, 5 islands to be evacuated

The number of migrants trying each day to cross the Aegean illegally from Turkey towards the Greek coast has tumbled to around 2000 a day in February from 6,800 a day in October, according to Turkish government sources in Ankara. Turkish authorities have stopped some 50,000 migrants on that route since the start of the year including 15,000 in the sea and 35,000 during operations on land.

Meanwhile Greece on Friday repatriated to Turkey 90 migrants from Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan and Turkey itself who entered Greek territory illegally. The migrants were expelled on the basis of a re-admission agreement between the two countries, reaffirmed this week by the visit of Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras at Izmir. Another 308 migrants were sent back to Turkey last week.

Migrants and refugees who at the moment are on five Greek islands will be evacuated and, on the basis of pacts with the EU, Turkey will accept to take back those who landed on those islands since the agreement came into force. While not identified explicitly, the islands are believed to be those with highest migrant flows — Lesbos, Kos, Chios, Leros and Samos, (ANSAmed).

20 Italian police to Albanian borders to beef up frontiers against possible flows toward the Adriatic

Some 20 Italian frontier police will be deployed in Albania from March 15 to reinforce the country’s borders. They are being dispatched at the request of the Tirana authorities as part of reinforced cooperation between Italy and Albania in prevention of the migratory phenomenon and its management in case of increased flows due to the closure of the Balkans route. Tirana will decide on which frontier to deploy the Italian police, sources in Brussels say.

On Thursday Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti underlined the importance of a partnership with Albania to manage an eventual migrant flow to the Italian coast via the Adriatic following the closure of the “Balkan route”.

Madrid parliament rejects EU-Turkey accord, Socialists and Podemos slam ‘shameful accord’

All Spanish political groupings except for the Partido Popular have cast votes in the Congress of deputies rejecting the agreement on refugees initialled last week between the EU and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. Spanish Mps threw out the agreement with Ankara by 227 votes against compared to 123 in favour.

Socialist Party Secretary Pedro Sanchez called the pact with Erdogan an “agreement of shame,” “immoral” and “illegal” and asked that it be modified before it is ratified by the European Council in Brussels next week. Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said that he “feels ashamed of the EU, which systematically is not respecting human rights”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Madrid Parliament Rejects EU-Turkey Accord

All oppose except P.Popular, Socialists slam ‘shameful accord’

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, MARCH 11 — All Spanish political groupings except for the Partido Popular have cast votes in the Congress of deputies rejecting the agreement on refugees initialled last week between the EU and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey.

Spanish Mps threw out the agreement with Ankara by 227 votes against compared to 123 in favour, El Pais online said.

Socialist Party Secretary Pedro Sanchez called the pact with Erdogan an “agreement of shame,” “immoral” and “illegal” and asked that it be modified before it is ratified by the European Council in Brussels next week.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said that he “feels ashamed of the EU, which systematically is not respecting human rights”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Merkel Blamed as Populists Surge Across Germany

Right-wing populism has long been taboo in Germany — but Sunday’s regional elections show how this has changed. And Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centrist policies are getting much of the blame.

Traumatised by its Nazi past, post-war Germany has carefully relegated right-wing populist movements to the fringes of politics, but the anti-migrant AfD may have muscled its way in from the cold.

With discontent growing in Germany over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy, the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday captured seats in the regional parliaments of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt, with backing at double-digits in all three, estimates by public broadcasters showed.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Protesters Block Migrant Routes to Calais, Demand End to ‘Invasion in Europe’

More than a hundred protesters have blocked several routes for migrants, preventing them from gaining access to Calais. The activists’ banners called to “stop the invasion of Europe” and “defend” their city.

The protest was initiated by the Facebook community Génération Identitaire, a group which opposes mass migration. According to the group’s estimates, more than 130 people took part in the rally.

The activists, who were carrying banners with the slogans “Go Home,” “Defend Calais” and “No way,” claimed they had taken control of three bridges leading to the city.

At least 12 protesters have been detained by riot police, the group later wrote.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Respected Think-Tank: Border Fences Much Cheaper Than Mass Migration

One of Germany’s best known and respected think tanks has found the five billion euro cost of closing Europe’s borders is just a “fraction” of the cost associated with leaving them open and experiencing continued mass migration.

The Munich-based Institute for Economic Research (Ifo) has released new figures quantifying what exactly the damage to the German and European economies would be, and it is significantly lower than previous estimates. Taking into consideration the inconvenience and delays to trade introduced by taking action at Europe’s borders to prevent illegal migrant incursion, the Ifo put the figure at €5 billion a year.

Although a significant amount of money, report author Gabriel Felbermayr said “this cost represents only a fraction of the burden which would be incurred by continuing unregulated mass migration”. By way of comparison the cost of reception and initial care of refugees was estimated to hit €20 billion a year for just Germany alone, reports Die Welt.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Riot Migrants Claim They Didn’t Understand German Norms, Were Just Following Afghan Law

Violence broke out in the migrant receiving centre in Suhl, Thuringa in August 2015 after a disagreement between migrants belonging to different sects of Islam living there turned bitter. One Afghan migrant in the centre was driven to tear pages out of a Koran and stuffed them into a toilet, and it was at this point that things took a turn for the worse.

As Breitbart London reported at the time, after other migrants attempted to kill the man, police had to move in to give protection. The wrath of the mob then turned on the officers, who had to retreat to a nearby building under a hail of thrown objects including stones and glass. The Thuringan court has now heard the testimony of a young female police officer, one of the first on the scene who was caught in this melé.

She said: “I perceived the mood to be aggressive, angry, hateful” and described while her fellow officers took refuge in a room with the man the gang was trying to kill the other migrants broke glass windows and threw objects. Some had dismantled beds and equipped themselves with the iron bars and wooden planks they had taken from them.

The officer revealed they were on the verge of drawing their handguns, but did not, restraint for which they were praised by the judge.

As her group retreated, one of her colleagues said “run, they are coming” as 100 people pursued the officers. Die Welt reports that despite the officers being in clearly marked uniforms, storms and glass bottles were thrown at them. Eyewitness reports at the time recalled the aggressors were screaming “Allah Akbar” as they advanced.

With the police at a safe distance, the rioters turned on their accommodation itself and tore it apart, demolishing walls, doors, and smashing windows.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

UK: Hammond: Let’s Create a Schengen Visa and Open Our Borders. PM: I’ll Fire Anybody Who Leaks That

DAVID LAWS’s remarkable Coalition memoir reveals that while immigration topped the public agenda, it was a low priority in the Home Office.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Vilnius to Provide $5.8 Mln to Ankara Under EU-Turkey Migration Plan

Lithuania is among countries which allot money to refugee-host Turkey to accept undocumented immigrants who entered Europe, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

VILNIUS (Sputnik) — Lithuania is set to allocate 5.2 million euros (some $5.8 million) to Turkey, which has pledged to accept undocumented immigrants who entered Europe, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“Lithuania is due to transfer the funds to the European Commission, which administers the support of Turkey,” the statement read.

Earlier in March, the EU-Turkey summit resulted in a deal on stemming migration flows into the European Union from the Middle East through Turkey. The sides called for the speedy implementation of the EU-Turkey action plan.

Turkey has demanded an additional 3 billion euros from the European Union to deal with migrants on top of the earlier 3 billion-euro EU pledge. In exchange for the additional funding, Ankara has offered to take back all undocumented migrants that enter the European Union through Turkey and swap them on a one-for-one basis for legal Syrian refugees who are seeking to enter the bloc.

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

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/13/2016

  1. One word for mutti Merkel – HUBRIS. Here’s hoping she disappears from the European political corridors, soon to be followed by her handbag carrier, the equally useless Hollande. ANY politician who takes these two seriously in the future deserve the obrium of their electorate too. Yes that does include the porcine, parsimonious, Bullingdon Bully Boy Cameron as well!

    • The party will have seats in all three state parliaments, . . .”

      Elections? Votes? While invaders, helped by our useless traitors, are rushing to occupy our towns, villages and cities. Oh wait a few more years, the right anti-invasion Party will assume office and everything will be fine. But Europe is wounded and it is hemorrhaging white.

      If one is bleeding he needs immediate action, you don’t wait 4 years then bandage it.

      Evil Human Nature:
      I am afraid that when the right Party comes to power, I mean the party that is reasonable and logical, sincere and loves the nation and its people, and loves to have good normal relations with every nation on earth, including muslim nations, with high principles: i.e. does not let itself and its nation be subservient to any petro-abundant country, but believes in mutual respect. i.e. Saudi Arabia will be allowed to build a mosque, only if Saudi Arabia allows to build a synagogue and a church in their country. And the existing ones will be demolished if she refuses.

      That’s how you make others respect you, by being alert and clever and expose your enemies schemes.

      But I fear that when the right party rules opposition from invaders and lefities ( useful idiots and traitors ) will be so overwhelming that they will hinder any positive steps the Party takes.

      Any way you slice it, the result will be baths of Red Liquid and corpses. The coming conflict is being delayed. The more delayed the deadlier and on a bigger scale it will be.

      How it never occurs to those Einsteinic rulers of Sweden that what they are doing will end up in civil war, bloody like that of Lebanon. Even worse. So now we know how wars happen. Now we know how Europe had unending wars: Once they finished one they prepared for a new one. Miserable humans.

      Osama bin laden said: Europe we will never let you enjoy your life and feel comfortable. You love life and we love death.

      Yes some muslims loved death that’s why today they occupy/colonize 57 countries. And now they have started the raids against all Continents. Thanks to perverted democracy of the west.

      Osama forgot to add that our stupidity in the west would help him achieve his goals.

  2. G.J. Davies, you must be British. Porcine, parsimonious, and so on — only from the Brits! and that’s a compliment.

    I agree — Mother Merkel has been infused with hubris and many of us know how well that works in the long run.

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