Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/3/2016

The theft of 7,000 pounds of copper from electric pylons at a water treatment plant in Italy almost left Rome without drinking water. If the plant had not switched to emergency generators, water service would have been suspended. After a police chase, four Albanians were arrested on suspicion of stealing the copper.

In other news, gunmen boarded a ship off the coast of Sabah in Borneo and abducted four Malaysian crew members. The identity of the kidnappers has not been established, but Islamic militants from Abu Sayyaf are the principal suspects.

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

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Insubria, JD, Margita, Seneca III, Steen, 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
» Endgame for the IMF-EU Feud Over Greece’s Debt
» Greek Debt Crisis: Even if Greece Defaults, German Taxpayers Will Come Out Ahead, Says German Think Tank
» Japan Business Sentiment Plunges to Lowest in Three Years, May Worsen
» “This is America” — Watch as Secret Service Agent Slams Turkish President’s Body Guard Goons for Trying to Silence Protesters
» Are Democrats Using Google to Silence Free Speech?
» Confrontation Between Armed Black Panthers, Anti-Islam Protesters in South Dallas
» DOJ Eroding Our Sovereignty
» Dozens of Injuries Reported in Amtrak Derailment
» Google Censors Conservative and Pro-Trump Articles
» GOP Establishment Steals Trump and Cruz Delegates in Tennessee
» Is the USDA Just a Corporate Lobbyist Group?
» New Soros Funded Industry Out to Destroy Trump’s Campaign
» Ted Cruz, Kasich, Bush and George Soros — Partners in Globalism
» Ted Cruz — The Anatomy of a Neo-Con
» University of Louisville Professor Ponders the Rise of Artificial Intelligence — and What Might Go Wrong
» War on Cops: Law-Enforcement Deaths by Gunfire Up by 150% This Year
Europe and the EU
» Belgium: Beleaguered Molenbeek Struggles to Fend Off Jihadist Recruiters
» Iraqi Refugees Who Refused Asylum in Czech Republic Move to Germany
» Italy: Copper Theft Nearly Left Rome Without Drinking Water
» Italy: Parmigiano Reggiano Exports Up 13.2% in 2015
» Italy: Bertone Denies PH Renovation Allegations
» Pictures: Second Peaceful PEGIDA UK March Takes Place in Birmingham, German Founder Lutz Bachmann Speaks
» UK: Children Form Human Arrow to Help Cops Find Burglars
» UK: NHS to Harvest Babies’ Organs: ‘Ghoulish’ Proposal Gives Mothers Pregnant With a Damaged Foetus an Agonising Choice — Abort the Dying Child or Give Birth So Body Parts Can be Used for Transplants
» UK: Police Identify 28 Jihadis Plotting Attacks in Brighton
» Violence Erupts at Brussels Anti-Extremist Demonstration
North Africa
» Italy: Poll Shows 74% Against Military Action in Libya
Middle East
» Iraq’s Coming Apocalypse
» Pentagon is ‘Actually Training Islamist Militants’ In Syria
» Water: Islam’s New Target to Crush the West
» Fighting on the Border of Nagorno-Karabakh. Putin Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire
Far East
» China’s Tight Control of Speech
» China: Xi Jinping Blocks Party Renewal: He Wants to be the 21st Century Mao
» Death by Overwork on Rise Among Japan’s Vulnerable Workers
» Philippines: Gunmen Kidnap Malaysian Ship Crew: Reports
Australia — Pacific
» Govt-Funded Play: ‘Kill Climate Deniers’
Latin America
» At Least 17 of Missing 43 Students Burned at Mexican Dump, Say Outside Experts
» Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca Leak Reveals Elite’s Tax Havens
» 25m “Foreign-Born” Working in US
» AfD Head Frauke Petry: ‘The Immigration of Muslims Will Change Our Culture’
» Cruz Supported Illegal Invasion
» Leftists Organize to Silence Border Patrol Agents Over Trump Endorsement
» Trump: ‘I Will Never Back Down From Supporting and Fighting’ For Border Patrol Agents
Culture Wars
» If Bakers Can be Forced to Service Faux Weddings, So Can Churches
» UK: Oxford Theology Students Won’t Have to Study Christianity Throughout Their Degree

Endgame for the IMF-EU Feud Over Greece’s Debt

Greece hasn’t been saved just yet — and the conflict between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Europe is sharpening. Greece’s former Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis expects a showdown between IMF and Germany.

Even though talks now happen mostly behind the scenes: Negotiations about another bailout program for Greece have not come to an end. On Saturday, Wikileaks published the transcript of an internal International Monetary Fund (IMF) phone conference.

A discussion between high-ranking IMF officials reveals the bitter divide between the lenders — and how they’re still far from reaching a sustainable solution for the financial crisis in Greece. Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former Minister of Finance, sees parallels to the situation one year ago, when he was negotiating for credits with IMF, EU commission and Eurozone countries. In an op-ed for SPIEGEL ONLINE, he describes his fears of a showdown between Greece and its lenders this summer.

The feud between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European side of Greece’s troika of creditors is old news. However, Wikileaks’ publication of a dialogue between key IMF players suggests that we are approaching something of a hazardous endgame.

Ever since the first Greek ‘bailout’ program was signed, in May 2010, the IMF has been violating its own “primary directive”: the obligation not to fund insolvent governments. As a result, the IMF’s leadership has been facing a revolt from its staff members who demand an exit strategy arguing that, if the EU continues to obstruct the debt relief necessary to restore the solvency of the Greek government, the IMF should leave the Greek program.

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

Greek Debt Crisis: Even if Greece Defaults, German Taxpayers Will Come Out Ahead, Says German Think Tank

Contrary to German politicians’ claims that their taxpayers have paid the tab for Greece’s economic woes, the Greek crisis has actually benefited Germany financially, suggests a new analysis from a leading German economic think tank.

In fact, the authors estimate that even if Germany forgave the entirety of Greek debt on its books, the country would still come out ahead.

The report, from the Halle Institute for Economic Research, examines the relative savings Germany has enjoyed due to depressed interest rates on its government bonds. As frightened bond investors have fled Greece and other troubled economies since 2010, they have piled heavily into German debt, which is seen as relatively safe. That increased demand has sent interest rates on German debt issues falling.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Japan Business Sentiment Plunges to Lowest in Three Years, May Worsen

Japanese big manufacturers’ business sentiment deteriorated to the lowest level in nearly three years and is expected to worsen in the coming quarter, a closely watched central bank survey showed, heightening pressure on both Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan to do more to shore up the ailing economy.

Big firms also cut their capital expenditure plans for the current fiscal year that began Friday, underscoring the challenges the BOJ faces in nudging risk-shy companies into boosting spending through aggressive money printing.

The weak reading may also persuade Abe to delay yet again a sales tax hike scheduled for next year to keep the economy afloat.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

“This is America” — Watch as Secret Service Agent Slams Turkish President’s Body Guard Goons for Trying to Silence Protesters

It may be completely legal for Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s minions to silence the voices of journalists, bloggers and other outspoken critics when in Turkey.

But when you’re in America, Jack, your autocratic tendencies and dictatorial inclinations are fair game for protesters, the media and our citizenry.

That’s the message the Turkish President’s body guards got from a Secret Service agent on President Obama’s security detail in Washington after Erdogan’s goons started ripping anti-Erdogan flyers out of peoples’ hands, physically assaulting them and throwing them the middle finger.

A video of the incident captures the Secret Service agent making it clear to Erdogan’s body guards that while free speech may be prohibited in the progressive European Union wanna-be state of Turkey, America is a bit different.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Are Democrats Using Google to Silence Free Speech?

The growth of the Internet has also led to the formation of corporate giants like AOL, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Dell, HP, Microsoft, IBM and thousands of smaller companies. The corporate profits generated by the Internet are in the tens of billions of dollars every year.

Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of corporate giants, awash in cash, is the wielding of great financial and political power to manipulate and exploit the people they allegedly serve. We ran into that manipulative power just recently when we discovered that some conservative authors, including us, are being silenced by a tricky Google tactic (yes, Google) through their web browser, “Google Chrome,” by attaching a Security Alert to any website that doesn’t fit the Google liberal narrative. On the website ( Google has attached a Security Alert to over half of the authors that write for this conservative, on-line publication. In further research, we found that other websites offering a conservative point of view have also been targeted by Google Chrome’s Security Alerts.

Google’s Security Alerts advise the reader that the particular website they have logged onto may contain Malware and advised to go back to a “safe” page. The Alert is clearly bogus and obviously done for political motives in a highly charged presidential campaign season. Ironically, these Security Alerts only happen with the Google Chrome browser. We could find no such tampering with other browsers. Who controls Google Chrome? Google of course.

Now, if you are thinking that this is just an isolated incident, or an accident, or a coincidence, or a quirk of the Google Chrome browser, think again. The Google Chrome Security Alert suddenly appeared on multiple conservative articles a week or so ago, right after Donald Trump held up an article from the Newswithviews website and the website received over 3,000,000 hits in one day. One might ask, why would Google do this? The answer is simple and glaring.

The political ties to the Democrat Party of Google founders, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, including thousands of Google employees, is well known: From one source we learned that:

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Confrontation Between Armed Black Panthers, Anti-Islam Protesters in South Dallas

Huey P. Newton Gun Club prevents Bureau of American Islamic Relations group from protesting at mosque

Members of the New Black Panther Party lined Luther King Jr. Boulevard in response to a BAIR protest against the Nation of Islam Muslim Center in Irving. Both groups were armed.

BAIR has marched on the mosque several times. The organization opposes radical Islam and the federal government’s decision to take in Syrian refugees.

The Huey P. Newton Gun Club is named after Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton. He was shot to death in 1989 by a member of the Black Guerrilla Family, a prison gang with a Marxist-Leninist ideology. The group is dedicated to overthrowing the government.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

DOJ Eroding Our Sovereignty

Many states passed voter ID laws and every State that did were taken to court by Holder. He claimed that needing a ID to vote was a unnecessary burden on the poor and minorities even though you need ID for cashing welfare checks, buy alcohol, cigarettes, applying for food stamps, opening a bank account, renting a house, applying for welfare, renting a car, buying a gun, buying an Obama phone not to mention a dozen other every day activities. Unions opposed voter ID laws as well even though to vote in a union election you have to show an ID . . . go figure.

Just recently our new Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a Holder minnie me, announced a new program of ‘cooperation’ with the UN to help ‘fight terrorism’. It’s called Strong Cities Network. In an article on we see that AG Lynch appears to be trying to allow the UN to govern how our individual cities respond to terrorism. “Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice are joining with an international law enforcement coalition for the claimed purpose of “strengthen [ing] community resilience against violent extremism,” a Sept. 28 release from the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs announced.

“The Strong Cities Network will serve as a vital tool to strengthen capacity-building and improve collaboration,” Lynch proclaimed for the United Nations SCN launch. “As we continue to counter a range of domestic and global terror threats, this innovative platform will enable cities to learn from one another, to develop best practices and to build social cohesion and community resilience here at home and around the world.”

Curious, that she deliberately chose the word “collaboration.” And as for “best practices,” we have them already, in the Constitution, with its Bill of Rights that she swore an oath to uphold. And that’s just the start of the flags this globalist venture ought to be raising.

[Comment: UN will redefine a terrorist as anyone who voices an opinion the coming NWO — constitutionalists, veterans, those with “Don’t Tread On Me” or “Ron Paul” bumper stickers, those who believe in the 2nd Amendment .etc]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dozens of Injuries Reported in Amtrak Derailment

(AP) — An Amtrak train struck a piece of construction equipment just south of Philadelphia on Sunday causing a derailment, and dozens of injuries are being reported, according to authorities.

Service on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Philadelphia has been suspended.

Train 89 was heading from New York to Savannah, Georgia, when it hit a backhoe that was on the track in Chester, about 15 miles outside of Philadelphia, officials said. The crash happened around 8 a.m.

The impact derailed the lead engine of the train. About 333 passengers and seven crew members were on board.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Google Censors Conservative and Pro-Trump Articles

Visitors to conservative web sites may encounter problems accessing news stories and political commentary regarding the Republican Party, conservative issues and pro-Donald Trump postings thanks to a major Internet search engine company that also controls a top web browser that’s successfully competing with Microsoft, Firefox, Safari and others.

According to a number of subscribers and readers of the conservative Internet publication,, readers are being falsely informed by a popular web browser, Google Chrome, that “malware” exists on the web site, specifically columns that address political and social issues from a conservative or libertarian perspective, according to several writers and the editor at NWV.

Readers attempting to access NWV content were met by warnings that falsely claimed “malware” that was hazardous to personal computers existed on the web site. A number of emails were received by the NWV editor complaining about the problem and saying they were fearful of damaging their desktop or laptop computers by accessing news stories and opinion columns.

For example, one of the top columnists, Kelleigh Nelson, who frequently writes on political issues had problems with readers not being able to access her opinion pieces appearing on NWV. Kelleigh is 100% pro Trump.

“A number of my readers [had] emailed me that when they tried to access my archived articles, a malware warning would always pop up. All of them were using Google Chrome when this happened,” said Nelson. “I immediately alerted Paul Walter, Senior Editor of, and he did a virus check. Nothing showed as being malware within any of my archived articles.”

Ms. Nelson believes that Google Chrome covertly putting these malware warnings on every article they politically disagree with, and she believes that NewsWithViews is not the only target. There are other websites being targeted, including The Marshall Report, and The Conservative Tree House. “If you want the truth in these and other articles, then use any other search engine and the articles and websites will come up, just not with Google Chrome,” said Kelleigh Nelson.

Following a lengthy investigation by the NWV editor, Paul Walter, it was confirmed that the “malware alerts” were the product of only one web browser: Google Chrome. All of the complaints regarding “malware alerts” were generated by readers who were Chrome browser users. Those readers using the other Internet browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Explorer, and other popular browsers were not experiencing this suspected form of censorship.

“It appears that Google Chrome is the only browser suspected of deceptive political activity that benefits the Democratic Party especially in this heated [presidential] election cycle,” said political consultant and attorney Michael Baker. “In fact, other web sites are experiencing similar problems and they all trace them to Google Chrome.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

GOP Establishment Steals Trump and Cruz Delegates in Tennessee

The American electorate has been voting for the wrong people for so long, and now we’re being screwed out of the candidate we really want by those same people.

Those people, and I’m talking about the GOP establishment (GOPe) are not loyal to the American people, to the Constitution, or to their oaths of office. Their only loyalty lies with the globalist New World Order elitists. I’ll tell you something else too, they have absolutely no fear of we the people, they think you’re stupid and that they can steal the election, install their puppet globalist and you’ll do nothing about it. They are now in the process of stealing the delegates of the top candidate, Donald J. Trump, as well as the second place candidate, Rafael Theodore Cruz.

Darren Morris, state director of Trump’s campaign in Tennessee, told The Tennessean the Trump campaign, and Tennessee Republican Party chairman Ryan Haynes, had agreed Wednesday, March 30th, on the names of seven of the 14 at-large delegates that, under party rules, are to be appointed by the state party. Delegates will ultimately decide the party’s nominee at the Republican National Convention this summer.

But Morris said that an updated delegate list he reviewed late this week is now wiped clean of several of those names and instead features individuals who he described as strongly “anti-Trump.” “A few of those names are still on there,” Morris said. “Most of them are not. In fact, I’ve been told a few of them are very much anti-Trump and they’re there to do the bidding of the RNC.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Is the USDA Just a Corporate Lobbyist Group?

Many, if not most, of our regulatory agencies have a long history of protecting industry interests over public and environmental health. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come under increasing scrutiny following mounting charges of harassment and censorship.

In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan Lundgren, who spent the last 11 years working as an entomologist at the USDA, filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, claiming he’d suffered retaliation after speaking out about research showing that neonicotinoids had adverse effects on bees.1

In the U.S., nearly all corn, about 90 percent of canola, and approximately half of all soybeans are treated with neonicotinoids. As the use of these pesticides has gone up, bee and Monarch butterfly populations have plummeted.

After publicly discussing his findings, Lundgren claims that “USDA managers blocked publication of his research, barred him from talking to the media, and disrupted operations at the laboratory he oversaw.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

New Soros Funded Industry Out to Destroy Trump’s Campaign

“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. 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,” said NewsWithViews columnist Kelleigh Nelson

Recently during an appearance on Univision, the Hispanic television network, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said, “I believe there are all kinds of underground movements and efforts in our country that try to use violence or assert beliefs that I find often lead to violence.” Clinton said that before outright accusing some police officers of being terrorists. “I think that when you have police violence that terrorized communities, that doesn’t show the respect that you’re supposed to have from respecting people in your authority, that can feel, also, terrorizing,” she said.

“It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to discover that thugs from Democratic Party-supporting unions, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, Code Pink and other progressive and socialist organizations have planned to turn public opinion against the GOP’s bad boy of politics, Donald Trump,” said former police detective and military intelligence operative Sid Franes, who is African American. “He may be the Republicans’ bad boy, but at least he’s not the Democrats’ pathological liar or crime lord,” he added.

While the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) casts itself as a spontaneous uprising born of inner city frustration, it is just the latest — perhaps more dangerous — well-funded communist/socialist organization to come down the pike. These radical groups have been agitating against America for decades and with few exceptions have been linked to the Democratic Party. One of these groups’ biggest financiers is none other than multi-billionaire George Soros.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ted Cruz, Kasich, Bush and George Soros — Partners in Globalism

Donald J. Trump is the New World Order globalists’ worst nightmare. Now even Sunday sermons are being disrupted by the Obamanistas. Many people believe the right is joining hands with the left, only to destroy the Trump candidacy, but the right has been in bed with the left and with the left’s agenda for over a century now. Today’s Obamanistas are the Soros communists as well as the false friends on the right.

It really became visible in the 1960s when Goldwater ran against LBJ in 1964, and his own party worked to destroy him, including George Romney, father of Willard Mitt. Yes, the entire Romney family voted for LBJ because they were so angry that Goldwater got the nomination instead of George Romney. The latter was a moderate who leaned left, and of course Goldwater was still representing old right Constitutional conservatives.

The avalanche against Trump shows the knowledgeable electorate just exactly who has been in bed with the left for so very long. When so-called conservative pundits tell you they’ll vote for Hillary if Trump wins the Republican nomination, then you know they are in the bag with the leftists. They prefer another globalist NWO agenda president rather than someone who will bring America back to her glory days. It is so obvious that I’m astonished at the lack of discernment by Christians and even secular voters. The hatred and lies against this man are so overt. The Democratic and Republican parties are just two heads of the same snake, and by now, even the politically uninterested should see it.

Cruz and Kasich on Free Trade

The well-researched in our electorate know John Kasich absolutely loves and embraces all kinds of free trade. He voted for NAFTA and is on board for the Trans Pacific Partnership. He’s all for common core, throwing the borders open to foreign elements, and giving amnesty to the law breakers already here. And don’t fool yourselves, for over 20 years the media pundits have been saying we have 12 million illegals in America. It’s more like 50 to 60 million by now.

The same is true of Ted Cruz, albeit he’s waffled so many times, that his middle name should be flip flopper. Check out this video in Cruz’s own words where he flip-flops on so many issues.

Remember Cruz voted for TPA which is fast tracking for the Trans Pacific Partnership, which, if passed, will destroy sovereignty, the Constitution, and jobs, more of which will go out the door to foreign countries.

The entire purpose of fast-track is for Congress to surrender its power to the Executive for six years. Legislative concessions include: control over the content of legislation, the power to fully consider that legislation on the floor, the power to keep debate open until Senate cloture is invoked, and the constitutional requirement that treaties receive a two-thirds vote. Legislation cannot even be amended.

By contrast, without fast-track, Congress retains all of its legislative powers, individual members retain all of their procedural tools, and every single line, jot, and tittle of trade text is publicly available before any congressional action is taken. [Link]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Ted Cruz — The Anatomy of a Neo-Con

How and why were the results of the 2014 elections a disaster? And why should we be giving it any attention? It’s very simple: The Republican Party, especially at the leadership level, and to some degree in the rank and file, has arrived at the point where it is fairly well saturated with NEO-CONS, i.e., so-called phony conservatives.

Okay, but what is a neo-con? What does one look like, and how do they operate?

First, let’s start off with what they are. To begin with, they are a spin-off from Trotsky, you know, the agent who supposedly broke away from Lenin. His followers were caller Trotskyites, which doesn’t mean that the goals of Lenin and Trotsky were different, only that they disagreed on the method for achieving the goals. However, I believe it was mostly a strategic, or theatrical exercise which allowed Trotsky access to opportunities he otherwise would not have had.

Here’s how they operate. At first, they get to a position so that they have access, or connections with authority figures in, let’s say government, business, the media, and academia. Then, by using a patient strategy, they begin building their public image as a conservative by means of their association with those who are perceived to be high up in conservative (this being their target) circles, but also in neo-conservative circles as well.

It goes without saying, that regardless of which faction they associate with, they are secure in retaining their image as a conservative, for the simple reason that 99% of the public perceives all of the associations frequented by them to be conservative.

Senator Cruz as a Neo-Con Example

As an example, let’s focus on someone who fits the afore going description. And for that exercise, let’s choose Senator Ted Cruz:

Writing in an article, “TED CRUZ NEEDS A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION TO PASS THE NAU”, Kelleigh Nelson had this to say about Senator Cruz. “Ted Cruz always tells the crowd what they want to hear, depending on to whom he’s speaking. If you ask most Republicans who Ted Cruz is, they’ll likely tell you that he’s an Evangelical Christian with strong conservative values and won’t compromise. He’s certainly spent all his time in the Senate during his attempted government shutdowns trying to convince people of that. Those Republicans would be wrong on both counts.”

“Think he isn’t a neo-con?” Along with asking the question, she posts a photo of him speaking at a Heritage Foundation event, one of the top phony rightwing shills for the NWO.

Continuing on she states, “For all his allure as an outsider, Canada-born Ted Cruz is in fact an insider playing a role similar to the one Barack Obama played back in 2008 when his handlers portrayed him as the hope and change candidate out of nowhere. Ted Cruz set out to be an elitist from the very beginning.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

University of Louisville Professor Ponders the Rise of Artificial Intelligence — and What Might Go Wrong

Imagine the capabilities of an artificial intelligence whose computational capability exceeds that of all humans combined — and a few seconds later of all humans who have ever lived.

It could cure cancer in nanoseconds. Could, in fact, cure cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and ebola in a fraction of a second. Could open wormholes to distant stars. Could time travel. Could do things of which we cannot even conceive.

Or it could wipe out all life on the planet pretty much instantly.

How would humans control such a superintelligence?

It’s a question that often occupies the mind of Roman Yampolskiy, associate professor of computer science at University of Louisville.

Yampolskiy worries that humans might abuse such a superintelligence to commit horrendous crimes or that a superintelligence could destroy humans by accident or on purpose.

It’s not that he’s a pessimist, but as director of the Cyber Security Laboratory at the university’s Speed School of Engineering, the preoccupation with what could go wrong comes with the job.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

War on Cops: Law-Enforcement Deaths by Gunfire Up by 150% This Year

The number of police officers killed by gunfire in the line of duty this year is up 150% according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website dedicated to chronicling the deaths of law-enforcement officers.

March was the deadliest month for police deaths so far in 2016, with a total of 16 law-enforcement officers killed. Five of those March deaths were due to gunfire.

Although the overall death total is down 3% from 2015 and the same period this year, the jump in gunfire related deaths is alarming, especially given the constant barrage of anti-police rhetoric by leftist protest groups, including Black Lives Matter.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Belgium: Beleaguered Molenbeek Struggles to Fend Off Jihadist Recruiters

BRUSSELS (AFP) — In Molenbeek, the rundown Brussels neighborhood with the unenviable reputation as a haven for jihadists, residents are struggling to confront the threat of radicalism as recruiters increasingly go underground to prey on the area’s youngsters.

Molenbeek catapulted to global attention after it emerged the district had been home to several of the Islamic State attackers who took part in last November’s Paris terror assaults, which killed 130 people.

The unflattering spotlight fueled criticism that Belgian authorities had closed their eyes to the problems gripping the impoverished, immigrant-heavy area, leaving its discontented youth vulnerable to jihadist recruiters.

Efforts to recruit were brazen until about two years ago, with long-bearded extremists openly calling for jihad in the streets or outside mosques, until the authorities cracked down and made some high-profile arrests.

Since then recruiters have switched tactics, approaching youngsters more discreetly and taking their messages online.

Belgium, with a population of 11 million, is per capita Europe’s biggest supplier of foreign jihadists to Syria, with more than 500 citizens leaving since 2011.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Iraqi Refugees Who Refused Asylum in Czech Republic Move to Germany

A group of 25 refugees from Iraq, who refused asylum in the Czech Republic, are moving to Germany, the Czech Television reported on Saturday. The refugees came within a resettlement programme for 150 Christian families from Iraq, organised by the NGO Generation 21. They had been staying in the Okrouhlík recreational centre near Jihlava, but this week they unexpectedly asked for the return of their passports. In reaction to the situation, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec on Friday temporarily suspended the resettlement program of the Christian families at risk. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has welcomed the move, saying that it was necessary to better asses how serious was the migrants’ intention to stay in the Czech Republic.

           — Hat tip: Margita [Return to headlines]

Italy: Copper Theft Nearly Left Rome Without Drinking Water

Four Albanians arrested for stealing from Acqua Vergine plant

(ANSA) — Rome, April 1 — Four Albanians were arrested on Thursday evening, accused of stealing 3,240 kg of copper from the Acqua Vergine water treatment plant, which was forced to rely on an automatic backup generator system when the copper used to connect 11 electricity pylons was removed, ANSA sources said on Friday.

Had the plant’s backup electric system not gone into action, Rome would have been without potable water on Friday, sources said.

Police said the men entered the plant in three different vehicles and were captured after a car chase in which the suspects allegedly attempted to ram into two patrol cars.

The stolen copper, no longer usable, had a value of 50,000 euros.

The arrested men are being held in pre-trial custody in jail.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Parmigiano Reggiano Exports Up 13.2% in 2015

Biggest rise in a decade

(ANSA) — Reggio Emilia, April 1 — Exports of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rose 13.2% last year, the biggest rise in a decade, the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium said Friday.

It said the rise had been achieved despite the “continued problem” of foreign imitations of the famous Italian cheese.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Bertone Denies PH Renovation Allegations

Says ‘never authorized’ children’s hospital to pay for them

(see related)(ANSA) — Vatican City, March 31 — Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, former Vatican secretary of state, on Thursday denied any wrongdoing in connection with the alleged funding of renovations at his penthouse apartment by a foundation linked to the Bambin Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome. “(The cardinal) reiterates he never indicated or authorized the Bambin Gesù Foundation to make any payment in relation to the apartment that he occupies and which is the property of the Governorate,” his lawyer Michele Gentiloni Silverj said in a statement.

Earlier in the day the Vatican confirmed media reports that two former hospital managers are under investigation for misappropriation, following revelations contained in a controversial exposé published last autumn by L’Espresso journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pictures: Second Peaceful PEGIDA UK March Takes Place in Birmingham, German Founder Lutz Bachmann Speaks

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom — Hundreds of ‘anti-Islamisation’ protesters descended Birmingham today for the second march of the PEGIDA UK movement, fashioned on the German marches that have attracted up to 18,000 people to the streets of Dresden.

Organiser Tommy Robinson appeared alongside anti-Sharia campaigner Anne Marie Waters amongst others. But the real star of today’s proceedings was Lutz Bachmann, the founder of the global PEGIDA movement which now has branches in 27 countries.

The march began at Birmingham International Airport’s train station, where the crowd amassed under banners opposing mass migration into Europe, as well as flags from a number of different countries, include Israel and the Czech Republic. The LGBT ‘Rainbow’ Flag also flew.

But what was noticeable about the event today was that the police had cordoned off a part of Birmingham in order to keep the demonstration out of sight of any members of the public. The marchers took their peaceful, silent walk up a closed dual carriageway road, assembling to hear speeches in a business park which was empty for the weekend.

“They’ve marched us in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Robinson, before moving on to speak about how his political activities had for years warned about Muslim grooming gangs. He noted that while there were only a few hundreds in attendance today, the movement was going to shift in order to attract mass appeal over the coming weeks and months, announcing that the next rally would be “through a town centre”. That town centre is going to be Rotherham — where at least 1400, predominantly white girls, were groomed, abused, or raped by gangs of Muslim men.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

UK: Children Form Human Arrow to Help Cops Find Burglars

(ITV) A group of quick-thinking children on an Easter egg hunt dropped to the ground and formed a human arrow to help police find two suspected burglars.

The youngsters were in the middle of a field when they spotted a police helicopter above.

Having already clocked two fleeing men, they laid on the ground with their arms outstretched, pointing to where the suspects were.

The National Police Air Service crew onboard followed the line of the arrow and spotted the pair in some undergrowth.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: NHS to Harvest Babies’ Organs: ‘Ghoulish’ Proposal Gives Mothers Pregnant With a Damaged Foetus an Agonising Choice — Abort the Dying Child or Give Birth So Body Parts Can be Used for Transplants

Women whose babies develop fatal defects in the early stages of pregnancy will be given advice on going ahead with the birth so the NHS can harvest their organs, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Most expectant mothers opt for termination after being told the devastating news their child has no chance of survival once born.

But now, amid a chronic shortage of donated organs, mums will be ‘supported’ to have the baby at nine months so that the child’s vital organs can be taken for transplant.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Police Identify 28 Jihadis Plotting Attacks in Brighton

An investigation into three brothers who left Brighton to fight in Syria has uncovered a further 25 jihadists in the south coast town.

Court orders have prevented a further three from travelling to join jihadist groups, but counter-terrorism officials warn the group may plot to kill at home in a Lee-Rigby style attack.

The sea-side party-town of Brighton on the south coast of England is best known for being the gay capital of Britain, and home to one of the largest LGBT populations in the country.

But a secret investigation by Brighton and Hove council officials and counter-terrorism experts carried out two years ago uncovered a hotbed of jihadist activity, which officials feared may lead to vigilante attacks on the streets of Brighton, The Sunday Times has reported.

Despite the fears, it appears that no arrests have been made…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Violence Erupts at Brussels Anti-Extremist Demonstration

Shocking footage has emerged of a Muslim woman being mown down by a car in a hit-and-run during an anti-Islam rally in the Brussels district of Molenbeek

Editors note: at this time it is impossible to determine the veracity of the implication that the driver is a so-called “right wing extremist.” We have seen false flag incidents in the past to incite violence and propagandize sympathy for Islamic extremists. The example of the staged image of the “dead” child supposedly washed up on the Greek shoreline comes to mind. We will continue to monitor this story and report on the facts as they become more apparent. As always, Infowars decries the actions of direct violence and any attempt to attach that violence to peaceful demonstrations against the encroaching anti-west, anti-human ideologies that drive and fuel Islamic fundamentalism.

Shocking footage has emerged of a Muslim woman being mown down by a car in a hit-and-run during an anti-Islam rally in the Brussels district of Molenbeek.

Video footage of the incident shows the white Audi A1, which had ploughed through a police road block, driving head-on into the woman as she crossed the road.

The woman was thrown off the car’s bonnet and skidded along the road, while the driver continued moving forward and appeared to run over her legs.

The passenger even appears to lean out of the window to take a photo after breaking through the police barricade.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: Poll Shows 74% Against Military Action in Libya

Speculation continues regarding possible intervention

(ANSA) — Rome, April 1 — Over seven out of 10 Italians, 74%, are against military intervention in Libya, according to an Ixè poll for RAI 3 released on Friday. Libya’s increasing political instability and geographic proximity to Italy have recently given rise to speculation regarding a possible military operation.

Renzi has stressed that Italy would only use its armed forces in Libya as part of an “international initiative” following a request by a “super solid” Libya government.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Iraq’s Coming Apocalypse

No, it’s not ISIS or rampaging Shi’i militias. It’s the Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest, and its possible collapse, perhaps leading to millions of deaths. Those in the know worry catastrophe could strike this spring, as snows melt and build an uncontrollable water pressure.

Hastily built in wartime for the dictator Saddam Hussein by a German-Italian consortium, the Mosul Dam was located where it is because one of Hussein’s cronies came from the area and used his pull, despite the fact that engineers knew from the start that its porous gypsum base could not sustain such a huge structure.

What was then called the Saddam Dam opened in 1984 and within two years needed constant grouting, that is, day and night infusions of microfine cement, lots of it — 200 million pounds over the decades — to keep it from collapsing. The grouting keeps the foundational problem from worsening but does not solve it.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pentagon is ‘Actually Training Islamist Militants’ In Syria

Radio Sputnik discussed the latest revelations with Middle East analyst and Editor of Politics First magazine Marcus Papadopoulos.

“Ever since the end of 2011 beginning of 2012 when the West really began to intervene in Syria, the West has projected this idea to the world that honorable America is training and arming freedom fighters in Syria,” the analyst said.

“The reality is that America is not honorable and that the people who the Americans have been training for the last five years in Syria are not freedom fighters, they are not rebels. They are militants. They are Islamist militants. They are terrorists. These are the people who have been carrying out some of the most heinous crimes imaginable not just against Sunnis in Syria but also against Shia, Alawites, Jews and Christians.”

He further spoke about how the US has a long history of working with Islamists. He gave examples of Afghanistan and Bosnia and how the US had contact with Osama bin Laden.

Talking about Syria, Warren said that the US has not renounced its objective of overthrowing the Syria government. Similarly the US has not told Turkey to close its border with Syria although Turkey is a strong US ally.

“American strategy in Syria is a total and utter mess, it is completely chaotic. They have an openly stated objective which is the overthrow of President Assad and the Syrian government. That of course contravenes UN charter and the International law but since when have the Americans been genuinely committed to international law and the UN charter,” the analyst said.

He further spoke about the different branches of the American government and how they have been supporting various groups in Syria and how all those groups have one thing in common. And that is that all of them are Islamist terrorist groups.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Water: Islam’s New Target to Crush the West

Before the Middle East petro-dollar collapses any further under the weight of oil-flooded markets, another tactic to diminish the economy of other countries has been instituted. While the desert-bound muslim nations have profited from vast oil reserves, they have continued to suffer from lack of the one true life-giving resource-water. And under the very noses of governments spanning from Tanzania to the United States that are already dealing with drought conditions, their water is being depleted and amassed for islam’s benefit.

Along the banks of the Colorado River in California and Arizona, tens of thousands of acres of farmland have been purchased by Saudi Arabia’s Almarai Company. The harvest to be yielded? Alfalfa, a water-hog crop, grown to be shipped to feed the Arabian dairy industry.

What may appear to be somewhat insignificant in the overall scheme of things, is actually anything but. It is a targeted undermining of the resource most necessary to feed our own people, especially while the EPA institutes further restrictions (WOTUS) on water consumption by farmers and ranchers. A few million dollars collected for land sales to Saudi agri-business cannot outweigh the overall depletion of American aquifers, placing the interest of muslim nations above that of our own.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Fighting on the Border of Nagorno-Karabakh. Putin Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire

Violent clashes and attacks on Armenian villages have caused civilian casualties. The victims include children. Nagorno-Karabakh, born from the dissolution of the USSR, like Azerbaijan, claims autonomy. In the past there have been massacres of Christian Armenians by Muslim Azerbaijanis. The area is rich in oil. Turkey and Russia vie for influence in the region.

Stepanaguert (AsiaNews) — Alarming news from the Caucasus reports renewed, unusual and intense fighting along the south-east and north-east border between the — unrecognized — republic of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. The chief press officer of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Tigran Babayan, said that “on Friday night [between 1 and 2 April] Azerbaijan launched a massive armed attack on the border with tanks, artillery and helicopters” , accompanied by bombing of civilian villages populated by Armenians. The Nagorno Karabakh Ministry of the Defense claims that it “shot down a helicopter in the north-east boundary” inflicting “heavy losses on the enemy.” Azerbaijan immediately denied the news of shooting down a helicopter, but did not deny the resumption of hostilities, blaming the Armenians.

Until 12 o’clock yesterday, fighting continued with ferocious intensity in the areas of Khojavend- Fizuli and Agdam-Agdere-Teter.

An Armenian girl, Vaghinag Gregorian, only 12 years old, was killed yesterday morning in the Marduni region, victim of the Azerbaijani artillery shells fired at a village inhabited by Armenians, located not far from the border with Azerbaijan; two other children were seriously injured.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called “the two sides” asking them “for an immediate ceasefire, refraining from violence to prevent more civilian casualties”.

The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov discussed the worrying escalation in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, waiting for the President of the Republic to return from an official visit to the USA, the premier Ovig Abrahamian has called an emergency meeting of the government to take the necessary measures in response to “this unprecedented hostility launched by the enemy,” adding they are “ready to use all necessary measures to rectify the situation”.

For his part, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian discussed the delicate situation by telephone with the Special Representative of the European Union, with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and the OSCE representative Andrzej Kasprzyk.

Official sources in Armenia do not rule out that Turkey could be behind this unprecedented armed attack, the worst since 1994, which openly supports the Muslim Azerbaijan against Christian Nagorno Karabakh, to create disturbances on the outskirts of Russia, in an extremely important strategic area for Moscow. The same sources point the finger at the international community’s silence on Azerbaijan’s numerous violations of the truce, has done nothing but “encourage Azerbaijan to increase continuous violations, with the certainty of impunity” .

Yesterday afternoon, the spokesman of the Republic of Nagorno Karabkh announced that the armed conflict has broken out and that the Karabakh armed forces continue to keep control of defense positions, denying reports in the Azerbaijani press, of a collective panic of Armenians. “We are naturally concerned by such a situation,” he said, “but there is no panic. We defend our country, our future and that of our children. Who defends the Azerbaijani side? Are they ready to die to defend only the corruption of (President Ilham) Aliyev? “.

The self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is populated entirely by Armenian Christians who Stalin had arbitrarily detached from Armenia and included in Soviet Azerbaijan’s borders. Before the collapse of the USSR, following a referendum, the people of Karabakh republic declared their s secession from the USSR and Soviet Azerbaijan. When it became independent, Azerbaijan refused to recognized the independence of Nagorno Karabakh perpetuating an open war against Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia, which lasted over three years (1992-1994), causing more than 30,000 deaths.

A ceasefire requested by Azerbaidjan and negotiated with the OSCE ended the war without solving the problem and daily violations of the cease-fire have been registered, with frequent shootings and rocket fire, but without arriving at the level of conflict that has been renewed over the past few days.

Azerbaijan, rich in oil, with an annual defense budget that exceeds the entire budget of the Republic of Armenia, continually threatens to reclaim the “separatist” territory by force, although it has been fully independent for over 25 years . Armenia, backed by Russia, has always come out in defense of Karabakh to save the Armenians from possible massacres such as those which occurred in the recent past in Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad in the 1990s. These crimes against humanity have gone unpunished.

Since 1994, the OSCE hascontinued in vain to look for a permanent solution to the problem that threatens to set off the powder keg of the Caucasus.

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

China’s Tight Control of Speech

Since taking office three years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been stepping up political regimentation, including a tighter grip on thought education. Now he is increasing control of the media and the Internet. The strict control of speech and media activities may reflect Xi’s desire to maintain social stability as China endures an economic slowdown. Such moves may also point to the difficulty Xi is experiencing in his bid to maintain the Communist Party’s rule as the country confronts various domestic as well as diplomatic challenges.

While Xi’s crackdown on rampant corruption among both high- and low-ranking officials may have the support of the general public, his stringent control of speech and media outlets could increase people’s frustration — a potential source of social instability. When a nation becomes economically advanced, the usual course that follows is the pursuit of democratization in the political sphere. Xi should keep in mind that his moves could bring unexpected effects.

China’s leadership has taken a series of actions to tighten its grip in areas related to free speech, human rights and religion. It put into effect a state security law last July and an anti-terrorism law in January. It announced a regulation in February to exclude foreign capital-funded companies from the business of selling e-books. The Chinese People’s Congress, which ended its latest session in mid-March, withheld adopting new laws to control foreign nongovernmental organizations or Internet security but decided to treat them as “major tasks” to be tackled in the coming year. Japan, the United States, Canada and Germany had expressed concerns over the foreign NGO legislation, which would have placed them under the surveillance of public security agencies and would have required them to regularly submit reports on their funding and activities.

Xi’s regimentation policy is believed to be based on Document No. 9, which was leaked in August 2013 after it was secretly issued in the spring of that year by the General Office of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. It bans the promotion of Western constitutional democracy, civil society, universal values and the Western concept of journalism among others on the grounds that they undermine the party’s leadership and social foundation.

There are signs that the government’s control has been extended even to the sphere of economic statistics. On Feb. 18, the People’s Bank of China suddenly canceled a monthly announcement of foreign exchange fund balance at banks, raising the suspicion that China wants to hide the true situation of its foreign exchange reserves. Kyodo News quoted a Chinese academic as saying that scholars have difficulty in retrieving information from the Internet.

The Communist Party’s ideology sections, the state security authorities, the police and the military may be imbued with the idea that forces and elements hostile to the party’s rule are actively seeking to undermine it. But the more they crack down on human rights lawyers, journalists and foreign activists, the more it will deepen domestic frustration and other countries’ distrust of China. Such attempts could also likely to damage China’s ties with other nations. Democratization efforts will be indispensable if China is to attain economic and social stability at home as well as to maintain friendly relations with the world’s other leading economies — all of which are democracies.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

China: Xi Jinping Blocks Party Renewal: He Wants to be the 21st Century Mao

The institutional reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping to avoid a repeat of the horrors of Maoism have been thrown overboard by the current supreme leader, now to all intents and purposes the “central core of leadership.” Ahead of the next CCP Congress, he refuses to recognize or inform those who should succeed him. In order to stay in power until 2027. The beginning of the deification of Xi: Those who shake his hand, don’t wash it for a week. Analysis of the leading expert on China, courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) — In December 2015, Chinese President, Communist Party Secretary and Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping took on the additional title of “Core of the Leadership” (“领å¯1/4æ ¸å¿ƒ”). This is just one of several recent signs indicating that a Maoist-style personality cult is being built around the 62-year-old leader. Within China’s party-state apparatus, the President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has issued new instructions on cadres’ professing “absolute loyalty” to the leadership. While visiting the party’s three most important mouthpieces, Xi called upon journalists to “remain in a high degree of unison with the party central authorities in thought, politics and action.” While some of Beijing’s observers have wondered whether a new ideological campaign is beginning 50 years after Mao Zedong kicked off the disastrous Cultural Revolution (see China Brief, February 4), others have focused on a question that is of more practical significance for China’s overall development: whether Xi’s personality cult is geared toward prolonging his rule from the usual 10-15 years. This issue has assumed added importance as preparations for the 19th Party Congress next year—one of whose major tasks is to induct younger-generation leaders to the Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC)—will begin shortly.

Last week, the propaganda apparatus circulated Xi’s instructions that all cadres study an article written by Mao Zedong entitled “The Work Methods of Party Committees.” In the 1949 piece, the Great Helmsman urged cadres to cleave closely to the banzhangï1/4ˆç­é•¿ï1/4‰literally “head of the class” or generally speaking, “the boss”—and “don’t make [groundless] comments behind his back” (People’s Daily, February 26; Cable TV [Hong Kong], February 26). [1] This echoed Xi’s earlier dictums that, at least according to his detractors, were aimed at imposing uniformity of thinking among cadres. Last year several senior officials, including the former Party Secretary of Hebei province Zhou Benshen and former Governor of Sichuan province Wei Hong, were detained for investigations for wangyi (妔è(r)(r)), “making groundless criticisms,” and of “being disloyal” to the top leadership (, February 4;, January 10). Given Xi’s new status as “core of the leadership,” these cadres were in effect disciplined for failing to profess fealty to Xi. After all, infractions such as wangyi and disloyalty—which were only recently inserted into the Party’s list of disciplinary violations—have been interpreted as overly vague and subject to the arbitrary interpretations of the top leadership (Apple Daily [Hong Kong], November 2, 2015; BBC Chinese, October 20, 2015).

During his inspection tour of the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television (CCTV), Xi seemed to be merely echoing the CCP’s traditional propaganda policies when he asked editors and commentators to “love the Party and protect the Party” through “materializing the party’s will, reflecting the Party’s views, and safeguarding the Party’s authority” (People’s Daily, February 20). However, in light of the larger-than-life status that Xi has assumed, an equals mark may well have been drawn between the Party and Xi. As respected Beijing-based historian Zhang Lifan noted regarding Xi’s tour of the three news institutions, “Xi’s message is ‘I’m the only big boss, and you must serve me well’“ (Ming Pao [Hong Kong], February 20). Xi’s demigod-like status in the Maoist mold was illustrated by the marvelous qualities now being ascribed to him. A young female journalist on CCTV’s staff described shaking Xi’s hand, as “full of flesh and particularly warm.” The journalist reportedly did not wash her hand for the rest of the day (VOA Chinese, February 28; [Shanghai], February 28).

The most significant political fallout of Xi’s one-upmanship is that he could discard the well-established party tradition of a top leader holding power for no more than ten years. [2] As a result of Deng Xiaoping’s institutional reforms in the early 1980s, the Chinese Constitution stipulated that a premier or state president cannot serve for more than a decade. The CCP Charter, however, sets no tenure limits for positions such as CCP General Secretary or the heads of powerful organs such as the Central Military Commission, merely stating that no one can enjoy life tenure and that cadres “with age and health issues” should retire. Moreover, the concept of “core of the leadership” seems to imply a special status, meaning Xi would follow a different set of rules and not be bound by fixed terms of office.

Since late 2015 these developments have increased speculation that Xi would serve at least until the 21st Party Congress of 2027, when he will be 74 years old (Ming Pao, February 15; Radio Free Asia, February 8). In a country that respects old age, recent leaders, including Deng and former President Jiang Zemin, have remained influential well into their eighties.

The clearest indication of Xi’s desire to stay in power for an additional 15 years or more is whether the supreme leader is eagerly grooming Sixth-Generation officials (a reference to cadres born in the 1960s) for promotion to the PBSC at the 19th Party Congress. At the 18th Party Congress four years ago, only two Sixth-Generation rising stars made it to the ordinary Politburo. They are Guangdong province Party Secretary Hu Chunhua (born 1963) and Chongqing municipality Party Secretary Sun Zhengcai (b. 1963). Hu, a former first secretary of the Communist Youth League (CYL), is a protégé of former President Hu Jintao, who heads the CYL Faction in CCP politics. Sun, a former minister of agriculture, is considered close to former Premier Wen Jiabao. If Xi were sticking to traditional norms, he would promote Hu (unrelated to Hu Jintao) and Sun to the PBSC at the 19th Party Congress in preparation for their assuming the top posts of general secretary and premier at the 20th Party Congress slated for 2022.

It is not a secret, however, that Xi wants to buck the tradition of having his predecessor pick the next general secretary. This tradition of the “cross-generation designation of successors” goes back to the 14th Party Congress of 1992, when Deng Xiaoping handpicked Hu Jintao as the successor of Jiang Zemin. Similarly, Jiang nominated Xi as former President Hu’s successor at the 17th Party Congress of 2007. Xi is said to be particularly dead-set against Hu Chunhua, a standard-bearer of the rival CYL Faction, succeeding himself (, January 15; Radio Free Asia, August 17, 2015). Meanwhile, Xi is grooming his own Sixth-Generation cadres for top party slots. The fact that almost all of these neophytes seem to lack the stature and experience to make the PBSC next year does not seem to worry Xi. In fact, this could become a convenient pretext for delaying the leadership turnover process for five years. In other words, the PBSC to be endorsed at the 19th Party Congress will still be dominated by Fifth-Generation leaders (a reference to top cadres born in the 1950s) such as Xi and Premier Li Keqiang. The up-and-coming stars affiliated with Xi may only be inducted to the PBSC at the 20th Party Congress. After training them for five years, the Fifth-Generation “leadership core” may officially hand over the baton in 2027.

So far, most Sixth-Generation cadres close to Xi who have enjoyed the limelight consist of the General Secretary’s personal aides and former secretaries. Take, for example, Ding Xuexiang (b. 1962), a capable administrator who was Xi’s right-hand man when the latter served as Party Secretary of Shanghai in 2007. Ding, a mechanical engineer by training, became Director of Xi Jinping’s Office and Vice-Director of the CCP Central General Office (CCPCGO) in mid-2013. In January 2016, Ding was promoted Executive Vice-Director of the CCPCGO. This was an indication that he might take over the CCPCGO and become a Politburo member at the 19th Party Congress. The incumbent CCPCGO Director, Li Zhanshu, who is also a Politburo member, will likely be inducted into the PBSC next year (Hong Kong Economic Journal, February 15;, August 24, 2015).

Equally dramatic has been the rise of Zhong Shaojun (b. 1968), who was a senior cadre in the Organization Department of Zhejiang when Xi was Party Secretary of the province from 2002 to 2007. Zhong moved with Xi to Shanghai—and then to the Zhongnanhai CCP leadership compound when Xi was promoted to the PBSC in 2007—as Xi’s personal aide. In 2013, Zhong, who had had no military experience, was parachuted into the People’s Liberation Army hierarchy as Director of the Office of the CMC Chairman and Deputy Director of the CMC General Office (CMCGO). Zhong played a pivotal role in helping his boss chase down “corrupt tigers,” particularly cronies of the two disgraced CMC vice-chairmen, Generals Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong. Zhong is slated to become Director of the CMCGO—an office that has gained influence during the Chinese military’s ambitious restructuring during the past few months—at the 19th Party Congress (South China Morning Post, March 11, 2015; Reuters, April 17, 2014).

Other Sixth-Generation officials with rosy promotion prospects include Li Shuli (b. 1964), who was Xi’s assistant when the latter was president of the Central Party School from 2007 to 2012. Li, whose current position is Head of the Disciplinary Inspection Bureau of the Beijing municipal party committee, may be given a top post in the ideological and propaganda establishment. Then there are the Party Secretary of Guizhou Chen Min’er (b. 1960) and Governor of Zhejiang Province Li Qiang (b. 1959). Both were troubleshooters for Xi when he was Zhejiang party boss. Chen and Li Qiang have a reasonably good chance of making the ordinary Politburo at the 19th Party Congress (Apple Daily, February 2; Radio Free Asia, September 8, 2015).

Indeed, while former Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao both managed to build up huge personal cliques—the Shanghai Faction and the CYL Faction respectively—the so-called Xi Jinping clique is only at its embryonic stage (China Brief, February 15, 2013). This is one more reason why “core leader” Xi finds it necessary to stay for at least three five-year terms so as to build up his own coterie of successors and followers, part of whose job will be to safeguard what most observers predict will be a controversial legacy. That this may constitute a body blow to the institutional reforms that Deng introduced in order to prevent the return of Maoist norms is apparently of little concern to Xi, whose ambition seems to be to become a Mao Zedong of the 21st Century.

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

Death by Overwork on Rise Among Japan’s Vulnerable Workers

Japan is witnessing a record number of compensation claims related to death from overwork, or karoshi, a phenomenon previously associated with the long-suffering salaryman that is increasingly afflicting young and female employees.

Labor demand, with 1.28 jobs per applicant, is the highest since 1991, which should help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe draw more people into the workforce to counter the effect of a shrinking population, but lax enforcement of labor laws means some businesses are simply squeezing more out of employees, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Claims for compensation for karoshi rose to a record high of 1,456 in the year ending in March 2015, according to labor ministry data, with cases concentrated in health care, social services, shipping and construction, which are all facing chronic worker shortages.

Hiroshi Kawahito, secretary-general of the National Defense Counsel for Victims of Karoshi, said the real number was probably 10 times higher, as the government is reluctant to recognize such incidents.

“The government hosts a lot of symposiums and makes posters about the problem, but this is propaganda,” he said.

“The real problem is reducing working hours, and the government is not doing enough.”

Kawahito, a lawyer who has been dealing with karoshi since the 1980s, said 95 percent of his cases used to be middle-aged men in white-collar jobs, but now about 20 percent are women.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Philippines: Gunmen Kidnap Malaysian Ship Crew: Reports

KUALA LUMPUR — Gunmen have kidnapped four Malaysians from a ship off the east coast of Sabah state in waters where Abu Sayyaf militants are known to operate, local media reported on Saturday.

If the Philippine Islamist group is confirmed to be behind the kidnapping, it would be their second such hostage-taking in as many weeks and comes amid an uptick in such attacks.

Philippine regional army spokesman Felimon Tan said the military was verifying the reported kidnapping after Malaysian authorities informed them of the incident on Friday.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Govt-Funded Play: ‘Kill Climate Deniers’

(ARTS HUB) — In late 2014, Canberra’s Aspen Island Theatre Company received $18,793 from Arts ACT for the creative development of David Finnigan’s provocatively-titled play, “Kill Climate Deniers.”

The backlash which followed — including complaints by conservative columnist Andrew Bolt and the ACT’s Shadow Arts Minister Brendan Smyth — resulted in a short-lived scandal which was soon forgotten by most of the arts community.

Now Finnigan is preparing to reignite the controversy by launching an e-book of the play at Canberra’s upcoming You Are Here festival, in conjunction with a panel discussion about the merits of government funding for politically sensitive art.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

At Least 17 of Missing 43 Students Burned at Mexican Dump, Say Outside Experts

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Experts have found evidence of a large fire in which at least 17 bodies were burned at a dump in southern Mexico, a member of the investigating team said Friday, in the latest twist in the case of 43 missing teachers’ college students.

Ricardo Damian Torres, speaking from the offices of Mexico’s attorney general, said tests would be conducted in the coming weeks to determine whether it would have been possible to burn all 43 at the dump in the town of Cocula in Guerrero state, where the government has said the students’ bodies ended up after disappearing in nearby Iguala on Sept. 26, 2014.

Relatives of the missing students have fiercely disputed the government’s version of events and multiple previous investigations by other teams of experts concluded they could not have all been burned at the Cocula dump. The government’s perceived mishandling of the symbolic human rights case has dogged the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca Leak Reveals Elite’s Tax Havens

A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing.

The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.

Gerard Ryle, director of the ICIJ, said the documents covered the day-to-day business at Mossack Fonseca over the past 40 years.

“I think the leak will prove to be probably the biggest blow the offshore world has ever taken because of the extent of the documents,” he said.

The data contains secret offshore companies linked to the families and associates of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.

Russian connection

It also reveals a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring that was run by a Russian bank and involved close associates of President Putin…

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

25m “Foreign-Born” Working in US

Some 25 million-or 17 percent-of the total number of employed people in the US were born outside that country as of march 2016, official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have revealed.

The BLS statistics do not distinguish between those who are in the US legally or illegally, and therefore demonstrate the vast number of jobs being denied Americans because of immigration per se.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

AfD Head Frauke Petry: ‘The Immigration of Muslims Will Change Our Culture’

Interview conducted by Susanne Beyer and Jan Fleischhauer

Frauke Petry, head of the populist Alternative for Germany, rejects the notion that her party is too far to the right. In a SPIEGEL interview, she speaks about patriotism, German history and her own childhood.

SPIEGEL: Ms. Petry, in an interview with the right-wing populist weekly Junge Freiheit, you once said: “Many voters want to avoid one thing above all: being associated with the ‘right-wing’.” Now, though, your party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), is a pretty far to the right, to put it politely.

Petry: You are beginning this interview with an insinuation, not a question. That’s too bad! The AfD is a liberal-conservative party. Furthermore, I think it’s wrong to see the political battle between left and right as a fight between good and evil. In Germany, the right is associated with xenophobia and the politics of the Nazi regime. In America, the liberal economic policy of Milton Friedman is seen as right-wing. So it depends on the definition.

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

Cruz Supported Illegal Invasion

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s pro-illegal invasion position has been revealed with the re-emergence of details of his 2014 involvement in activism to help illegals in Texas.

Cruz physically helped a “charity” event to provide tractor-trailers full of food, water, clothing, and toys to the swarm of invaders who had illegally crossed the border in July 2014, and there is ample photographic record of the event, it has emerged.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leftists Organize to Silence Border Patrol Agents Over Trump Endorsement

Radical leftists pushing for an open borders agenda are attempting to destroy the ability of over 80 percent of our nation’s Border Patrol agents to speak out and sound the alarm to the public and to Congress. The Huffington Post reported that the open-borders extremist group, Not1More, is a “prominent immigrants rights group” and that they were behind an effort to have the AFL-CIO kick out the National Border Patrol Council from its ranks. Not1More derives its name from the idea that “not one more” illegal alien should be deported from the U.S.

The attacks on Border Patrol agents ramped up after Breitbart first reported that the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) had endorsed Donald Trump for President. The organization broke from a history of never endorsing during a presidential primary, perhaps largely due to Trump’s stance that the actual Border Patrol agents who guard our nation’s borders should sit at the head of the table for any discussion determining U.S. border security policy. The Trump campaign, through senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, publicly declared that they would secure the border by listening to the agents in the NBPC, thereby giving the agents the ultimate platform to hold Trump accountable if he did not follow through on his promise—and unprecedented move for a presidential candidate.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Trump: ‘I Will Never Back Down From Supporting and Fighting’ For Border Patrol Agents

GOP presidential candidate and frontrunner Donald Trump spoke exclusively with Breitbart Texas on the most recent far left attacks against the organization representing over 80 percent of the Border Patrol agents who protect U.S. borders. The group, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), gave their first-ever endorsement during a presidential primary to Trump and now far left efforts are under way to have the group excommunicated and to end their affiliation with a larger union organization.

Trump told Breitbart Texas, “I will always have the backs of the Border Patrol agents who protect America. I know they will never be intimidated by any bullies trying to push them out of the AFL-CIO, and I will never back down from supporting them and fighting for them every day. Together, we will end illegal immigration and save America.”

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

If Bakers Can be Forced to Service Faux Weddings, So Can Churches

As our Great Sexual Heresy continues its march onwards and downwards, state governments have forced bakers, wedding planners, florists and other businessmen to service faux weddings. This is unprecedented, as never before were Americans governmentally compelled to participate in events they found morally objectionable. Yet when some project out on our cultural trajectory and say churches one day will be subject to the same coercion, they’re met with laughter; this will never, ever happen, they’re told. Yet this is an illogical and inconsistent position.

Prefacing a statement in opposition to the hapless bakers at a campaign stop a while back, presidential pretender John Kasich opined, “I think, frankly, our churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them.” That such a statement need be made — and that it was said so lukewarmly — indicates we’ve already taken the first step toward just such coercion. Yet the main point is that the position reflects fuzzy thinking.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UK: Oxford Theology Students Won’t Have to Study Christianity Throughout Their Degree

Head of the theology faculty said he would rather students moved away from the Church altogether and instead study subjects like ‘Buddhism in space and time’.

[Comment: More suppression of all things Christian.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

11 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/3/2016

    • I have a Chromebook and haven’t experienced any of the problems listed. I visit The Conservative Treehouse for news on topics many won’t cover, especially Donald Trump stories. I’ve never been warned off.

      Obviously, if this story is true we’ll be getting notices from our readers when they get around to us. I guess the Baron will have to post a prominent notice to disregard.

      Those scare tactics are of limited value. Once people learn what the real story is, they’ll simply ignore the warnings.

  1. Re: Theft of copper in Italy. Theft of copper and electrical wire is common in Britain – usual suspects…

    • In [x-country] there was a joke that they were the first to go wireless. (I heard this for several places where the theft of wire for the commodity content was rife.)

  2. Non ferrous metal theft is a worldwide criminal problem, it ranges from organized criminal operations to small thefts by folks with substance abuse problems here in the USA many salvage and scrap yards require ID and also record the vehicle’s plate numbers. I’ve done some scrapping in my day connected with my employment. When aluminium was high lawn furniture was even being stolen from folks yards, patios and decks. It’s an ongoing problem. Through the winter many vacation homes in my area have been looted of all copper piping.

  3. The Panama Papers – And much more
    Mossack Fonseca

    “‘I remember that Erhard Mossack, their father, was in the S.S. I believe after the war he became a journalist.’

    German media have reported that Erhard served as a Rottenfuehrer – roughly corresponding to a senior corporal – in the Waffen, or fighting arm, of the dreaded S.S.”

    Horst Mossack, half-brother of ‘Panama Papers’ lawyer Jürgen Mossack

    Panama Papers

  4. “Jürgen also has a brother and sister, Peter (pictured) and Marion, who returned to German in the 70s. Peter is the Honorary Consul for Panama in Frankfurt”

    Jürgen Mossack is the co-founder of Mossack Fonseca

  5. After further investigation re the Chromebook “security warnings” , I found a number of websites offering information on shutting down this feature. This one is particularly good:

    It has a screen capture of the place in “Settings” where you can disable this by simply unchecking the box. However, until I experience this problem I’m going to ignore what has been (so far) a non-problem. Our office computer – a gift from a donor in Texas – runs on Microsoft’s operating system; that will allow me to do a comparison check.

    This Chromebook has been a godsend for people like me who have to spend a lot of time in bed (or on a newly-acquired chaise longue, yay!). It’s incredibly lightweight and much easier to work with. But you can’t get Skype or make Word documents with it. For fast typists, Google Docs is an inferior product. For amateurs like me it works fine.

    I switched from Microsoft when they foisted Windows 8 onto everyone. I already hated 7 due to its inferior Word product and the reviews I read about 8 weren’t encouraging. With fibromyalgia, the touch screens are torture.

    Also, I kept my old XP for its superior Word system…nothing beats it for writing long essays. When I had to go with 7 after they stopped supporting XP, I was assured I’d “get used to” the newer, inferior version. I never did. Someone gave me their much better XP laptop (much better than mine) and that is what I find useful for my writing projects…still have to finish transferring over my various documents, though.

    Sooo…if you’ve been keeping score, I have a Microsoft desktop along with Skype (I won’t even bother trying to describe the Rube Goldberg contraptions in the B’s office though he uses the newer 7 version I have downstairs also), an ‘un-plugged’ XP laptop for CDs and writing in Word, and a Chromebook for my everyday use. I should call this last one my Bedbook. It really is a great machine if your ability to sit is limited.

    The one thing I’m not certain of is how long-lived Chromebooks are. The first one I had gave out after nine months.

    • I use Firefox as my browser, with Google as default search engine. Just tried finding GoV with Google Chrome as browser; no problems. Maybe it’s regional (I’m in the UK)?

  6. Albanians and organized crime go hand and glove. I am not sure why but they have taken over all the former crime rings that used to be MAFIA run in New York and New Jersey. And I hear they are ruthless against their enemies.

    In Europe they operate child abduction rings, make and sell Child porn, sell illegal drugs and commit murder for hire. Just look up what INTERPOL has on that group of no-good-niks.

    And let us not forget the Albanian refugees from New Jersey who sit in prison on Terrorism convictions for planning to kill US soldiers at Fort Dix, NJ.

    In the early 2000’s, Albanian refugees from Kosovo operated a car theft ring in New York . They stole high end cars in those states and brought them to Jacksonville Fl. Then tried to ship them to Middle Eastern countries… like Yemen and Oman . A shipping company owned by an African company was used to ship the illegal cargo. This little enterprise failed when the Coast Guard stopped the ship in the St. Johns River in Jacksonville on the pretext of a dangerous condition ( damage) on the side of the ship. BOOM! Busted for illegal cargo. YOUR papers, please.

    There are 3 also who lived in NC, who also planned to kill soldiers on the base at Fort Bragg. They also sit in prison.

    Several years ago, a large group of Albanian refugees from Kosovo (muslim) gang in the North Eastern States of the good old USA which is “always a sucker for ALL ALBANIAN refugees”, was stealing entire ATM machines. At least 75 of them over 3 months time in at least 6 states.

    ADT managed to get pictures of some of the villains and the trucks by placing advanced camera systems in many ATM machines of 2 banks in New Jersey and New York .

    The gang stole the entire machine in the middle of the night by hooking a wrecker truck with chains on to it and then yanked the machine off its base or even out of a wall in a shopping center .
    BINGO!! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ It was estimated that $500,000 was taken. Banks never let you know exactly how much… but it was huge.

    40 Albanian gang members ( and even some wives) living in New Jersey and New York were arrested and received long sentences with DEPORTATION after they served their sentences.

    AFTER all the US , Bill Clinton and NATO did for the Albanians of KOSOVO, you would think that they would have SOME gratitude.
    NAW, not only are they criminals, they are INGRATES!

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