Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/21/2018

The alleged serial bomber in Austin, Texas has now been identified as a 24-year-old man named Mark Anthony Conditt. Mr. Conditt detonated a bomb inside his vehicle, killing himself, after police had tracked him down and closed in to arrest him. His motives are unknown.

In other news, an immigrant from Ghana is on trial in Italy for allegedly raping and impregnating his 13-year-old daughter.

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

Thanks to Charles Low, Dean, DV, Insubria, JD, Red Mike, 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.

» Austin Serial Bombing Suspect ID’d After Blowing Himself Up
» Design of Doomed FIU Pedestrian Bridge Was Vulnerable to Failure
» Facebook Keeps Track of a Terrifying Number of Details About You: Here’s How to See That Data
» Montreal Man Accused in Michigan Airport Stabbing Faces New Terrorism Charge in U.S.
» Police: Maryland School Shooter Used His Father’s Handgun
» Profs: Scientific Objectivity Reinforces ‘Whiteness’
» Selco: The Shocking Reality of SHTF Medicine and How to Prep for When the Medical System is Gone
» Students Urged to ‘Punch Nazi Homophobes’ At Conservative Paper
Europe and the EU
» Dutch Tourists ‘Drugged, Gang Raped’ By ‘African Descent’ Men on Trip to Belgium
» France Proposes Criminals Monitor Online Hate Speech as Part of Community Service
» Italy: US Tourist Moves Pompeii Mosaic for Photo
» Italy: Centre Right Claims Senate Speaker, House to M5S
» Italy: Elliott Plan for TIM ‘Coincides With Public Interest’
» Italy: Father on Trial for Raping, Impregnating Daughter
» Vatican Media Chief Viganò Quits Over Benedict ‘Lettergate’
Middle East
» What the Saudi Prince’s Visit Really Means
Sub-Saharan Africa
» World Finally Notices Plight of South Africa’s Minority Farmers
» Israel Agrees to Halt Deportations of Canada-Bound Asylum-Seekers
Culture Wars
» Atheist Group Targets Voluntary Student Bible Study
» Free Speech at Universities is in Crisis

Austin Serial Bombing Suspect ID’d After Blowing Himself Up

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The suspect in the deadly bombings that terrorized Austin blew himself up early Wednesday as authorities closed in on him, bringing a grisly end to a three-week manhunt. But police warned that more bombs could be out there.

The suspect’s motive remained a mystery, along with whether he acted alone in the five bombings in the Texas capital and suburban San Antonio that killed two people and wounded four others.

Police zeroed in on the 24-year-old man in the last 24 to 36 hours and located his vehicle at a hotel on Interstate 35 in the suburb of Round Rock. Officers were waiting for armored vehicles to arrive before moving in for an arrest when his vehicle began to drive away, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference.

Authorities followed the vehicle, which ran into a ditch on the side of the road, he said.

When members of the SWAT team approached, the suspect detonated an explosive device inside the vehicle, the police chief said. The blast knocked one officer back, and a second officer fired his weapon, Manley said…

A law enforcement official identified the dead man as Mark Anthony Conditt. The official, who has been briefed on the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly…

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]

Design of Doomed FIU Pedestrian Bridge Was Vulnerable to Failure

The Florida International University pedestrian overpass that collapsed catastrophically during construction last week was advertised as a “cable-stayed” bridge, but it actually wasn’t: Instead, it was a modern take on an old bridge design that experts say is vulnerable to failure when a single structural piece is damaged.

And now experts unaffiliated with the project increasingly are focusing on that as a possible cause for last week’s pedestrian bridge collapse, which killed six people on the roadway beneath it.

While it will likely be months before federal investigators lay out an official explanation, growing available evidence suggests that failure of a single diagonal support truss at one end was enough to cause the entire 174-foot concrete span to buckle under its own weight and crash onto Southwest Eighth Street near the entrance to Florida International University.

What now seems certain from video captures and enlarged photos of the collapse and its aftermath: Crews for a bridge subcontractor were working on top of the unfinished bridge to tighten steel rods inside a diagonal support truss at the north end of the span — possibly to address cracking that had appeared in the concrete — when the structure abruptly gave way…

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]

Facebook Keeps Track of a Terrifying Number of Details About You: Here’s How to See That Data

Facebook is back in the hot seat, and it’s becoming ever apparent why so many seem to be abandoning the social media website. The number of details that Facebook is keeping track of is borderline terrifying, and here’s how to find out what it knows.

As if the censorship wasn’t bad enough on Facebook, they also use your own personal preferences against you. Recently, it became known that a company called Cambridge Analytica (CA) took data from a reported 50 million Facebook users and built personality profiles in order to serve people with political ads to “target their inner demons,” according Christopher Wylie, the former CA employee who blew the whistle on the situation, as reported by The Observer and The New York Times.

Facebook banned CA from its platform last week and announced it planned to audit the company to verify whether or not the Facebook data had truly been deleted, as CA had promised it had been years ago. And there’s now a slew of investigations being launched over the matter in the United States and the United Kingdom. But the real questions remain: How could Facebook know your “inner demons”? And what exactly does it know?

The truth is that Facebook knows a scary amount of stuff on you. Its whole business relies on watching what you do on Facebook, as well as tracking what you do on the internet via social media plug-ins (like the ability to “Like” a news post on a third-party website) and tracking the apps you install on your phone. — Business Insider

To find out exactly what the social media giant knows about you, log in to Facebook and head to a page called “Your ad preferences.” You can find the page through this URL, or by clicking on the small arrow on the top right of the blue bar and then clicking “settings” and then “ads.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Montreal Man Accused in Michigan Airport Stabbing Faces New Terrorism Charge in U.S.

Amor Ftouhi faces an additional charge of ‘committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries’

U.S. federal prosecutors have added a terrorism charge to the case of a Montreal man who is accused of stabbing a police officer at a Flint, Michigan airport last June.

Amor Ftouhi is a native of Tunisia.

He’s charged with stabbing an officer in the neck at the Bishop International Airport while yelling “Allahu

Akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great.”

The U.S. government added a charge Wednesday: committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. The maximum penalty is life in prison.

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]

Police: Maryland School Shooter Used His Father’s Handgun

A teenager used his father’s legally-owned handgun in an attack inside his high school in Maryland, police said Wednesday.

Austin Rollins, 17, was killed Tuesday morning at Great Mills High School when a school resource officer fired off a shot at the attacker. It was not yet clear whether Rollins took his own life with his father’s semi-automatic Glock handgun or was killed by the officer’s bullet.

Investigators with the St. Mary’s County sheriff’s office said Rollins shot a 16-year-old girl in a hallway within minutes of entering the high school. Rollins and the girl had recently ended a relationship.

“All indications suggest the shooting was not a random act of violence,” police said in a statement.

A 14-year-old boy who was shot in the thigh was released Wednesday from a hospital, while the girl, Jaelynn Willey, was still fighting for her life at a the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center…

           — Hat tip: DV [Return to headlines]

Profs: Scientific Objectivity Reinforces ‘Whiteness’

Science is now racist.

From Campus Reform:

A newly published academic journal article argues that science educators must do more to combat “whiteness” and “White ideology” in the classroom.

In their research essay titled “Towards a truer multicultural science education: how whiteness impacts science education,” University of Colorado at Denver scholars Cheryl E. Matias and Paul T. Le seek to “have the field consider the theoretical frames of whiteness and how it might influence how we engage in science education such that our hope for diversity never fully materializes.”

“Whiteness embraces White ideology, and because Whites are at the apex of the racial hierarchy, whiteness becomes normalized and is invisible to those who benefit the most from it,” the scholars observe. “This is particularly troubling because the normality of whiteness means that Whites do not believe that they are actively investing in White supremacy or racism, which keeps oppression intact.”

While “the [science] culture attempts to be unbiased through peer reviewing and consistent methods and methodologies,” this interpretation “falsely makes us believe that science is an objective enterprise and transcends culture,” the academics assert.

“For many scientists, we are convinced that objectivity prevents an oppressive culture because discoveries are independent of identity,” they observe. “Consequently, we unknowingly spread whiteness ideology.”

Indeed, new liberal science tell us a skyscraper is no better than a mud hut and penicillin is no better than a witch doctor’s voodoo.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Selco: The Shocking Reality of SHTF Medicine and How to Prep for When the Medical System is Gone

Editor’s Note: Something difficult to plan for — or even wrap your brain around — is a world in which medical care is not available. Even though it’s outrageously expensive here in the United States, we can still access care. We may be in debt forever, but it exists.

           — Hat tip: Charles Low [Return to headlines]

Students Urged to ‘Punch Nazi Homophobes’ At Conservative Paper

An unnamed Clemson University student recently placed a sign outside the office of a conservative student publication advocating violence against the “Nazi Homophobes” within.

“Punch Nazi Homophobes!!” proclaimed the handmade sign, which was taped to the office door of The Tiger Town Observer (TTO) last month in an apparent act of intimidation.

“I came into Tiger Media one day when I found a message on my door that said ‘punch nazi homophobes!!’ on it,” Jack Timmerman, a Clemson student and TTO writer who discovered the sign, told Campus Reform. “This was a shock to me because not only am I neither of those things; I always make an effort to get along with everyone in Tiger Media.”

This isn’t the first time the TTO has been threatened on campus. In December 2017, anonymous vandals tore up dozens of copies of a controversial TTO magazine issue dubbed “#NotSatire” and littered them across campus.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dutch Tourists ‘Drugged, Gang Raped’ By ‘African Descent’ Men on Trip to Belgium

Four men “of African descent” have been arrested on suspicion of subjecting two Dutch tourists to a “horrifying” three-hour gang rape ordeal, local media reports.

Investigators believe the alleged victims were drugged while on a night out at discotheque Roxy in Antwerp on Friday night before the attack took place.

The women, aged 21 and 22 from Leiden, told police the last thing they remember from the evening is being at the nightclub, describing “just one black hole” in place of where memories should be.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

France Proposes Criminals Monitor Online Hate Speech as Part of Community Service

The French government is considering allowing convicted criminals to monitor social media for hate speech and cyberbullying as part of their community service.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe revealed the government’s new strategy to combat hate speech and anti-semitism online earlier this week, promising to fight hate speech and hold social media platforms accountable, French business magazine Capital reports.

While the number of “hate-incidents” declined in 2017, for the second year running, Prime Minister Philippe said the government still needed to address the growing rates of anti-semitic and anti-Muslim incidents.

Part of the government plan involves devoting more resources to the French Interior Ministry’s PHAROS programme which monitors illegal acts on the internet such as “paedophilia, incitement to racial hatred, terrorism, and scams using the internet”, according to the Interior Ministry website.

[Comment: Fox guarding hen house.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Italy: US Tourist Moves Pompeii Mosaic for Photo

Man quizzed by police after ‘accident’

(ANSA) — Naples, March 21 — An American tourist accidentally moved some tesserae of a mosaic at Pompeii’s House of the Sailor in order to photograph the mosaic on Wednesday.

Quizzed by police, the man said he had only been trying to get the best snap and was unaware he had shifted some earth built up after recent rain, moving the tesserae.

The bits of the mosaic will be replaced shortly, officials said.

The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD.

It is one of Italy’s most popular tourist sites.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre Right Claims Senate Speaker, House to M5S

Propose joint meeting of all parties to firm up names Thursday

(ANSA) — Rome, March 21 — The centre right on Wednesday claimed the right to name the Senate Speaker and said the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) should get to name the Speaker in the Lower House. In a statement issued after a centre-right summit, the leaders said “the centre right proposes to the parliamentary Whips a joint institutional track enabling the winning coalition (the centre right) to express the Speaker of the Senate and the top parliamentary force the M5S the Speaker of the House”.

Leaders Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi and Giorgia Meloni said “to this end, also to agree the names, the centre-right leaders invite the other political forces to a joint meeting tomorrow”.

Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party has rallied round Senate Whip Paolo Romani as Speaker candidate in the Upper House despite a veto from the M5S over a probe for allegedly misusing a Monza municipal cellphone. Romani, 70, is the candidate of the whole party, FI sources said.

Romani’s candidacy was at the centre of the talks Wednesday with the leader of FI’s main rightwing populist ally the League, Salvini, and the leader of its smaller rightist nationalist ally Brothers of Italy (FdI), Meloni.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Elliott Plan for TIM ‘Coincides With Public Interest’

TIM also oriented in this direction says minister

(ANSA) — Rome, March 21 — Elliott’s plan for TIM which envisages spinning off and floating the network “is a project that coincides with what we intend to do for the public interest,” Industry Minister Carlo Calenda said Wednesday. “But I think that TIM, too, was oriented in this direction,” the minister added.

The Elliott fund and two other allied partners on Thursday asked the TIM board to revoke six directors including the president, Arnaud Roy de Puyfontaine, and the deputy executive president Giuseppe Recchi, replacing them with six of their own.

The other four directors Elliott International, Elliott Associates and The Liverpool Limited Partnership want replaced are Herve’ Philippe, Fre’de’ric Cre’pin, Fe’licite’ Herzog and Anna Jones.

Four of these directors are linked directly to shareholder Vivendi while two are independents but still elected in the majority partner’s list.

Elliott and the other two investors want them to be replaced by the following six: Fulvio Conti, Massimo Ferrari, Paola Giannotti De Ponti, Luigi Gubitosi, Dante Roscini and Rocco Sabelli.

TIM said it would add the issue to its agenda for a shareholders meeting on April 24.

Financial sources said Elliott’s problem was Vivendi and not CEO Amos Genish, who was not included among the execs it wants to replace.

They said the fund considered Genish a very competent TLC expert and his business plan well constructed, and it appreciated the way the management handled the day-to-day running of TIM.

The problems linked to Vivendi allegedly included conflicts of interest that allegedly spurred operations deemed disadvantageous for minority shareholders, the financial sources said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Father on Trial for Raping, Impregnating Daughter

In Modena

(ANSA) — Modena, March 21 — A man from Ghana went on trial in Modena Wednesday for allegedly raping and impregnating his 13-year-old daughter in 2015.

The affair came to light when the man asked if the girl could have an abortion.

The man will be judged in a fast-track proceeding in September, judicial sources said.

He is also accused of hitting his daughter with a stick and leaving her out in the cold.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Vatican Media Chief Viganò Quits Over Benedict ‘Lettergate’

Allegedly doctored photo, misrepresented content

(ANSA) — Vatican City, March 21 — Vatican prefect for the secretariate for communication (SPC) Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò on Wednesday resigned over a flap about a letter from Pope Eemeritus Benedict XVI praising successor Pope Francis, part of which was initially omitted.

Viganò allegedly doctored the letter and described it incorrectly in public on the occasion of the release of an 11-volume collection of Francis theological works.

In the letter, Benedict praised the “continuity” between his pontificate and that of Francis, chiding “foolish prejudice” against his successor.

Viganò initially omitted a part where Benedict criticised the selection of German cleric Peter Huenermann as one of the commentators on the collection.

Huenermann had been a critic of Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II. Until the appointment of a new prefect, the SPC will be headed by its secretary, Msgr Lucio Adrián Ruiz, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said.

“There have been many polemics about my role recently,” Viganò said in a statement.

The pope thanked him for his work and for agreeing to take a “step backwards”.

Viganò, 55, a Milanese born in Rio de Janeiro, will stay on in the communications secretariate in a lower position, believed to be third spot.

The affair, dubbed Lettergate, has proved to be a boomerang for the pope and, far from placating his conservative critics, has given them fresh fuel against him, Vatican watchers say.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

What the Saudi Prince’s Visit Really Means

Perhaps the most dramatic Saudi reform is the one that has received virtually no attention in America. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has led an effort to sweep out the Muslim Brotherhood from teaching and leadership positions in elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges and universities.

           — Hat tip: Charles Low [Return to headlines]

World Finally Notices Plight of South Africa’s Minority Farmers

After years of government-linked slaughter, torture, abuse, and hatred against embattled European-descent farmers in South Africa, the radical government might have finally gone too far by openly vowing to steal their land without compensation. Now, it seems, the world is taking notice. Whether it is too little, too late remains to be seen.

Australian authorities, for one, are speaking out, while also seeking ways to bring in the persecuted farmers before the situation deteriorates further. Even establishment-controlled media outlets, which were obsessed with South Africa under the Apartheid system but now pretend not to see it, have been forced to cover the dismal conditions developing in the so-called “Rainbow Nation.”

The openly racist and communist government leaders of South Africa have been left with few options but to claim that anyone who notices reality is “racist.” But the truth is coming out anyway.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Israel Agrees to Halt Deportations of Canada-Bound Asylum-Seekers

Ottawa has reached a last-minute deal with Israel to suspend the deportation of asylum-seekers who currently are waiting for resettlement to Canada.

Israel is set to begin deporting some 37,000 asylum-seekers, the majority of them Sudanese and Eritreans, in April after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government issued them expulsion notices.

The asylum-seekers, most of them deemed by Israel to be economic migrants rather than refugees in need of protection, can either leave voluntarily for a “safe” African country and receive $3,500 and a plane ticket, or face imprisonment.

The Canadian government is under the gun to resettle 1,845 of the African refugees whose sponsorship applications are currently in process, some for years.

“Canada does not support policies of mass deportations of asylum-seekers. The rights of asylum-seekers and refugees are laid out in the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, of which Israel is a signatory,” said Adam Austen, press secretary for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland…

           — Hat tip: Red Mike [Return to headlines]

Atheist Group Targets Voluntary Student Bible Study

The atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) continues to target the freedom of students to voluntarily meet at school for Bible study. This time it is Indian Creek Middle School near Wintersville, Ohio, where the secularist busy-bodies have demanded that Bobbyjon Bauman, a local clergyman who runs an outreach to young people called the Valley Youth Network, stop conducting a voluntary lunch-time Bible study club for interested students.

In a threatening letter to the superintendent of the Indian Creek School district, FFRF attorney Christopher Line charged that it is “unconstitutional for the district to offer religious leaders access to befriend and proselytize students during the school day on school property. This predatory conduct is inappropriate and should raise many red flags. The district cannot allow its schools to be used as recruiting grounds for churches during the school day.”

In his accusatory secular epistle, Line warned Superintendent Chappelear that in allowing allowing Bauman to conduct the friendly and fun Bible club on campus, the district had “unconstitutionally entangled itself with a religious message — in this case, a Christian message. This practice alienates those non-Christian students, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being endorsed by the school.”

Brushing aside the voluntary nature of the club, and that the scores of kids who have attended have done so because they wanted to meet together, Line turns to the supposed separation of church and state to warn Chappelear that the district “must immediately discontinue allowing Mr. Bauman, or any other preachers, access to students during the school day.”

The phrase “separation of church and state” is found nowhere in the Constitution, which does say (in the First Amendment) that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The intent of the establishment clause was to prevent the federal government from establishing a government-sponsored church along the lines of the Church of England. In more recent times, federal courts have interpreted “an establishment of religion” to include even school prayer and have extended the First Amendment’s scope to include not only Congress but also the states and their public schools.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Free Speech at Universities is in Crisis

n America’s culture war, one of the most important battles currently being waged is taking place on its college campuses. America’s universities — places that should be a bastion of free thought and expression — are increasingly becoming “no-go” zones for conservative speech and thought. But to hear some in the media, free speech on campus is not an issue at all. In fact, certain pundits claim the free speech crisis is a myth.

Over at Vox, Matthew Yglesias writes that “support for free speech is rising,” particularly among liberal college students. Among his sources for this claim is highly questionable polling done by the General Social Survey (GSS), which claims that support for the free speech rights of five proposed types of speakers — a communist, a homosexual, an atheist, a racist and a person who favors a military coup to overthrow the government — has actually grown over the past 45-plus years.

But the GSS survey has serious limitations. For one thing, it is not at all representative of college students since it polls all adults aged 18-34. Further, the study does not include students who live in “group quarters” otherwise known as dorms. Also, the study does not take into account the issues of the times and how they have changed over the years.

For example, in 1970, communism was a much larger geopolitical issue than it is today; and acceptance of homosexuals is much more common now than it was then. Of course, support for the free speech rights for such groups has grown over the years.

Another of these pundits is Jeffery Adam Sachs. In Sachs’ Washington Post article on March 16, entitled The “Campus Free Speech Crisis” is a Myth. Here are the Facts, he cites several polls showing that the majority of young people support the First Amendment in theory. One such poll, a recent Gallup Knight Foundation Survey, claims that 70 percent of students want their campus to be an “open learning environment,” a point that Sachs points to in defense of the atmosphere on college campuses. But the real takeaway from that poll is that nearly 30 percent of college students don’t believe that their campus should be an open learning environment.

Nobody believes that the anti-free speech contingent on our campuses is a majority. They are, in fact, an extremely loud minority. Unfortunately, this obnoxious element has gained the ear of the administration on many university campuses.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

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