Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2018

Italy is in the throes of a serious political crisis after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed the appointment of Paolo Savona as economy minister. Newly-appointed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned in response, which will force new elections to be held. The populist parties are now planning to impeach President Mattarella.

In other news, a French shopkeeper has been fined €3,000 for demanding that a Muslim woman remove her veil.

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

Thanks to AF, C. Cantoni, Charles Low, Dean, JD, Reader from Chicago, SS, 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
» 77 Million Square Feet of Retail Space and Counting — America’s Retail Apocalypse is Spiraling Out of Control in 2018
» Trudeau’s “Moderate” Deficits Continue to be Not So Moderate After All
» Carter Page Speaks Out: This is How the FBI Ruined My Life
» Donald Trump Spends 90 Minutes Shaking Hands With Hundreds of Naval Academy Grads
» Era of Chimeras: Scientists Are Creating Human/Chicken Hybrid Embryos and a Wolf-Like Creature Was Just Shot in Montana
» For Your Eyes Only: A Short History of Democrat-Spy Collusion
» Former Neighbors of PSU Hit-and-Run Suspect ‘Not Shocked’ By His Arrest
» ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ of Internet Routers Compromised by Foreign Actors, FBI Says
» ‘Impossible’ EM Drive Doesn’t Seem to Work After All
» Is the Government Building Secret Tunnels Under America to Prepare for Ww3?
» Leaked Emails: Obama’s WH Used Emotional Propaganda to Push for Gun Control
» Sheriff Clarke Says “Obama Did Know” About FBI Spy in Trump Campaign…calls James Clapper a “Straight Up Liar”
» Social Services Scam in Trusting Minnesota: Millions of Taxpayer Dollars End Up With Al-Shabab, Islamic Jihadist Group in Somalia
» Tired of the Brow Beatings by Those Who Mean to Destroy and Dominate Your Country?
Europe and the EU
» “A Toxic Coup Narrative”: Why Italy’s Political Crisis May be About to Explode
» “Great” Britain Imprisons Man for Speaking Out Against Child Rape
» “He’s a Political Prisoner Whose Life is in Clear and Pressing Danger”: Tommy Robinson Offered Asylum by German MP
» Der Spiegel Against Draghi and Italy, “You Are Scroungers”
» Evening Standard: Hundreds Protest for Tommy Robinson Outside Downing Street
» Farage: Orban is Juncker’s Biggest Nightmare
» First Italy, Now Spain: EU on Alert as Madrid Crisis Shows Huge Cracks in Eurozone
» French Shopkeeper Prosecuted for Asking Woman to Remove Islamic Chador
» Germany: Thousands of Patriots Protest Against ‘Criminal’ Angela Merkel in Berlin
» How Italy’s Smallest Region’s Elections Reflect Country’s Mood
» Italian PM Resigns After President Vetoes Anti-EU Minister Facing Now Impeachment Calls
» Italy: MS5 Counselor Blasts Venice’s Gondolier Exam: Winners Were Preselected
» Italy in Chaos: Country to Vote Again After President Blocks Government; “Unclear What Happens Next”
» Jacob Rees-Mogg Tells Theresa May to Threaten the EU With Cancelling Britain’s £40bn Divorce Bill
» Parliamentary Questions on the Arrest of Tommy Robinson
» Police Seek ‘Asian’ Man After Teen Suffers ‘Horrific’ Alleyway Rape in Small English Village
» Salvini: Minister Who Likes the Germans? No Thanks!
» Swift Injustice: The Case of Tommy Robinson
» Turkish Driver Caught Smuggling 420 Pounds of Heroin Into Europe
» Where is Tommy Robinson? British Authorities Owe us an Answer
» Will Populists Stall Europe?
North Africa
» Algerian Blogger Sentenced to Ten Years for Communicating With Israeli Official
» Egyptians Rage Against Sergio Ramos After Mohamed Salah’s Injury
Middle East
» Diplomatic Tensions Reception Grows Frosty for German Firms in Saudi Arabia
» Imaginary War Serving False Peace
South Asia
» Rohingya Muslim Militants Massacred 99 Hindu Men, Women and Children Who Refused to Convert to Islam
Far East
» Trump All But Confirms Historic Summit With Kim is Back on as US Officials Enter North Korea
Australia — Pacific
» Woman, 52, Accused of Attacking Middle Eastern Crime Squad Officer With a Shard of Glass is Found Not Guilty Because She Claims She Was Trying to Hurt Herself
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Niger: Between Confirmations and Diplomatic Restraints, The Italian Mission Continues
» Shirt of Shame: Britain Dishes Out £62million in Foreign Aid to Rwandan Dictator Who Splurges £30million on Sponsorship for His Beloved Arsenal FC
Latin America
» Watch: American Hostage Joshua Holt Thanks President Trump for Freeing Him From Venezuelan Prison
» Anthony Furey: What’s Next, As Quebec’s Asylum Seekers Swamp Toronto’s Shelter System
» French Interior Minister Announces Imminent Evacuation of Paris Migrant Camps
» Hundreds of Migrants Reach Spain Over Weekend, Austria Calls for EU Border Forces to Deploy in North Africa
Culture Wars
» 17 Hollywood Celebs Lash Out at Trump After New Rule Ends Abortion as Health Care
» How Identity Politics is Changing Universities
» Soros Foundation Spends Millions Annually to Support Transgender Agenda
» To Know Islam is to Know Muhammad

77 Million Square Feet of Retail Space and Counting — America’s Retail Apocalypse is Spiraling Out of Control in 2018

In 2017 we absolutely shattered the all-time record for retail store closings in a single year, and this year it looks like we are going to shatter the record once again. In fact, there are some that are projecting that up to 9,000 retail stores could close by the time that we get to the end of this calendar year. Already, the amount of retail space that has shut down is simply jaw-dropping. If you total up all of the retail store closings that have been announced so far in 2018, it accounts for 77 million square feet of retail space. Let that number sink in for a bit. Many shopping centers and strip malls around the country already have a post-apocalyptic feel to them, and more “space available” signs are going up with each passing day. And in case you are tempted to think that I am making this figure up, here it is straight from Bloomberg…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Trudeau’s “Moderate” Deficits Continue to be Not So Moderate After All

According to Globe and Mail reporter Bill Curry, “Ottawa recorded a $10.6-billion deficit in March and now expects the final deficit figure for 2017-18 will be in line with the $19.4-billion estimated in the February budget.”

This is quite worrying, as the most recent budget tabled by the Trudeau government provided “no timetable for balanced books anywhere on its horizon”.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Carter Page Speaks Out: This is How the FBI Ruined My Life

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page claims that the FBI has ruined his life — telling the New York Post that “the crimes that have already been committed against President Trump, myself and the entire Trump movement are much worse” than Watergate.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Donald Trump Spends 90 Minutes Shaking Hands With Hundreds of Naval Academy Grads

President Donald Trump delivered the commencement speech at the U.S. Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday and vowed to shake the hand of each outgoing student.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Era of Chimeras: Scientists Are Creating Human/Chicken Hybrid Embryos and a Wolf-Like Creature Was Just Shot in Montana

We live at a time when advances in genetic modification have made it possible for scientists to create the most bizarre hybrid creatures imaginable. Even if governments wanted to stop this from happening, the technology is now so widespread that rogue researchers can easily create new lifeforms and release them into the environment anywhere on the planet. Unfortunately, most governments around the world don’t seem too concerned about putting the brakes on this phenomenon. In fact, many governments are actually funding these sorts of strange experiments in the name of “scientific research”. And when the mainstream media does report on these developments, the outcry is very minimal.

For example, today we just learned that scientists at a lab in the United States have been creating human/chicken hybrid embryos…

[Comment: strange wolf pic looks like a wolf crossed with hyena…]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

For Your Eyes Only: A Short History of Democrat-Spy Collusion

How highly placed members of one administration mobilised the intelligence services to undermine their successors…

Who, what, where, when, why? The desiderata school teachers drill into their charges trying to master effective writing skills apply also in the effort to understand that byzantine drama known to the world as the Trump-Russia-collusion investigation.

Let’s start with “when.” When did it start? We know that the FBI opened its official investigation on 31 July 2016. An obscure, low-level volunteer to the Trump campaign called Carter Page was front and centre then. He’d been the FBI’s radar for a long time. Years before, it was known, the Russians had made some overtures to him but 1) they concluded that he was an “idiot” not worth recruiting and 2) he had actually aided the FBI in prosecuting at least two Russian spies.

But we now know that the Trump-Russia investigation began before Carter Page. In December 2017, The New York Times excitedly reported in an article called “How the Russia Inquiry Began” that, contrary to their reporting during the previous year, it wasn’t Carter Page who precipitated the inquiry. It was someone called George Papadopoulous, an even more obscure and lower-level factotum than Carter Page. Back in May 2016, the twenty-something Papadopoulous had gotten outside a number of drinks with one Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat in London and had let slip that “the Russians” had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. When Wikileaks began releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in June and July, news of the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos was communicated to the FBI. Thus, according to the Times, the investigation was born.

There were, however, a couple of tiny details that the Times omitted. One was that Downer, an avid Clinton supporter, had arranged for a $25 million donation from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation. Twenty-five million of the crispest, Kemo Sabe. They also neglected say exactly how Papadopoulos met Alexander Downer.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Former Neighbors of PSU Hit-and-Run Suspect ‘Not Shocked’ By His Arrest

Dawn Holbrook felt a twinge of familiarity Saturday morning as she read news reports that a man had sent three women to the hospital in an apparent hit-and-run on the Portland State University campus the previous day.

The retired counselor was talking about the story with her neighbor when the two came across the name of the man police arrested in connection with the incident.

“Is that Greg Porter from downstairs?” Holbrook said.

Up until last year, the man accused of intentionally driving on the sidewalk near Southwest Sixth Avenue and Montgomery Street in downtown Portland shared a unit with his wife, Mary Porter, at the King City Apartments.

And they lived right below Holbrook.

The incident shook witnesses at the scene, one of whom had to jump out of the way as the blue SUV barreled toward him after hitting the three women. A PSU student said she was considering taking online classes next year because she was so rattled.

One of the victims remains in critical condition at OHSU Hospital, a spokesperson said Saturday morning. Another is in serious condition. And the third is in fair condition.

The name of the man police arrested in Northeast Portland in connection with the tragedy didn’t come as a surprise to Holbrook and another of Greg Porter’s former neighbors.

“I was not shocked at all,” Holbrook, 69, said.

Greg Porter was prone to confrontation, Holbrook and another neighbor, Ralph Garza, told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]

‘Hundreds of Thousands’ of Internet Routers Compromised by Foreign Actors, FBI Says

The FBI issued a warning Friday to Americans with internet routers in their homes or offices to reboot their routers immediately after the agency discover hundreds of thousands of routers had been compromised by foreign actors.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

‘Impossible’ EM Drive Doesn’t Seem to Work After All

Space travel powered by an “impossible” engine that breaks the laws of physics sounds too good to be true, and it probably is.

The so-called EM drive — a rocket engine powered by electromagnetic waves — has been touted as a way to eliminate fuel required for deep space exploration. The idea is championed by inventor Roger Shawyer, whose EM drive uses microwaves trapped in a conical cavity to generate thrust. In previous tests by NASA, the microwaves bouncing off the walls of the engine seemed to produce enough force to push the cavity in one direction.

When the idea was first published it grabbed headlines (including a story in New Scientist that speculated the EM drive could be “the end of wings and wheels”). But it has long been criticised by physicists who maintain that an EM drive would break one of the most fundamental laws of physics — you can’t get momentum out of nowhere. Now, it seems they were right.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Is the Government Building Secret Tunnels Under America to Prepare for Ww3?

Mysterious booms and strange lights in have been reported all over the country and have recently sparked fears that the United States government is building tunnels underground in preparation for a potential nuclear third world war. Residents are convinced that they are hearing sounds and seeing the odd lights, and they are not isolated events.

One man in the Cincinnati area caught the lights on his camera and was even able to capture his son’s reaction…

According to The Daily Star, YouTube channel secureteam10, run by Tyler Glockner, claims that the unexplainable sounds are coming from underground.

He also revealed that just days ago a seismograph recorded something moving from the east to the west coast of the US in just 19 seconds. And since he has uploaded it, viewers have been quick to speculate that something is secretly going on below the surface.

[Comment: Booms noises are undergound construction noises — elites seek to create WW3 and then hide underground from the destruction they will have triggered.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Leaked Emails: Obama’s WH Used Emotional Propaganda to Push for Gun Control

In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, many assumed then President Barack Obama’s tears were insincere; and it turns out, they were right. Leaked emails prove the Obama White House was using emotional propaganda to brainwash the public into accepting the degradation of their human rights.

Propaganda isn’t new to politicians, but it’s nice to have confirmed what most of us already know: gun control is literally being pushed on us by using emotional brainwashing. Obama advisers sought to “tap people’s emotions” for a huge gun-control push after the Sandy Hook shooting.

Rahm Emanuel famously said that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” and apparently that included the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Two days after the horrific school shooting, the Chicago mayor advised then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan to “[t]ap peoples emotions” as they discussed how to leverage the tragedy to push for gun-control restrictions, according to emails published Wednesday by the Baltimore Post…

This is simply more evidence of what we already knew: the easily manipulated have been being brainwashed by high-level politicians to accept their own disarmament and slavery. But it gets worse. As the emails progress, the two tyrants discuss how to create more buzzwords to further manipulate the emotionally weak and shape public opinion to push their dictatorial anti-gun agenda.

[Comment: You can trust a communist to behave like a communist.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sheriff Clarke Says “Obama Did Know” About FBI Spy in Trump Campaign…calls James Clapper a “Straight Up Liar”

Conservative former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who is never one to hold back on his opinion, had plenty to say about Clapper’s attempt to convince Americans that former President Barack Obama had no knowledge of the spy that was planted in his campaign.

Clarke tweeted:

Clapper is a straight up LIAR. He’s been caught at it before. Does anybody think he’d say Obama knew even if Obama did know? And Obama DID know. Clapper: ‘Obama Had No Knowledge’ Of FBI Informant In The Trump Campaign

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Social Services Scam in Trusting Minnesota: Millions of Taxpayer Dollars End Up With Al-Shabab, Islamic Jihadist Group in Somalia

A September 2015 report of the House Homeland Security Committee task force on combating terrorist and foreign-fighter travel revealed that Minnesota led all states in contributing foreign fighters to ISIS. Reviewing the public cases of 58 Americans who joined or attempted to join ISIS, the task force found that 26 percent of them came from Minnesota. Somali Minnesotans occasionally appear in the headlines as “Minnesota men” who have taken up terrorist jihad. In 2015, ten such Minnesota men were charged with seeking to join ISIS in Syria; six pleaded guilty, and three were convicted in June 2016 (one is presumed dead in Syria).

Attending the trial of the three who contested the charges against them, I found that these Minnesota men gave the outward appearance of American assimilation, even though — as became apparent in the recordings introduced into evidence — they all hated the United States. They were young, educated, and bilingual. They moved into and out of the workforce at will. The FBI’s Somali informant worked on the tarmac at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, de-icing planes along with one of the convicted co-conspirators. At one time, all three of the men on trial worked at a local UPS facility in a leafy St. Paul suburb, where they enjoyed watching ISIS videos during their breaks.

I found that they were sophisticated users of social-welfare benefits. Two of four Somali-Minnesotans intercepted at JFK airport in New York en route to Syria had used federal financial-aid funds to finance their travel; one of the defendants even financed one of his planned trips to Syria with a $5,000 debit-card withdrawal on his student-loan account. The daycare case also demonstrates savvy insight into the opportunities to take advantage of the quasi-governmental American social-services apparatus. Ten daycare centers are under investigation for fraud, and dozens more are suspected. Search warrants show that each of these daycare centers has received several million dollars in child-care assistance funds. According to public records and government sources, most are owned by Somali immigrants.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Tired of the Brow Beatings by Those Who Mean to Destroy and Dominate Your Country?

“Racist” is a made up word by Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky in 1927. It’s a word used to browbeat all dissenters of the communist ideology.

Over and over again today, we hear the use of words such as homophobia, Islamophobia, haters, bullies, racists, etc. all coming from those who don’t carry the shield to protect themselves in defense with the law on their side, but rather the spear to attack anyone and everyone that does not tolerate and comply with their lawlessness and treason.

[YouTube Video]

On May 14th, it was reported that a Michigan gubernatorial candidate was called out on his Muslim Brotherhood ties, and cried “racism” & “Islamophobia.”

Abdul El-Sayed is running to be the first Muslim Governor in the 2018 elections in an attempt to turn all of Michigan into Dearborn. When confronted with the facts during a debate for the gubernatorial position in Michigan. what did he resort to? “Racism” (Since when did Islam become a race?) and “Islamophobia.” This is the same way any other ignorant minded individual would act, use totalitarian methods and try to accuse your enemies of that which you are guilty. Are you tired of this yet, America?

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

“A Toxic Coup Narrative”: Why Italy’s Political Crisis May be About to Explode

On Friday Europe experienced an existentially terrifying “deja vu” moment straight from the 9th circle of Europe’s 2011/2012 sovereign debt hell, when first Italian, and then Spanish, yields exploded amid fears of political chaos in the Eurozone’s 3rd largest economy, coupled with the threat of an imminent collapse of the Rajoy government in Spain, the 5th largest economy.

But while Spain is a late entrant to Europe’s “political chaos” soap opera — although with both El Pais & El Mundo calling for an early general election, it is only a matter of time before this particular box of gunpowder also explodes, all eyes remain on Italy where not only have short-term rates blown out to levels that would send MF Global into Chapter 22…

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

“Great” Britain Imprisons Man for Speaking Out Against Child Rape

By Jim O’Neill

Speaking the truth in Britain these days gets you viciously attacked as a knuckle-dragging racist buffoon… Truth has become “hate speech” patriotism is regarded as xenophobic subversion.

English patriot and social activist Tommy Robinson has been arrested and purportedly sentenced to 13 months in prison for attempting to report on an alleged Muslim “grooming gang.” Great Britain (I use the term “great” loosely) has issued a gag order on media, barring them from reporting on Robinson’s plight. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Roibeard O’Longain “Activist Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months for covering Muslim rape trial”

Robinson has been active for several years exposing the epidemic of Muslim rape gangs targeting non-Muslim England children and has been routinely arrested and jailed by UK police attempting to silence him.

Across the UK dozens of Muslim Rape Gangs have been exposed as operating sex trafficking rings targeting non-Muslim girls, some as young as 10, for sexual exploitation, drug peddling and torture. Several deaths have been linked to these gangs.

As I mentioned, if you rely on the British MSM to get your news the chances are slim to none that you are even aware that Tommy Robinson has been arrested, let alone imprisoned (a prison sentence for Tommy may well be tantamount to a death sentence).


[The] MSM policy of “if we don’t report it, it hasn’t happened” attitude has hit us here in the UK with full force: if you look at today’s MSM, the arrest and jailing of Tommy Robinson yesterday simply didn’t happen.

If #Tommy is put on a regular prison wing he will not survive. This is how the British State cleanses those it would prefer silenced. At least the Russians do it in the open #Skripal #TommyRobinson — Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) May 25, 2018

Martin Barillas “Katie Hopkins says fellow activist could be killed while serving sentence: is she right?”

If you to dare speak the truth in Britain these days you are viciously attacked as a knuckle-dragging racist buffoon, as a matter of course. The Powers That Be have a jackboot firmly on the throat of the British people. Truth has become “hate speech” and patriotism is regarded as xenophobic subversion.

Tommy Robinson has warned the USA numerous times that what has happened to once great Britain is inexorably making its way to America. But for the grace of God and Donald J. Trump it would already be here. May God guide, bless, and protect Tommy Robinson. Laus Deo, power to the people!

Please SHARE this story as the only way for CFP to beat Facebook anti-Conservative Suppression.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

“He’s a Political Prisoner Whose Life is in Clear and Pressing Danger”: Tommy Robinson Offered Asylum by German MP

A German member of Parliament (MP) has offered British activist Tommy Robinson political asylum following his arrest on Friday for suspicion of breaching the peace while livestreaming outside the trial of a child grooming gang.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Der Spiegel Against Draghi and Italy, “You Are Scroungers”

The increase in tensions on the Italian markets led the Btp-Bund difference over the 200 basis points threshold; this could have repercussions on the euro, even if for now the trend of the single currency has been determined by other factors. This is what Goldman Sachs analysts write in the daily report ‘Global Markets Daily’: “Most of the drop suffered by the euro, over the last month, reflects other factors, including the slowdown in the growth momentum of the euro. euro area, and the context of a broad strengthening of the dollar. However, judging by the trend in the relationship between the euro and the Swiss franc, we note that Italian risk has played a more central role in determining the trend of the single currency, especially since the first drafts on the M5S-Lega government contract they started to circulate. Going forward, until the Italian risk remains limited to the borders of the country, our forex team does not identify a greater downside risk, on the euro, linked to Italy. However, should the risk turn into an event of a more systemic nature, then the euro would discount the situation, initially more visible in the Eur-Chf report and subsequently in the Eur-Usd exchange rate “. “Based on the sensitivity to premiums on sovereign risk in the peripheral countries, we therefore expect that the euro-dollar ratio could fall by big figures in the case of an increase in systemic risk. If the fears were dampened, the Eur-Usd would go up 5-2 big figures, returning the Eur-Chf to 3.

In Italy, in the meantime, the new prime minister Giuseppe Conte writes on twitter “Very useful work morning, we are working to give the government the change to this country”, after the summit in the Chamber on the governance structure.

On the other hand, the question of the proposal of the new Minister of the Treasury, Savona, is exacerbated. Di Maio points out: “I do not want to talk about names, because these are the prerogatives of President Conte and the President of the Republic. What I can tell you is that there is a lot of compactness, we are very satisfied with the work we are carrying out. We understand each other on the fly “with Conte e Salvini…

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

Evening Standard: Hundreds Protest for Tommy Robinson Outside Downing Street

(EVENING STANDARD) — Hundreds of protesters have descended on Whitehall to demonstrate against Tommy Robinson’s arrest for ‘breaching the peace’ outside a courthouse.

Whitehall had to be closed to traffic as a huge group gathered outside Downing Street on Saturday afternoon, chanting Mr Robinson’s name.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Farage: Orban is Juncker’s Biggest Nightmare

Brussels is like Moscow in the Soviet times, Juncker is a lunatic and Orban is their biggest nightmare, Nigel Farage told Hungarian weekly Hetek.

UKIP’s former chairman and face of the Brexit campaign spoke about the EU’s future and his planned comeback to British politics.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

First Italy, Now Spain: EU on Alert as Madrid Crisis Shows Huge Cracks in Eurozone

SPAIN faces imminent elections after this week’s no-confidence motion rocked the Madrid establishment and dragged the eurozone into a fresh crisis — as Brussels was simultaneously coping with an new Italian government threatening to IGNORE EU rulings it doesn’t like, and of course Brexit.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

French Shopkeeper Prosecuted for Asking Woman to Remove Islamic Chador

A French tobacconist in the commune of Albi has been handed down a three-month conditional sentence and a €3,000 fine after asking a Muslim woman wearing a chador to remove it from her head to identify herself.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Germany: Thousands of Patriots Protest Against ‘Criminal’ Angela Merkel in Berlin

At least five thousand patriots demonstrated in Berlin this afternoon. Most of them are members and supporters of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the organiser of the protest, newspaper Die Welt reports.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

How Italy’s Smallest Region’s Elections Reflect Country’s Mood

Autonomist and Populist tie in Valle d’Aosta: No one reached the quorum, as Traditional parties are officially outplaced, confirming Italy’s political shift

After about 80 days of exhausting political stalemate, residents of Alpine region Valle d’Aosta were called — yet again- to the polls, this time to vote for their regional government. Although the long-standing regionalist and autonomist party, Union Valdotaine has come first with 21%, (dropping ten points — its worst result in 45 years), the most noteworthy result comes — with no surprise — from the far-right-populist League, which for the first time in 20 years is returning to the Valle d’Aosta regional council. They reached 17% reflecting the national outcome of the not-so-recent national elections. While antiestablishment 5SM ranked 4th with 10.4% only. On the other side, Traditional parties had it worst: the Democratic party as well as Berlusconi’s Forza Italia dramatically slumped, without even making it to the council, confirming the major and unprecedent political drift that Italy is undergoing. Traditional parties have been officially outplaced.

In Italy’s smallest region (120.000 inhabitants) where the Autonomist parties — this round we count at least 4 — have always outdone the Populist League (which is very strong is the rest of the Country’s northern scene), this year, Salvini got the same number of seats as the main and historic autonomist Party of the Valley: 7 each. Yet, like on national level, the winners haven’t actually won, since no one reached the quorum, officially opening the political “Talk Season” (sounds familiar?) which — seen the premises, could last a while…

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

Italian PM Resigns After President Vetoes Anti-EU Minister Facing Now Impeachment Calls

ITALY’S newly-appointed Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed the appointment of anti-euro professor Paolo Savona as Ministry of the Economy out of fear he would push Italy out of the euro, leading parties to call for his impeachment and new elections.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Italy: MS5 Counselor Blasts Venice’s Gondolier Exam: Winners Were Preselected


An esteemed trade, family pride. The stakes are high for Venice’s aspiring gondoliers, who must enrol in a training course and pass a physical examination to be welcomed in this exclusive profession. And yet, it comes as little surprise when a local MS5 counselor revealed corruption in the system: Most of the ‘winners’ were chosen before the physical examination, said the administrator. The responsible municipality in the meantime denies any irregularity. Add to the intrigue is a handwritten, anonymous letter, disclosing to councilor Davide Scano, 55 names; 36 of which appear in the list of the 60 chosen ones. Six others are among the 30 reserves. This is a significant percentage considering that there were 238 candidates (whose names had never been made public, mind you, until the after the ranking).

“I received this list from correspondence in the town hall,” explained the councilor of the Five Star Movement. “I decided not to publicize it immediately to verify its reliability.” And yesterday, the day ended with an interpellation that demanded explanations regarding the municipality’s announcement to access and pass the gondolier training course. The course in question allows one to obtain the professional certification for drivers of non-scheduled public transport vessels. In short, it’s a first step in accessing one of the most exclusive professions in the world…

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

Italy in Chaos: Country to Vote Again After President Blocks Government; “Unclear What Happens Next”

In what may have been the worst possible outcome of this weekend’s events in Italy, Rome finds itself on the verge of a Europe-sponsored constitutional crisis.

Recall that when we previewing the possible outcomes of Italy’s government stalemate, in which president Mattarella had threatened to veto the choice of Paolo Savona as economy minister due to his anti-Euro/establishment sentiment, we said that the most likely — and market friendly — outcome, was for President Mattarella to give in to public pressure and the threat of a new election, averting a potential constitutional crisis. We also said that the second most likely outcome, and potentially far worse for markets, was that “if Mattarella and the coalition partners hold firm, we may be set for new elections, with M5S likely to repeat April’s success and Lega likely to increase its share of the votes, eating up Berlusconi’s party.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Jacob Rees-Mogg Tells Theresa May to Threaten the EU With Cancelling Britain’s £40bn Divorce Bill

Jacob Rees-Mogg today told the Prime Minister to threaten the EU with cancelling Britain’s £40billion Brexit divorce deal to secure a trade deal.

The Brexiteer ring leader warned the negotiations so far have been ‘all one way’ but insisted Britain retrained a strong hand in the negotiations.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Parliamentary Questions on the Arrest of Tommy Robinson

by Geert Wilders, Marie-Fleur Agema and Raymond de Roon

Written questions by Geert Wilders, Marie-Fleur Agema and Raymond de Roon, Members of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands belonging to the Party for Freedom (PVV), submitted to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs about the arrest of British activist and Islam critic Tommy Robinson:

1) Have you heard about the arrest of British activist and Islam critic Tommy Robinson for “breaching the peace,” while he was covering a trial of Islamic rapists, and that he was within a few hours convicted to 13 months imprisonment? What do you think of this madness?

2) Do you realize that, if the said Islam critic has to spend his jail sentence among Islamic criminals, this may cost him his life? What is your opinion of this?

3) Does, according to you, freedom of speech also apply to Islam critics in the EU and are you willing to immediately voice your dissatisfaction about this violation of freedom of speech by the United Kingdom to your British colleague and demand his attention for the personal safety of the person involved? If not, why not?

4) Do you and your colleagues in the EU realize that you cannot silence the dissatisfaction in society about Islamization by prosecuting or arresting Islam critics, and that a large segment of the population will at a certain time no longer accept

this and turn against you and your colleagues?

5) Can you answer these questions before Tuesday, May 29, 11 am?

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Police Seek ‘Asian’ Man After Teen Suffers ‘Horrific’ Alleyway Rape in Small English Village

Police have launched a manhunt for an ‘Asian’ man after a teenager in a small Buckinghamshire village was raped in an alleyway.

The victim was standing in an alleyway in Hazlemere, an English village known to date back more than 800 years, at around 8 p.m. on March 15th when a stranger grabbed her and proceeded to rape her, police said.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Salvini: Minister Who Likes the Germans? No Thanks!

The tension on the name of Paolo Savona, indicated as the future Minister of Economy, remains high.

“German newspapers and politicians insult: Italian beggars, slackers, tax evaders, scroungers and ungrateful. And we should choose an Economy Minister that suits them? No thanks! #primagliitaliani “. Matteo Salvini writes it on Facebook, annoyed by the strong pressures that come from Europe.

Salvini joins Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy, who, although he had not changed his mind about the yellow-green government, has judged “Mattarella’s interference” to be unacceptable on Savona and has offered Salvini “his convinced help to claim the right of a government to choose a minister of the economy not indicated by Brussels. Italy is still a sovereign nation, Juncker and Merkel if they make a reason “.

Different tones of the Democratic Party that through a twitter attacks Salfini “Dear Salvini you are playing on the skin of the country for your miserable interests. Instead, governing is taking care of Italy “. The commendate of the former secretary Matteo Renzi, which on Facebook, remembers that the spread rises to the maximum from the 2013, that the loans for the families will cost more and the managers of all this are: Salvini and Di Maio…

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

Swift Injustice: The Case of Tommy Robinson

by Bruce Bawer


The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying. On various occasions over the years, I have been subjected in person to an immediate threat of Islamic violence: I have had a knife pulled on me by a young gang member, and been encircled by a crowd of belligerent men in djellabas outside a radical mosque. But that was not frightening. This is frightening — this utter violation of fundamental British freedoms. …

The official cynicism here is obvious. Scheherazade made a vital point: that often, when one of these “grooming gang” trials is being held, the extended families and friends of the defendants stand outside the courthouse and “heckle and intimidate” the rape victims as well as their families and supporters. “I’ve had reports of children as young as five throwing stones at victims’ families,” Scheherazade said. …

Scheherazade had more interesting information to offer. While Robinson is being punished for drawing attention to Muslim rape gangs, the Sikh Awareness Society, which has also reported on these “grooming” trials, is left alone. “They are a godsend,” said Scheherazade, “because they pull no punches yet don’t seem to get the intimidation that people like Tommy get.” Of course — British police would not dare arrest a bearded man in a turban. Scheherazade also mentioned an imam who was arrested recently, only to be let go by police after “a large group of supporters demanded his release.” At least one police officer acknowledged that the imam had been freed because otherwise “they would have been facing riots all around the country.” Scheherazade summed up British authorities’ current approach to the Islamic situation as follows: “they have lost control… and are simply going for those who they think will make the least fuss. The classroom bully has terrorised the teacher into punishing the kids who are bullied.” …

For my part, I cannot for the life of me fathom why not a single prominent or powerful individual in all of the United Kingdom has come forward to challenge the mistreatment of Tommy Robinson — and thereby stand up for freedom of speech.

Is the whole British establishment a bunch of cowards? I suppose we will know the answer to that question soon enough, if we do not know it already.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Turkish Driver Caught Smuggling 420 Pounds of Heroin Into Europe

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian customs officials say they have seized 191 kilograms (420 pounds) of heroin found in a truck entering Bulgaria from Turkey.

Officials valued the heroin at 6.3 million euros ($7.4 million).

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Where is Tommy Robinson? British Authorities Owe us an Answer

By Judi McLeod

Where is Tommy Robinson? A question whose answer should be demanded rather than merely asked.

We all know where Prince Harry is but not where Tommy, arrested Friday outside a court in Leeds, England, is.

Modern day Merry England has become far more nightmare than fairytale, as it steadily works its way toward ugly police state status.

Scores of pictures continue to dominate ‘The News’ one week after the Royal wedding while, according to a current Fox News headline: ‘Right Wing Activist Tommy Robinson reportedly jailed after filming outside child grooming trial’.

“Right wing activist”? How about civil rights activist or humanitarian activist?

“Reportedly” jailed? Was Tommy Robinson jailed or not?

The trial of the child sex scandal going on in Leeds, England right now is not a one-off, it’s an ongoing horror as Britain has been racked by a SERIES of child sex scandals perpetuated by gangs of predominantly Muslim men.

The stunning truth of horrific child abuse is not pretty and gallons of tea sipped from bone china cups won’t ever change it.

The antiseptic of God’s own sunshine is needed to penetrate Britain’s ongoing series of child sex scandals. . Here’s what happened Friday as many of the rest of us merely went about our business: Courageous Tommy Robinson showed up — alone — to livestream on his phone the trial of the latest alleged child grooming scandal, and was “reportedly” arrested during his remarkable act of valor.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Will Populists Stall Europe?

Italy’s New Goverment Is Bad News for the Euro

Two populist parties are set to take over the government reins in Italy and about the only thing they seem to agree on is their desire to spend huge amounts of money. That’s bad news for Italian finances and terrible news for the eurozone. By DER SPIEGEL Staff

Signor Fabio doesn’t think it will take long. The new Italian government, he believes, is destined for a brief tenure: “In September, we will be voting again,” says the slender man in the center of Rome. Signor Fabio is the giornalaio — or newsstand proprietor — with the most attractive kiosk location in the capital, situated as it is fewer than 100 meters from the prime minister’s office. He knows what’s going on in the world and that people are once again looking to his homeland with concern.

“Rome Opens Its Gates to the Modern Barbarians,” was the headline chosen by the Financial Times 10 days ago in an editorial about the new government, which pairs the Five Star Movement (M5S) under the leadership of Luigi Di Maio with the right-wing nationalist party Lega, led by Matteo Salvini. But Italian papers weren’t any less critical. The daily Il Manifesto went with the headline “Populandia,” in reference to the populist natures of the two parties. “The Third Republic Is Formed as the Whole World Laughs,” wrote Il Foglio. And Libero wrote: “Mattarella Chooses the Rotten Apple: Mini-Premier Conte.”

The latter is a reference to Salvini’s and Di Maio’s inability to agree on which of the two should become prime minister, so they chose the completely inexperienced law professor Giuseppe Conte. While he is closely connected to the Five Star Movement, Conte has never held public office — and now he is being asked to lead Europe’s third largest economy, with a population of 60 million people.

This government, the 67th in the last 70 years, is perhaps the most unusual and least experienced of them all. At the top are two populists who are critical of the EU and friendly to Russia, two coalition partners who share few joint political goals and whose supporters hate each other. The one party, Lega, draws the majority of its support from the wealthy north while the other, M5S, has its roots in the comparatively poor south.

“It’s like if Germany were governed by Sahra Wagenknecht (from the Left Party) and Alexander Gauland (from the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany),” says Markus Ferber, vice-chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in European Parliament and a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Making the Problems Worse

The difference being, of course, that Italy holds 2.3 trillion euros in sovereign debt, the equivalent of 132 percent of its gross domestic product — a debt ratio that is only exceeded within the EU by Greece. In addition, the country is still suffering from the consequences of the financial crisis, including high unemployment, particularly among young people, and it is struggling to deal with the strain of the thousands of migrants who are still streaming across the Mediterranean to Italy.

The country has been among the EU’s problem children for years. As such, the election victory by the populists is hardly surprising, rather it is the logical consequence of the problems facing the country. But at the same time, it has the potential to make those problems much worse.

To satisfy the desires of their vastly different constituencies, Salvini and Di Maio included tax cuts, a minimum basic income and the retraction of the recently passed pension reform in their coalition agreement. According to the calculations of Carlo Cottarelli, a former director of the Fiscal Affairs Department, these measures will cost at least 109 billion euros per year.

Jörg Krämer, chief economist at Germany’s Commerzbank, warns that if the new government pushes through its proposals, the country’s budget deficit, which currently stands at 2.3 percent of GDP, would spike to fully 7 percent.

The two parties refer to their coalition agreement as the “Contract for the Government of Change,” but in actuality, it is a blueprint for destroying state finances. And the consequences for Europe will be impossible to ignore. “The eurozone is threatened by a new crisis,” says Clemens Fuest of the Center for Economic Studies in Munich.

Concern is particularly high in Brussels, but officials there are avoiding direct criticism for the time being, likely in the hope that things won’t ultimately turn out as bad as expected. At an economics conference on Thursday, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovski was asked if the new government’s program would comply with the Stability and Growth Pact, one of several questions about Italy. The Latvian looked visibly uncomfortable before finally replying: No, probably not. He added that he is particularly worried about rising risk premiums on the bond markets, a trend that has also affected other weaker eurozone member states. The prospect of countries not acting responsibly when it comes to fiscal policy has consequences, he said. It is important that all member states adhere to the rules that have been agreed to if they are part of the common currency area, he added.

French Economics and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is more direct. “If the new government takes the risk of not respecting its commitments on debt and the deficit … the financial stability of the eurozone will be threatened,” he told French broadcaster CNEWS last Sunday.

Death Knell

Indeed, even if the EU and the euro might have been able to withstand Grexit, an Italian departure from the common currency zone would likely be its death knell. Italy’s economic output is almost 10 times higher than that of Greece. “Given its systemic importance, the Italian economy is a source of potential spillovers to the rest of the euro area,” the EU warns in its most recent set of country-specific recommendations released on Wednesday of this week.

The recommendations, which are issued at regular intervals, recognize the efforts thus far undertaken by Italy to reduce its debt levels, but those efforts were all the product of the previous government. The new powers-that-be in Rome have left no doubt that they intend to focus their attentions elsewhere.

EU laws, says Lega head Salvini, will only be respected in the future if they are beneficial to Italy. And Di Maio of the Five Star Movement adds: “Starting now, the Italians come first and only then the negotiations about the deficit and EU rules.”

That approach is consistent with the intention to appoint 81-year-old economics professor Paolo Savona as economics and finance minister, a man who is considered a fierce critic of the euro. Savona’s new book, “Like a Nightmare, Like a Dream,” will soon be hitting the shelves. In it, he writes: “The euro is a straightjacket produced in Germany.” Berlin, he continues, “hasn’t changed its view of its role in Europe since the Nazi era.” Membership in the common currency area, Savona writes, “involves fascism without dictatorship and, from an economic perspective, a form of Nazism without militarism.”

One wonders whether the aging academic from Sardinia will repeat his verbose criticisms when he sits down with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz at the next European Union summit.

Di Maio’s people, of course, are doing their best to assuage fears of megalomaniacal populists driving Italy, a founding member of the EU, over a cliff. “We are in constant contact with the U.S and German embassies and we value complete transparency,” says one of Di Maio’s closest confidantes.

But such words are cold comfort. The advance of the populists, after all, is coming at a difficult time for the EU. The block is still enjoying solid economic growth, but a potential trade war with the United States is looming and the consequences of Brexit must likewise be overcome. A rekindling of the European trench political warfare that accompanied efforts to save Greece would be devastating.

Exactly that, though, appears to be on the horizon.

In the French elections one year ago, the feared victory of extremist, anti-Europeans did not come to pass. But right-wing populists are nevertheless on the march. They are the most powerful opposition party in Germany, they are part of the government in Austria and now they have joined the Italian government. “Our allies,” said Marine Le Pen, the head of the French right-wing party Front National, “are laying the groundwork for the great comeback of nation-states.”

‘Very Aggressive’

Italy will “become the leader of Europe’s populist, anti-establishment movement,” says Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, who is expected in Rome on Sunday. It marks the first time that Brussels will have to contend with an anti-system government in one of the EU’s founding countries. Bannon is excited about the triumph of Di Maio and Salvini, who are demanding that sanctions against Russia be wound down. “It’s very important for these guys to be very aggressive about confronting Brussels,” Bannon told the Washington Post this week.

Such an approach would almost certainly be popular in the country, where only 39 percent of Italians view the EU positively — not a good sign in what was once the most pro-EU country in the block. Part of the country’s frustrations with Brussels stems from the feeling of having been left alone to deal with the Mediterranean migrant crisis. In addition, many voters who have suffered from years of recession see the warnings from Brussels as heavy-handedness.

Part 2: A Potential Return of the Euro Crisis

The fact that Italians, who traditionally have a high rate of savings, stand to suffer significant losses should the country withdraw from the eurozone is something neither M5S or Lega have addressed. The parties have also remained silent about the European Central Bank strategy — pursued by its Italian president, Mario Draghi — of buying hundreds of millions of euros worth of Italian sovereign bonds to prop up the country’s economy. On the contrary: an early draft of the coalition agreement demands that the ECB forgive 250 billion euros of debt.

“Fantapolitica,” is the term that reasonable Italians have adopted to refer to such demands: “fantasy politics.”

As it currently stands, Italy requires 200 billion euros of fresh borrowing each year to service old debts, says Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the eurozone’s bailout fund. The fund has immediate access to 400 billion euros, meaning it could finance Italy for two years if need be. But only if no other eurozone country falls victim to the turbulence such a crisis would no doubt trigger.

But exactly that scenario is what has many people concerned, with pressure on Spain and Portugal likely to increase. The two countries have, to be sure, made progress in cleaning up their state finances, but they are still vulnerable, and their debt loads remain high.

Even if the Italians don’t proactively cease servicing their debts, they could still face trouble. Credit rating agencies already hold a dim view of Italy. Were they to downgrade Italy two additional levels, Italian bonds would reach junk status, meaning that many investment funds would be forced by their own regulations to dump them.

If mistrust and interest rates rise, Italian banks could once again find themselves in a dire situation. In the last 12 months, they have managed to reduce their risk exposure, but they are still sitting on billions of euros in bad loans. If the new government chooses to ignore these risks, the situation could rapidly spiral out of control.

Already, the interest rate difference between Italian and German sovereign bonds — the so-called risk premium — has risen significantly. In recent weeks, it has climbed by almost an entire percentage point. The difference reflects the higher risk of default for Italian bonds. Investors are only prepared to loan more money to Italy if they receive higher interest rates for their troubles.

Bailing Out Italy

Back in February, hedge funds already began speculating on falling European stock prices on the assumption that an anti-EU government in Rome could fragment the currency union. Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest sharks in the tank, placed a $22 billion bet against European stocks. The most recent wave of Italian sovereign bond sales was also likely driven by hedge fund speculation.

There is significant concern in many European capitals that the Conte government might operate under the assumption that Italy is too large and important for Europe to allow it to slide into bankruptcy and that European institutions would ultimately jump in to bail the country out. After all, roughly a third of Italy’s sovereign debt is held by foreign investors — a total of almost 800 billion euros. If a 50 percent debt haircut came to pass, as was done in the case of Greece, banks, insurance companies and pension funds would be forced to forego claims to 400 billion euros.

“The economic situation in the country has been highly explosive at least since the 2008 financial crisis,” says Henrik Enderlein, an economist at the Hertie School of Governance and an advisor to the German government. “But now a government is coming to power that is like a burning match and which could result in the situation getting out of control.”

The only thing left is to hope that this government of post-ideologists and right-wing populists will ultimately see the light — just as Alexis Tsipras did not long ago in Greece. “Leaving the common currency would be the worst-case scenario for Italy,” Enderlein warns. The country would sink into economic insignificance, he says, not unlike Argentina after its 2001 collapse.

European hopes are primarily focused on one person: Italian President Sergio Mattarella. “He will make sure that the new government adheres to European rules,” says a Brussels diplomat.

For most of the last three months, the 76-year-old lawyer has been patiently seeking to enable the assembly of a stable government and avoid new elections. And there is nothing he has left untried. He even held a face-to-face with Silvio Berlusconi, the man who paved the way for the rise of the populists and who led Italy into the crisis. Finally, though, the current coalition took shape, even if it looked for a time as though it was hopeless.

But even if Mattarella can prevent the worst — by refusing to sign certain laws, for example — he cannot prevent the political uncertainty from blocking a central EU reform project, that of reforming the economic and currency union.

Currently, Europe is waiting for the German response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposals, which he delivered eight months ago in a speech at the Sorbonne. Macron would like to see a joint eurozone budget and a common deposit insurance regime, among several other ideas.

Spending Even More

“The current developments in Rome are the death blow to Macron’s reform agenda,” says Commerzbank chief economist Krämer. Every step toward the collectivization of risk or debt, he says, “would be an open invitation for Italy to spend even more.”

Even if Macron is now carefully choosing his words and repeatedly saying he respects “the decision of the Italian people,” developments in Italy are, in fact, a significant setback for him and his reform proposals. He is caught between a Berlin that cannot seem to make up its mind and a Rome that is deeply skeptical of the EU. Realizing a vision of a unified, strong Europe won’t be easy with partners like that.

Concern is growing in the Élysée Palace in Paris that Europe is facing its next significant crisis and Macron, instead of pushing through his reform plans, will be forced to spend his time on damage control, not unlike his predecessors. “Salvini and Di Maio won’t achieve anything for Italy, but they will be in a position to completely block Europe,” says one of Macron’s advisers. The term “crazy,” the adviser says, would be a polite way of describing the new Italian government’s program.

The concerns are justified, particularly given the enormous resistance against Macron’s reform plans that already exists in German parliament. One element of those plans that is controversial is the “common backstop” envisioned as part of the banking union. The banking union envisions shareholders and creditors initially being made liable in the event of a bank collapse. Now, though, the use of the backstop — public money — is under discussion for extreme cases in which the costs of winding up a failed bank cannot otherwise be covered.

German politicians and others who oppose Macron’s vision fear that savings account holders could ultimately be made to pay for financial institution bankruptcies in countries like Italy. This fear has not been reduced by the anti-European rhetoric currently coming out of Rome. Indeed, the situation in Italy is not a good omen for the EU summit at the end of June, where heads of state and government intend to discuss a deepening of the eurozone.

Yet despite all of the justified concerns, it is also true that the coalition in Rome hasn’t actually entered office yet. The alliance with the aggressively anti-immigration party Lega is a controversial one within the Five Star Movement. “We have lost a few supporters along the way,” admits a spokesman for Di Maio. Furthermore, their parliamentary majority is just 30 seats. That isn’t much in a lawmaking body in which 206 representatives changed parties in just the last legislative session.

And should the new government suffer a premature demise — a fate which, Silvio Berlusconi insisted last week at the European People’s Party summit in Sofia, is one he would certainly hate to see — then the former Italian prime minister, now 81 years old, has a couple of thoughts on what should happen next.

In a good mood due to the recent decision by an Italian court to lift the ban on him holding public office, Berlusconi said he would be happy to do all it took to prevent a state crisis in Italy. And he would of course be prepared to “take on responsibility.”

By Martin Hesse, Julia Amalia Heyer, Walter Mayr, Peter Müller and Christian Reiermann

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

Algerian Blogger Sentenced to Ten Years for Communicating With Israeli Official

A court in the Algerian city of Béjaïa court sentenced a blogger to ten years in prison on Thursday for communicating with Israel and inciting civil disobedience. Marzouk Touati was also fined 50,000 dinars ($430). The Attorney General of the Béjaïa Judiciary Council had asked for a life sentence.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Egyptians Rage Against Sergio Ramos After Mohamed Salah’s Injury

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was injured in an altercation on the pitch with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos on Saturday in football’s Champions League final, unleashing a wave of anger among Egyptian fans.

With less than three weeks to go until the start of the 2018 football World Cup, Mohamed Salah, the beloved star of the Egyptian national team, was injured Saturday night in Kiev in the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.

In the 25th minute of play, Madrid defender Sergio Ramos sent him to the ground, wrenching Salah’s shoulder. A few moments later, Salah left the pitch in tears.

In addition to Liverpool’s loss, Salah’s participation in the World Cup in Russia is now under threat. Egypt, which is playing in its first World Cup since 1990, will compete against Uruguay on June 15 in group A…

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

Diplomatic Tensions Reception Grows Frosty for German Firms in Saudi Arabia

Following diplomatic discord between Berlin and Riyadh, contracts for German businesses in Saudi Arabia have been drying up. Is the crown prince punishing them?

By Susanne Koelbl

Detlef Daues is a pioneer of the German small- and medium-sized companies that have made Germany what it is today: a prosperous nation with good international relations that stretch to even the farthest-flung corners of the world.

His Hannover-based virtual department store for original replacement parts, V-Line GmbH, services customers in countries like Mexico, the United States, Qatar and Oman in addition to others in East Asia. But 65 percent of Daues’ revenues come from Saudi Arabia.

But currently, the once-positive relationship between Saudi Arabia and Germany has worsened. Six months ago, Riyadh withdrew its ambassador from Germany and he still hasn’t returned. There has been little open discussion of the reasons behind the conflict, but for people like Daues in the business community, the rift is as plain as day. “For Germans, the doors in Riyadh have suddenly been closed,” says one experienced businessman in the Saudi capital. Meetings with delegations from Germany that were set up before the crisis are being canceled. “That hurts,” says Oliver Oehms of the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs in Riyadh.

Young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS for short, appears to be “deeply offended” by the German government, says Daues, who adds that his information comes from confidants in Riyadh. Relations between the two countries began souring last November when then-German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel spoke of spreading “political adventurism” in the Middle East, a remark many thought was aimed at Saudi Arabia. The impression was widespread at the time that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was being held against his will in Riyadh and that he was being strong-armed by the rulers there to step down.

Blunt public criticism of that nature is considered a no-no in the world of diplomacy. “Why didn’t Gabriel pick up the phone and call Riyadh if he was concerned,” asks one influential member of the royal family during a meeting a in Riyadh. Within the palace, the impression was that the remarks made on Nov. 16 were a cheap shot by the German foreign minister to drum up support among voters, the royal family member says, adding that the prince was not happy.

Profound Transformation

Saudi Arabia is currently undergoing a profound transformation. Crown prince MBS wants to shed his country of its religious fundamentalism and he is preparing it for the post-oil economy. It’s a change that German companies would also like to benefit from.

Daues himself invested $5 million to place his company at the forefront as that change comes. But now the “German government has succeeded” in “upsetting the country so badly that German firms are being excluded from being awarded contracts,” the entrepreneur wrote in a letter to Bernd Althusmann, the economics minister for the state of Lower-Saxony, where his company is located. He wrote that he had been deliberately excluded from contracts for the first time.

No one is able to say precisely whether the prince has issued a written order, as sources in Riyadh claim, or whether there was just a verbal decree that civil servants have been all too eager to obey.

MBS himself is actually an admirer of Germany. Recently, though, there has been one hitch in relations after the other. The affront from Gabriel over Lebanon was followed by a line in the Berlin coalition agreement explicitly stating that Germany will not deliver weapons to countries involved in the war in Yemen — Saudi Arabia above all.

The situation is further complicated by Germany’s role in the current wrangling over Iran. Berlin is determined to stick with the nuclear deal despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement he will withdraw from it, whereas there is deep-seated distrust of the government in Tehran in Riyadh. It may be that the Saudi crown prince views Germany’s conduct as criticism of his governance. Sources close to him say that a relaxed attitude toward differences of opinion is not one of the prince’s strong points.

An Important Trading Partner

Germany remains Saudi Arabia’s most important European trading partner. Some 800 German companies are active in the country, and 200 have offices in Saudi Arabia with a total of 40,000 employees. In 2017, the volume of German exports to Saudi Arabia was 6.6 billion euros. But the mood is shifting.

Well-informed observers in Saudi Arabia are reporting that even larger German companies like Daimler have been affected. The Saudis, for example, threatened to temporarily postpone the delivery of several hundred Mercedes buses. Officially, the company has vehemently denied the reports, with Daimler saying it cannot confirm any delay. The bus project, the company insists, is proceeding on schedule.

The Saudi Health Ministry, which has worked closely together with medical equipment supplier Siemens and pharmaceutical companies Bayer and Boehringer for years, has also distanced itself from its German partners recently. “The business is tougher,” a spokesman for Siemens says in a cautious formulation. “We don’t want to comment on the matter,” spokespeople for Bayer and Boehringer stated. No one wants to further rile the government in Saudi Arabia. Recently, Riyadh’s city development authority ADA issued a contract for the construction of a major bike path that will run through the capital city’s green belt to the American architecture firm Coen+Partners. But only a year ago, it had planned to award the contract to the German firm AS+P Albert Speer and Bödeker Landscape Architects.

This prompted German landscape architect Alexandra von Bieler at Bödecker to write a letter to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in which she pleads for a patching up of relations with Saudi Arabia. “No more contracts will be awarded to German companies and our invoices are no longer being paid,” the letter states, before going on to say that her office has been “pushed to its limits.”

The Bödeckers have worked together with the Saudi urban planning agency for more than 40 years, developing recreational areas, parks and entire city districts. Company founder Richard Bödecker, 84, has known many members of the royal family personally for decades. But he, too, is now being faced with a wall of silence.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has since had a telephone conversation with the crown prince in which she assured her personal regard for the prince and said she was looking forward to future cooperation with the kingdom. Gabriel also stated repeatedly before leaving office in March that his remark about Middle East adventurism had not been specifically aimed at Riyadh. Diplomatic notes have since been exchanged and meetings between ambassadors held.

But none of that has sufficed. Sources inside the palace in Riyadh say they are expecting an “apology.” “The Saudis are a proud people and they are also very sensitive to criticism,” says landscape architect Bieler, who has long been familiar with the country’s culture.

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

Imaginary War Serving False Peace

Listen to the so-called “moderate faction” in Tehran and you are likely to hear a litany of woes, echoed by some European circles, about alleged attempts by the Trump administration to push the Middle East towards a new war. The leitmotiv is the claim that the so-called “nuclear deal”, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an almost sacred text that should be neither amended nor improved.

“We shall not accept an iota of change in this text,” says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

“There is no alternative to JCPOA,” echoes Federica Mogherini, foreign policy spokeswoman for European Union. …

Whether one likes Trump or not, the fact is that when he says that the Emperor is naked, he is telling the truth. It is quite possible that he says that to vilify Obama. But that does not change the fact that the witches’ brew that Obama cooked is laced with poison.

Let’s not use the excuse of an imaginary war to market a false peace. Let’s prepare for a true settlement of the Iranian nuclear dispute. Let’s get serious.

           — Hat tip: AF [Return to headlines]

Rohingya Muslim Militants Massacred 99 Hindu Men, Women and Children Who Refused to Convert to Islam

The Rohingya military group Arsa carried out deadly massacres and abductions of the Hindu community in Myanmar’s Rakhine state last year, a new report by Amnesty International has revealed.

           — Hat tip: Charles Low [Return to headlines]

Trump All But Confirms Historic Summit With Kim is Back on as US Officials Enter North Korea

Update: confirming that Trump’s “dear Kim” letter was just a negotiating tactic, the WaPo reports that the US exploratory team is back in North Korea as Reuters previewed yesterday:


According to WaPo sources, former US ambassador to South Korea, Sung Kim, crossed into North Korea on Sunday to hold talks with Pyongyang’s Vice-Foreign Minister, Choe Son Hui. The US envoy is accompanied by Allison Hooker, the Korea specialist on the National Security Council and an undisclosed official from the Defense Department, the source said.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Woman, 52, Accused of Attacking Middle Eastern Crime Squad Officer With a Shard of Glass is Found Not Guilty Because She Claims She Was Trying to Hurt Herself

Wafa Wazer, 52, had her house in south-west Sydney raided by Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad officers in May last year.

           — Hat tip: SS [Return to headlines]

Niger: Between Confirmations and Diplomatic Restraints, The Italian Mission Continues

(by Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi) The Italian mission in Niger is stalled, indeed it continues without problems. To read the news of recent weeks on the subject it is understandable that there is still much to be clarified about the intervention of Italy to stop the flow of migrants and train local troops in Niger on the border with Libya. Officially announced by Paolo Gentiloni the 13 last December, and voted in a hurry by the Chamber of Deputies, there was once the Italian mission in Niger.It is not totally clear at the moment in fact how the mission will continue since the Italian and the Nigerian government seem to think in a diametrically opposite way.Chronicles of a diplomatic disaster announced? Maybe, but let’s go step by step.

“We are going to Niger for a request from the local government, which we received in December, concerning what we usually do in countries like Libya: reinforcing the instruments for controlling the territory and borders and the local police force”said council president Paolo Gentiloni, speaking of the mission to the committee for defense of the room on January 15.According to the intentions of the government in the 2018 there should be a sharp downsizing of the Italian military presence abroad (where our soldiers are now engaged in 32 international missions in 21 countries).Specifically in Iraq we would pass from 1.500 to 750 soldiers, in Afghanistan from 900 to 700 soldiers. The Italian contingents would move in Africa, in particular in Libya with an increase from 370 to 400 soldiers and in Niger with a mission of 470 soldiers (including 130 means of land and two planes) actually employed in supporting local authorities in border police training and border control, along the route most used by migrants going to Europe. The military intervention in Niger would take place in the context of the G5 mission (Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania) in the Sahel, in which Italy has asked to be an observer member. The “Sahel Coalition” presented last December 13, during the joint press conference at the end of the G5 Sahel (summit between heads of state and government of France, Germany, Italy and the five Sahel countries), would be born with the declared objective to counter terrorism in the region and it should be”An effective and real operational organization with a single regional command to support the G5 Sahel force and the Sahel Alliance on the ground.”Coalition that will also be able to make use of allocations for 50 million euros from the European Union, 60 million dollars from the United States, 30 million from the United Arab Emirates and 100 million from Saudi Arabia. For clarity, in Niger meanwhile there is already a rate of about fifty soldiers with the task of preparing the ground for the bulk of the mission, Italy would thus join the French, US and German armed forces that are already present in the country , respectively, for years and months, in an important geopolitical context for Italy.

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

Shirt of Shame: Britain Dishes Out £62million in Foreign Aid to Rwandan Dictator Who Splurges £30million on Sponsorship for His Beloved Arsenal FC

Rwanda, which is getting £62 million this year alone from the UK, has paid Premier League club Arsenal to promote the country’s tourist industry on players’ shirts.

           — Hat tip: SS [Return to headlines]

Watch: American Hostage Joshua Holt Thanks President Trump for Freeing Him From Venezuelan Prison

“I’m just so grateful…for caring about me, just a normal person”

More winning…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Anthony Furey: What’s Next, As Quebec’s Asylum Seekers Swamp Toronto’s Shelter System

On Friday’s show, Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey joined me to discuss how many of Quebec’s illegal border crossers from over 500 kms away are ending up in Toronto, and overwhelming the city’s shelter system.

In their desperation, the city has turned college dorms and community centres into refugee centres.

Watch as he explains the extent of the problem created by this “hidden in plain sight” story that no one is talking about.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

French Interior Minister Announces Imminent Evacuation of Paris Migrant Camps

French interior minister Gerard Collomb has announced that the large makeshift migrant camps around Paris will be cleared in the very near future and slammed left-wing mayor Anne Hidalgo, calling on her to take action.

The French interior minister made his comments earlier this week in order to tackle the growing number of migrants sleeping in makeshift tent camps around the city, BFMTV reports.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Hundreds of Migrants Reach Spain Over Weekend, Austria Calls for EU Border Forces to Deploy in North Africa

(AP) — Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has rescued 366 migrants attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea this weekend.

12:40 p.m.

The service says that its rescue craft has intercepted 73 migrants travelling in four small boats on Sunday, adding to the 293 migrants it pulled from nine vessels on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of migrants attempt to reach Spain and other southern European countries each year by crossing the Mediterranean in smugglers’ boats. Most of the boats are unfit for open water, and thousands drown.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

17 Hollywood Celebs Lash Out at Trump After New Rule Ends Abortion as Health Care

The usual suspects took to social media to b*tch and moan that they really want to be able to kill babies at federally funded family planning centers. See, that’ s the root of all of this. Abortion IS NOT birth control and is not family planning but the left wants you to believe it is.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

How Identity Politics is Changing Universities

Authored by William Anderson via The Mises Institute,

Ours is a politicized age from the college campus to the corporate boardroom, a situation in which things that once were personal now are utterly political.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Soros Foundation Spends Millions Annually to Support Transgender Agenda

Left-wing billionaire George Soros is funding transgender activism through his Open Society Foundation (OSF), according to a new report by a British academic who found that OSF has made more than $6 million in grants to transgender organizations since 2011.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

To Know Islam is to Know Muhammad

You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who put their hope in Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much. (Surat al-Ahzab :21)

Over 14 centuries ago rose Muhammad, a supposedly illiterate hired hand of a rich widow Khadija, claiming he was the bearer of a perfect life prescription from Allah — the Quran. He claimed humanity could do no better than to follow its precepts as well as to emulate Muhammad’s own life example for a guarantee of bliss and salvation. In exchange for this, people had to embrace Islam — surrender — by surrendering their liberty to Muhammad. Up to this day, the Muslim world considers a perfect Muslim as someone who follows in the footsteps of Muhammad, by action and by deeds.

Muslims have been taught from an early age that to be a good Muslim, they should follow the example of Muhammad (Sunnah) and implement it in their daily lives. To faithful Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad is a role model and they must follow his Sunnah and learn how to implement its precepts and practices in their lives. So, to understand Islam is to understand the Prophet Muhammad.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

4 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/27/2018

  1. “Over 14 centuries ago rose Muhammad, a supposedly illiterate hired hand of a rich widow Khadija, claiming he was the bearer of a perfect life prescription from Allah — the Quran.”

    NO ! the archeological evidence is clear, Mohammed as portrayed in the Quran is a LATER fabrication. He is a mythological figure invented to advance Arab Imperialism and to counter the Christianity of the Byzantines and Zoroastrianism of the Persians.

    Islam is FICTION and is FALSE.

    To debate whether Mohammed was good or evil is a “thinking past the sale” tactic. It makes you think that Mohammed existed and that Islam could be true. There is ZERO archeological evidence for Mohammed until the time of Caliph Abd al Malik, which is six decades after Mohammed was said to have died before any evidence appears which looks remotely Islamic.

    Check out the archeological evidence which shows Islam is FICTION and is FALSE.
    “An Historical Critique of Islam’s Beginnings”

    You cannot win a debate against a Muslim using Western morality. You have to attack the fundamentals of Islam, Mohammed and the Koran – and fortunately we now have excellent Western scholarship which shows irrefutably that Islam’s claims about its origins cannot be true.

    Learn the archeology which shows Islam is fiction and is false, and teach the World. That is how the idea of Islam will be defeated.

  2. “An esteemed trade, family pride. The stakes are high for Venice’s aspiring gondoliers, who must enrol in a training course and pass a physical examination to be welcomed in this exclusive profession. And yet, it comes as little surprise when a local MS5 counselor revealed corruption in the system: Most of the ‘winners’ were chosen…”

    Maybe, just maybe, in a city of 55 thousand real inhabitants and tens of millions of tourists, you have to “know someone”, to get the job 🙂

  3. “[Comment: strange wolf pic looks like a wolf crossed with hyena…”

    On another site they showed a close-up photo of one of its paws. It looked very much like what produces the distinctive spoor of bears. Considering the size of its head and the shape of its ears it could well be a bear cub and its skinnyness indicates that it was starving either because it had become seperated from its mother too soon or was wracked with disease.

    P.S. There are no hyenas in North America if you discount the two legged ones in California.

    P.P.S. The California Red Wolf is a hybrid cross between a Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) and a Coyote (Canis latrans) that has evolved into a distincive taxonomic species.

  4. “Where is Tommy Robinson? British Authorities Owe us an Answer”

    He’s in the less than tender care of Hull Prison in the Islamic Peples Caliphate of South Yorkshire. In what wing or in what condition is an unknown at the moment. His survival chances are not very high if they have him inthe GeneralWing with its hundreds of Jihadi prisoners.

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