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Kenny G Loves China, Deletes Photo Taken at Hong Kong Protests

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Mayor, Wife Tied to Disappearance of 43 Students in Mexico

Originally posted on TIME:

The police chief and mayor of a Mexican town where 43 students went missing in September has been served with an arrest warrant, in connection to the disappearance.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said Wednesday that Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda are accused of targeting the group of student teachers, who went head-to-head with authorities during a political event on Sept. 26 and have not been seen since. A warrant was also issued for police chief Felipe Flores Velazquez, Reuters reports, and Murillo has pegged all three as “probable masterminds” in the disappearances.

At least six students and bystanders were killed during the Sept. 26 clash, the New York Timesreports. Others were held by police before being released to a notorious gang called Guerreros Unidos. Murillo says he believes the students were mistaken for members of a rival gang known…

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Tiananmen Protest ‘Black Hand’ Chen Ziming Dies in Beijing

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Josh Chin reports: One of the two activists identified as the “black hands” behind China’s 1989 democracy protests died of cancer on Tuesday, in a reminder of how little the Communist Party has budged in its tolerance of political dissent over the past quarter century.

Chen Ziming, 62 years old, died from pancreatic cancer Tuesday afternoon in Beijing, according to close friends.

“He was incredibly influential, in the academic world as well as in government and public circles.”

– Chen Min, a liberal writer and political commentator better known by his penname, Xiao Shu

“Famous Chinese dissident, so-called June 4th black hand and my mentor Chen Ziming finally succumbed to cancer,” Wang Dan, one of the leaders of the 1989 student-led Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, wrote on his Facebook page. “His death is a massive loss for the Chinese opposition movement, and for the country.”

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Mr. Chen and fellow activist Wang Juntao were accused by the government of being the masterminds behind the 1989 protests. In 1991, both were sentenced to 13 years in prison, in a trial authorities used to bolster the official line that the protests had been the work of a handful of conspirators rather than a movement with mass appeal. Read the rest of this entry »


Europe’s Teen ISIS Girls, What Do They Want?

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Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

Because They Want the Same Things Teenage Boys Want: A Strong Sense of Meaning and Purpose

For Tablet MagazineLee Smith writes: Teenage girls are the West’s center of gravity: Virtually all of Western pop culture, the key to our soft power, is tailored to the tastes of teenage girls. Through the wonders of information technology, the mobile phone mass-produced the mores and habits of phone-mad teenage girls locked in their bedrooms. Indeed, Western civilization is a success largely insofar as it has made the world a safe place for teenage girls—to go to school, get a job, and decide who and when to marry, or if they want to marry. When teenage girls turn away from One Direction and embrace ISIS, it means the West is losing.51TVFjKStQL._SL250_

[Order Lee Smith's "The Consequences of Syria (The Great Unraveling: The Remaking of the Middle East)"]

“The idea of a caliphate, ripped from the pages of Muslim history, resonates with a kind of existential authenticity missing from the vast and drab European suburbs warehousing Muslim youth.”

A Washington Institute poll last week showed that the Islamic State has more support in Europe than it does in the Middle East. The poll reported that only 3 percent of Egyptians, 5 percent of Saudis, and under 1 percent of Lebanese “expressed a positive opinion of the IS.” On the other hand, 7 percent of U.K. respondents had a favorable view of the group, as did 16 percent of French polled—with 27 percent of French citizens between 18-24 responding favorably.

“So, why given a choice between a comfortable, if somewhat boring, life as a pharmacist in Hamburg, or fighting and dying in the desert, are thousands of Western Muslims opting for the latter?”

The numbers should hardly come as a surprise. Thousands of young European Muslims have already left the continent for the Middle East to help the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, build an authentic Islamic caliphate. Doubtless thousands more are on their way, to kill and die for an idea they believe in.

“Because, for all the awesome social services and consumer goods it can offer, Europe has become incapable of endowing the lives of its citizens, Muslim or not, with meaning. “

It is a striking fact that ISIS appeals not only to young men, but also young European women, many hundreds of whom have gone to Syria and Iraq to marryIslamic State fighters. Sure, some of them, like the 15-year-old French Jewish girlNora el-Bathy, may have come to regret their decision. But that hardly alters the essential point: The girls sought out IS fighters because the West seems weak and unmanly and they pine for real men who are willing to kill and die for what they believe in. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Media Mogul Jimmy Lai Has Spent More than 3 Weeks with Protesters

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A Hong Kong Media Mogul and His Protest Tent

Fiona Law reports: Jimmy Lai has spent time at a protest encampment next to the government complex in Hong Kong’s Admiralty district for 25 days now.

“The momentum of this movement is tremendous. People just won’t go away if there’s no solution from the government.”

“I just feel that it’s my responsibility to be part of it,” said the media mogul on Wednesday in his blue tent, where he has gone every day since the start of pro-democracy protests that are now in their fourth week.

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Mr. Lai, the founder of Next Media Ltd., which owns publications in Hong Kong and Taiwan including the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, said he believed the protesters will stay on in the streets.

“I was born in China and spent my childhood in China seeing how life was like under the authoritarian Chinese regime…This was like heaven, the other side like hell.”

– Jimmy Lai

“The momentum of this movement is tremendous,” he said. “People just won’t go away if there’s no solution from the government.”

Mr. Lai said he is prepared to stay at the tent, which he shares with some pro-democracy politicians and volunteers, for a long time. Unlike some students who sleep at the protest sites, Mr. Lai only spends time in the tent during the day and goes back home for work and sleep. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Terrifying Teen Bozo Convicted as Armed Clowns Spread Panic in French towns

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Contagious Coulrophobia Epidemic in Pas-de-Calais

Béthune, France (AFP) – The party is over for a fake clown who received a six-month suspended jail term Monday for threatening passers-by while in full circus garb, a disturbing trend terrifying towns in northern France.APPROVED-non-stop-panic

“They take their inspiration from American horror movies.”

Whether brandishing a rubber chicken at a children’s party or starring as the evil protagonist in a horror film, clowns have long had both the ability to entertain and terrify.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that children are held hostage by such acts.”

This fear of clowns, dubbed coulrophobia, has swept small towns in Pas-de-Calais in northern France where police report a wave of complaints over people dressed up as the tricksters and threatening passers-by.

A 19-year-old young man was arrested on Friday after waving a stick resembling a long knife while chasing a group of teenagers, who had to seek refuge in a chip stand. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Christians passionately support Hong Kong protesters

Originally posted on Vancouver Sun:

A vigorous debate between Chinese Christians in Canada has been taking place on this blog, The Search, in the last couple of weeks over whether to fully support the Hong Kong protests.

In this installment more than two dozen Chinese Christians with roots in Vancouver passionately stand up for the pro-democracy protesters, who are in the third week of a stand-offwith troops and politicians over their dogged push for free elections in Hong Kong.

Their critical aim is focussed on Jonathan Chan, executive director of the Company of Canadians, an ethnically diverse B.C.-based Christian ministry that counts some of the city’s 100,000 Chinese Christiansamong its members.

(For the record, Chan has never claimed to me to represent the views of all or most Chinese Christians in Vancouver. But, since the writers of the public letter below have made that question a centre of their argument, I will leave…

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Hong Kong has too many poor people to allow direct elections, leader says

Originally posted on Quartz:

HONG KONG—Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protesters have been demanding that the city’s top official, CY Leung, step down for weeks now. They may soon be joined by many more of the city’s 7 million residents, after a controversial interview last night in which Leung suggested that election reforms sought by the protestors would invite undue influence from the city’s poor.

Speaking at his official residence, a colonial-era mansion set above the city—it’s furnished with crystal chandeliers and guarded by massive stone lions—Leung addressed three foreign newspapers that target Hong Kong’s wealthy international community. Allowing the entire voting population of Hong Kong, some 5 million people, to directly nominate candidates for the city’s top official position would be a mistake, Leung said:

“If it’s entirely a numbers game—numeric representation—then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end…

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American Dream: Expelled Nazis Collected Millions in U.S. Social Security Benefits

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OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) — Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger lived the American dream.

His plastics company in the Rust Belt town of Akron, Ohio, thrived. By the late 1980s, he had acquired the trappings of success: a Cadillac DeVille and a Lincoln Town Car, a lakefront home, investments in oil and real estate.

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Akron viaduct, Ohio

Then the Nazi hunters showed up.

In 1989, as the U.S. government prepared to strip him of his citizenship, Denzinger packed a pair of suitcases and fled to Germany. Denzinger later settled in this pleasant town on the Drava River, where he lives comfortably, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.

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Drava River

He collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 each month, nearly twice the take-home pay of an average Croatian worker.

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Osijek, Croatia

Denzinger, 90, is among dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation found.

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The payments flowed through a legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records.

Like Denzinger, many lied about their Nazi pasts to get into the U.S. following World War II, and eventually became American citizens.

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Among those who benefited:

—armed SS troops who guarded the Nazi network of camps where millions of Jews perished.

—an SS guard who took part in the brutal liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland that killed as many as 13,000 Jews.

—a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.

—a German rocket scientist accused of using slave labor to build the V-2 rocket that pummeled London. He later won NASA’s highest honor for helping to put a man on the moon.

Social Security Ad

The AP’s findings are the result of more than two years of interviews, research and analysis of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other sources.

The Justice Department denied using Social Security payments as a tool for removing Nazi suspects. But records show the U.S. State Department and the Social Security Administration voiced grave concerns over the methods used by the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations.

State officials derogatorily called the practice “Nazi dumping” and claimed the OSI was bargaining with suspects so they would leave voluntarily. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Protest and Social Media: Man Arrested Over Online Messages

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HONG KONG — Gillian Wong reports: A man was arrested on suspicion of posting messages online that urged people to gather and agitate at a protest site, police said Sunday.

“The arrest marks a relatively new tactic in Hong Kong police’s attempts to curb the demonstrations that have paralyzed key sections of the city for weeks.”

The move—one of the first such arrests during three weeks of d”emonstrations here—could potentially chill the protesters’ use of the Internet and social media to mobilize large crowds.

[Follow Pundit Planet's EXCLUSIVE coverage of the Hong Kong Protests]

The Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement on its website that a 23-year-old man had been arrested Saturday on suspicion of “accessing a computer with illegal or dishonest intentions” and illegal assembly.

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A preliminary police investigation revealed the man had posted messages on online discussion boards urging others to go to Mong Kok—one of three main protest sites—to “join an illegal assembly, attack police and paralyze subway lines,” the statement said. The man, who has been released on bail, is separately accused of illegal assembly in Mong Kok, the statement said.

The police declined to give further information about the man or say whether he has retained a lawyer. Attempts by The Wall Street Journal to contact the man have been unsuccessful. Read the rest of this entry »


HK: Dueling Definitions of Democracy

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Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.

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Martin Lee, a leading democratic activist and former legislator who sat on the law’s drafting committee.

“There was no doubt in our minds that Beijing was quite prepared to give us democracy or universal suffrage as everybody would understand it to be.”

– Martin Lee

When China and the U.K. began negotiating the transfer of Hong Kong in the early 1980s, both sides spoke optimistically about elections. Promises for future balloting were embedded in documents signed at the time to guide Hong Kong after its return to Chinese control in 1997.

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For WSJ Ned Levin, Charles Hutzler and Jenny Gross: In recent months, arguments over the meaning of those promises have helped to propel increasingly confrontational protests over how the city will choose its next leader in 2017. Beijing says that it has honored its commitment to provide universal suffrage; pro-democracy activists say that China has trampled those promises by insisting that candidates be approved by a committee whose members are largely pro-business and pro-Beijing.

“No one told Hong Kongers when they were assured of universal suffrage that it would not mean being able to choose for whom they could vote.”

Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.

“They can interpret white as black, yellow, green or red. And tomorrow, they can interpret back to white,” said Martin Lee, a leading democratic activist and former legislator who sat on the law’s drafting committee. He resigned after China’s bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

The agreement to return Hong Kong to China was signed by U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang in 1984. During a tense 1982 trip to China, Mrs. Thatcher tripped and stumbled on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Saboteurs Deflate Sex-Toy Artwork, Paris Installation Reduced to a Flaccid Heap

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A giant inflatable sculpture that caused outrage in Paris for its resemblance to a sex toy will not be reinstalled after being reduced to a flaccid heap by vandals, its creator said Saturday.

American artist Paul McCarthy, 69, was slapped three times in the face by an outraged passer as “The Tree” was put up on the city’s ritzy Place Vendome on Thursday next to a column topped by a statue of Napoleon.

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And on Saturday vandals cut a support cable to leave the 24-metre high work — which provoked a storm of mirth on social media for its resemblance to a “butt plug” — slumped on the pavement.

The FIAC contemporary art fair, which organised for the sculpture to be put up close to the Ritz Hotel, said in a statement that “the artist was worried about potential trouble if the work was put back up”.

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“Instead of a profound reflection about objects as a mode of expression with multiple meanings, we have witnessed violent reactions.”

– Artist Paul McCarthy, pretending to be unhappy about the notoriety he’s enjoying as a result of his infantile ass-toy stunt

“Individuals waited until the security guard’s attention was elsewhere and cut the cable that kept the sculpture in place,” a police source told AFP on condition of anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »


‘We Cannot Allow Ebola to Immobilize Us’

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London (AFP) – Aid agency Oxfam on Saturday said Ebola could become the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation”, as US President Barack Obama urged against “hysteria” in the face of the growing crisis.

Oxfam, which works in the two worst-hit countries — Liberia and Sierra Leone — called for more troops, funding and medical staff to be sent to tackle the west African epicentre of the epidemic.

Chief executive Mark Goldring warned that the world was “in the eye of a storm”.

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“We cannot allow Ebola to immobilise us in fear, but… countries that have failed to commit troops, doctors and enough funding are in danger of costing lives,” he said.

The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly virus has so far killed more than 4,500 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but isolated cases have now begun to appear in Europe and the United States.

“The Ebola crisis could become the definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation,” a spokesperson for the British-based charity said as it appealed for EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to do more. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! Big Ass Sex Toy Masquerading as ‘Art Installation’ Provokes Outrage in Paris

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Place Vendôme Hosts Giant Inflatable Buttplug

Ruth Bender reports: Not everyone in Paris appears to like contemporary art.

A massive, green, inflatable installation by U.S. artist Paul McCarthy was vandalized in central Paris in the night from Friday to Saturday, according to a police official, after the piece of art entitled “Tree” sparked outrage.

The artwork, set up last week on the famous Place Vendôme, ignited a wave of comments on social media for its resemblance to a sex toy. It attracted even more attention after the Los Angeles artist—known for his sometimes controversial and provocative work—was attacked by a person in the street Thursday as “Tree” was being set up on the square.

French Mayor Anne Hidalgo Meets Young French Designers In Paris

 “Art has all its place on the streets of Paris and no one can hunt it away,”

–  Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, in a tweet condemning the attack

According to French daily Le Monde, a man approached Mr. McCarthy as he was watching “Tree” being blown up and hit him in the face three times. According to the paper, which was interviewing the artist during the incident, the man shouted at Mr. McCarthy that “he wasn’t French” and that his artwork had “nothing to do in this square.”

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A spokeswoman for Mr. McCarthy didn’t respond to requests for comment. The police official said no complaint had been filed on such an incident.

In the night from Friday to Saturday, a group of individuals cut through the cords that were holding up the artwork, the police official said. A person in charge of overseeing “Tree” then deflated it to limit any damage, the official said. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Is an Ebola Flight Ban a Good Idea? Nate Silver Doesn’t Think So

editor-commen-deskIt’s exceedingly rare that I agree with an Obama administration decision (though the decision is infirm, and could be weaseled any way the wind blows over the next several weeks) but the increasing calls to impose an Africa travel ban strike me as reflexive, not founded on proven disease strategy. Unlike a lot of bellyaching conservatives, and a handful of election-panicked Democrats, I’m not convinced that declining to respond to pressure to impose a travel ban is a bad thing. And I don’t think it’s motivated purely by narrow political or economic interests. That said, I don’t claim to be informed enough to have a clear opinion either way. So this morning I saw this, and thought it might be useful reading.

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Nate Silver writes:

On Sept. 19, Thomas Eric Duncan boarded a flight in Monrovia, Liberia, possibly after having lied on a screening questionnaire about his contact with persons carrying the Ebola virus. The next day, Duncan arrived in Dallas to visit his fiancée and son. Initially complaining of a fever, Duncan would soon become the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola. Before dying of the disease on Oct. 8, Duncan would transmit it to two nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who treated him at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.

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Duncan’s case has sparked calls to ban flights to the United States from the countries hardest hit by the recent Ebola outbreak — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — possibly along with others in West Africa. While some of these APPROVED-non-stop-panicarguments have been measured, others seem to convey the impression there are thousands of passengers arriving in cities like Dallas each day from flights originating in these countries.

There aren’t. We searched on Kayak.comExpertFlyer.com and airline websites for direct flights from West African nations (as the United Nations defines the region) to destinations outside the African continent. Specifically, we looked for flights available for the week from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, 2015, a time period far enough in advance that such flights are unlikely to have sold out.

There are no regularly scheduled direct flights to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone — and very few from other countries in West Africa. There are far more flights from West Africa to Western Europe instead. Duncan’s case was typical. Before arriving in the United States, he connected through Brussels.

Here are all the routes we identified:

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Our search may be missing a few flights here and there, but it ought to be reasonably comprehensive, especially for travel to and from the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


‘My Bravery Shames Them': Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State

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When 19-year-old Dilar and her girlfriends learned last spring that a woman who taught at a local school had died fighting Islamic State, they made a pact: They would join an all-female Syrian Kurdish brigade named in the teacher’s honor.

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me. My bravery shames them.”

Her unit, the Martyr Warsin Brigade, saw action this summer in a tough battle against the extremist fighters for Ras al-Ayn, a town along the Turkish border. Dilar came away without injury and returned home to a hero’s welcome.

[Also see The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp]

Now, during her downtime, she and her female comrades stride with a swagger through their villages east of the embattled city of Kobani.

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me,” said Dilar, who didn’t want to give her family name. “My bravery shames them.”

“Really we have no differences. We do what the men do.”

As debate flares in Washington and other capitals about whether the battle against Islamic State can succeed without more boots—even U.S. ones—on the ground, Kurdish women have stepped up to defend their lands in Syria and Iraq. An estimated one-third of the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani are women, fighters and residents say, a figure that mirrors their role in other significant battles across Kurdish territories this year.

The monthlong battle over the city on the Turkish border is straining Islamic State, Kurdish politicians and U.S. officials say, and hampering its overall expansion strategy.

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The overriding motivation that Kurds give for fighting the insurgents is to save their ancestral homeland from destruction. Yet many women combatants also cite a more personal crusade. Across the territory in Syria and Iraq that it now controls, Islamic State has reinstituted slavery, prohibited women from working and threatened to kill those Muslims, including Kurds, who don’t adhere to their ideology.

“Sometimes we are so close to them without knowing it, because they hide in empty buildings.” 

“Islamic State are terrorists, inhuman,” said a 28-year-old female commander of both men and women in Kobani who uses the nom-de-guerre Afsin Kobane.

Ms. Kobane was a kindergarten teacher when she decided last year to join the female unit of the Syrian Kurdish resistance force, known as YPJ. Speaking by telephone from her post in the besieged city on the Turkish border, she said her mixed-gender unit had been fighting for more than a month and was holding a position only a half-mile from Islamic State fighters. Read the rest of this entry »


Would You Like Pepper With That? Hong Kong Protesters Return to Mong Kok District

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HONG KONG—Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators swarmed back to a protest site Friday night that police had cleared earlier in the day, clashing with officers yet again on the streets of a city struggling to find a way out of a deepening political crisis.

“Apparently their action has triggered more people to occupy Mong Kok again. It’s totally congested with protesters who are forced by police to block the sidewalks and we couldn’t move at all.”

— Lisa Wan

Crowds swelled in the city’s Mong Kok district, one of Hong Kong’s three main protest sites, chanting “open the way” as police in riot gear linked hands to block people from crossing into the area’s main streets. People who were being held back by officers spilled onto side streets and onto already-packed sidewalks, as crowds shouted and jeered.

[Follow Pundit Planet's EXCLUSIVE coverage of the Hong Kong Protests]

Police used pepper spray on several protesters and detained a number of people, including acclaimed international photojournalist Paula Bronstein. A representative for Getty Images said Ms. Bronstein was on assignment for Getty to shoot the protests in Hong Kong and was awaiting more information.

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Hours earlier, before dawn Friday, protesters voluntarily left the Mong Kok encampment after hundreds of officers descended on the site and ordered the crowds to pack up and leave. Police were able to reopen traffic on one of the major thoroughfares in the area for the first time in days. But later in the morning, protesters started to rebuild their camp, again closing one lane of traffic. Tents re-emerged and trolleys of water and food were carted in as police lined the block and watched.

By Friday evening, thousands of protesters were again trying to fully close the entire street as police struggled to keep them at bay. Traffic was snarled throughout the area, and police tried to move demonstrators out of the way of city buses that had been caught up in the standoff. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Protesters Stage Another ‘Umbrella Marathon’ Run

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Gregor Stuart Hunter reports: For protesters sleeping on the streets of Hong Kong, the past three weeks have at times felt like a marathon. Now, they have a real one. Sort of.

“At a dire time like this, when we’ve been camped out for 19 days, this really helps boost morale.”

On Thursday night, runners returned for the second “Umbrella Marathon” following Sunday’s inaugural event, and named after the symbol of the city’s pro-democracy protests. The route is on downtown roads that are temporarily pedestrianized as a result of the sit-in, and just 2.5 miles compared to a regular marathon’s 26.2-mile slog.

Participants ran waving illuminated mobile phones in the nighttime air and cheered “Hong Kong, Hong Kong” as the students watching from the surrounding tent city broke into applause.

“Running is synonymous with freedom.”

“At a dire time like this, when we’ve been camped out for 19 days, this really helps boost morale,” said Nikki Lau, one of a handful of volunteers who organized the event in a single day after being inspired by a blog post.

The event drew a wide mix of Hong Kong society, including professionals and expatriates who said they had been looking for a role to play in supporting Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Center for Disease Control: Ebola Spreading in Africa Would Be ‘Threat to U.S. Health System for Long Time to Come’

“I will tell you, as the director of CDC, one of the things I fear about Ebola is that it could spread more widely in Africa. If this were to happen, it could become a threat to our health system, and the health care we give, for a long time to come.”

National Review Online


Onwaarschijnlijk Krijgers: Dutch Biker Gang Joins fight Against Islamic State in Iraq

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The three men are members of an infamous motorbike gang, No Surrender, the biggest biker club in the Netherlands

Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague: Three members of a Dutch motorcycle club with military backgrounds have gone to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS), a fellow biker says.

“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”

The three left for northern Iraq to help Kurds there after being horrified by news of IS atrocities, Klaas Otto told Dutch media.

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All are trained soldiers who have served abroad in the past, he said.

“They are trained guys with lots of experience – with foreign missions, too. They are extremely disciplined. They don’t drink any alcohol, not even on club evenings.”

Dutch prosecutors told BBC News that they were not necessarily breaking the law by fighting on the Kurdish side.

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Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said that signing up with organisations like IS or the Kurdish militant group PKK was banned but joining a foreign armed force was no longer forbidden.

But if there was proof that they were committing murders or rapes then “of course, it would be a different story”, he said.

The Netherlands’ defence ministry said it could not be held responsible for choices made by ex-servicemen.

The story emerged after photos began circulating on social media. One shows a man dressed in green military fatigues, clutching a Kalashnikov, sitting alongside a Kurdish fighter.

The Netherlands has a considerable Kurdish community. Read the rest of this entry »


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