OH HELL YEAH: U.S. Urges All Nationals In North Korea To ‘Depart Immediately’, Bans Tourists From VisitingPosted: July 21, 2017
YA THINK? The U.S. is to ban its citizens from travelling to North Korea.
US officials linked the move to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier.
Once the ban is in effect, US citizens will need special validation to travel to or within North Korea.
Mr Warmbier travelled to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours. He was arrested in 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was returned to the US in a coma in June and died a week later.
How did the news come to light?
Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate in North Korea, revealed on Friday that they had been told of the upcoming ban by the Swedish embassy, which acts for the US as Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
Rowan Beard, of Young Pioneer Tours, told the BBC the embassy was urging all US nationals to depart immediately.
He said the embassy was trying to check on the number of US tourists left in the country.
What form will the ban take?
Ms Nauert’s statement said: “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the Secretary has authorised a Geographical Travel Restriction on all US nationals’ use of a passport to travelling through, or to North Korea.
“Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through, and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea.
“We intend to publish a notice in the Federal Register next week.
“The restriction will be implemented 30 days after publication.”
Rowan Beard said that the 30-day grace period would “give leeway for any [Americans] currently in the country as tourists or on humanitarian work”.
How have the travel agencies reacted?
Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours told the BBC the agency would still conduct tours and take Americans until the ban came into effect.
“If their country allows them to go, we will take them,” he said.
Mr Cockerell added: “It’s unfortunate for the industry but also for North Koreans who want to know what Americans are really like.”
After the death of Mr Warmbier, the China-based Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer take visitors from the US to the country. Read the rest of this entry »
In the wake of the U.K.’s most recent terrorist attacks, its prime minister is talking tough on Internet regulation, but what she’s suggesting is impractical.
Tragically, there have been three major terrorist attacks in the U.K. in less than three months’ time. After the second, in Manchester, May and others said they would look into finding ways to compel tech companies to put cryptographic “back doors” into their services, so that law enforcement agencies could more easily access suspects’ user data.
May repeated her stance in broaders terms Sunday, following new attacks in London. “The Internet, and the big companies” are providing “safe spaces” for extremism, she said, and new regulations are needed to “regulate cyberspace.” She offered no specifics, but her party’s line, just days from the June 8 national election, is clear: a country that already grants its government some of the most sweeping digital surveillance powers of any democracy needs more and tougher laws to prevent terrorism (see “New U.K. Surveillance Law Will Have Worldwide Implications”).
The trouble is, this kind of talk ignores how the Internet and modern consumer technology works. As Cory Doctorow points out in a detailed look at how you would actually go about creating services with cryptographic holes, the practicalities of such a demand render it ludicrous bordering on impossible. Even if all of the necessary state-mandated technical steps were taken by purveyors of commercial software and devices—like Google or Apple, say—anyone who wanted to could easily skirt their restrictions by running open-source versions of the software, or unlocked phones.
That isn’t to say that May and the Conservatives’ general idea that the government should be able to probe user data as part of an investigation should be dismissed out of hand. The balancing act between national security and digital privacy has become one of the central themes of our digital lives (see “What If Apple Is Wrong?”). And while there are advocates aplenty on both sides, simple answers are hard to come by. Read the rest of this entry »
LONDON – British police rushed to an incident on London Bridge on Saturday after witnesses said a van plowed into pedestrians.
Police said they were dealing with an incident but gave no further details. A Reuters reporter near the scene said she saw 10 police cars rushing towards London Bridge.
— Kaine Pieri (@PieriKaine) June 3, 2017
A witness told the BBC she saw a speeding white van veering into pedestrians. The witness said the van hit five to six people … (more)
BREAKING NEW VIDEO: several London police officers enter bar at London Bridge telling people to get down. pic.twitter.com/bjq15uVEmN
— The Rouser (@RouserNews) June 3, 2017
Source: New York Post
This weakness should give conservatives no pleasure.
The government is rushing to compile details of its financial burden to host U.S. forces in Japan in preparation for a meeting of the defense chiefs of the two countries on Saturday, as well as for a separate meeting of the leaders scheduled for Feb. 10.
The U.S. side has intimated that it has no intention of demanding an increase in Japan’s share of the costs of stationing U.S. forces during the defense chiefs’ talks. However, the unpredictability of the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump is spurring the Japanese government to maintain a vigilant stance.
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada spoke at a press conference on Tuesday about her upcoming meeting with new U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. Although she declined to reveal whether the costs of hosting U.S. forces are on the agenda, Inada did say, “I intend to convey Japan’s position firmly and I hope the meeting will allow us to exchange opinions candidly.”
Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis had said the aim of Mattis’ visit to Japan was to strengthen ties and not to submit a list of demands. This has led some to believe that the state of Japan’s financial burden with regard to U.S. bases will not come up at the ministerial meeting.
Trump, however, did refer to increasing Japan’s burden during the U.S. presidential campaign. “We’re preparing to be ready to explain that Japan already has a heavy load, in case there is a demand,” a source inside the Defense Ministry said.
Costs of stationing U.S. forces in Japan include land prices and other costs relevant to providing facilities and sites. These are paid for by the Japanese side in keeping with the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, while all other costs, in principle, are covered by the United States.
However, since fiscal 1978, the Japanese side has been expanding the range of its expenses based on demands from the United States. Currently, personnel costs for base employees as well as lighting, heating and water costs are also funded by the Japanese side. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the Queen’s chaplains has resigned after criticising a Glasgow church for allowing a Koran reading during one of its services.
The Reverend Gavin Ashenden said he left his position in order to have more freedom of “speak out on behalf of the faith”.
“Because I think it a higher and more compelling duty to speak out on behalf of the faith, than to retain a public honour which precludes me doing so at this time, I resigned my post.”
Mr Ashenden had criticised the reading of the Koran during an Epiphany service at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow earlier this month in an attempt to improve interfaith relations in Glasgow.
A student read a segment relating to the birth of Jesus Christ in Arabic. Islam considers Christ to be a prophet but not the son of God.
Mr Ashenden, who has served as one of the Queen’s 34 chaplains for nine years, said the reading had caused “serious offence”. Read the rest of this entry »
Books related to U.S. President Donald Trump have increased in popularity as the new leader takes office.
Signs at Yaesu Book Center’s flagship branch in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, read, “Trump inaugurated as president” and “How will the world change?” with portraits of the former businessman displayed near the entrance of the shop.
The special section features about 20 Trump-related books, including collections of his speeches and forecasts on the impact of his presidency on the Japanese economy. Read the rest of this entry »
Footage appears to show a number of ambulances and police vehicles outside the Reina nightclub, in the Besiktas area of the city.
One of the Istanbul shooters disguised as Santa. pic.twitter.com/DfSPh8DNPk
— Mahir Zeynalov (@MahirZeynalov) December 31, 2016
NTV says two attackers were involved, with CNN Turk reported they were dressed in Santa costumes.
Istanbul had been on high alert for any terror attacks, with some 17,000 police officers on duty in the city…
Source: BBC News
Around 50 people injured
Around 50 people have been injured according to the latest reports.
Armed police are on the scene at the Reina club. Read the rest of this entry »
Is culture holding Black Americans back? The American economist and social theorist, Dr. Thomas Sowell, argues that the achievement gap seen by some blacks in America is caused by numerous factors – a significant one being the “black redneck” culture and what it glorifies.
Quin Hillyer writes: As Donald Trump builds his Cabinet, too little public attention has focused on the quasi-Cabinet-level position of Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
It’s an agency needing significant attention – and in Trump-supporting Alabama, home to Huntsville‘s Marshall Space Flight Center, we should be pushing for NASA to be revamped, re-energized, and perhaps re-imagined.
NASA traditionally has been one federal agency that gets good “bang for the buck,” in terms of benefits to human life. Because of experiments that can be conducted only in the weightlessness of space, NASA has contributed mightily to human medicine in ways too numerous to count (heart-transplant-related devices, artificial limbs, and pain reduction during cancer treatments among them). NASA also has contributed in many ways to highway safety, mapping, weather tracking (especially valuable for those of us who deal with hurricanes), oil-spill cleanup, and better computer software, not to mention the plethora of ordinary (non-life-saving) consumer products made possible or made better by NASA discoveries.
Meanwhile, NASA can boast a string of successes in its highest-profile role, that of exploration of both near- and deep-space. Sometimes we take for granted the astonishing feats of technology that NASA has produced – but recent robotic and orbiting analyses of Mars, and our amazing studies of distant semi-planet Pluto after a nine-year space flight, have added immeasurably to our knowledge of the solar system and its capacity for life. The orbiting Hubble Telescope, meanwhile, has opened new vistas into far-off galaxies we never knew existed.
Knowledgeable observers, it is true, will say that no need exists for only government to do everything space-related. They are correct:
Commercial/private space projects show signal successes and great potential for more. Nonetheless, the sheer scale and cost of rocketry makes space the one frontier in which the national government can rationally engage in public/private partnerships of the sort usually more suited to state and local governments. Read the rest of this entry »
A “killer clown” craze is sweeping Britain, with police warning people against dressing as clowns in order to intimidate or harm people.
Now, the craze has taken a change for the strange in Cumbria, where a man is dressing as Batman and vowing to chase down the creepy clowns.
A photograph has been shared on Facebook of “Batman” seemingly chasing off a “killer clown”.
BBC Cumbria reported local company Cumbria Superheroes is behind the effort to rid the streets of clowns.
They have reassured that the costumed man is not a vigilante, but just trying to reassure local children who are scared of the “killer clowns”.
BBC Cumbria also shared a screenshot of an image, apparently from a local child, who was reassured after hearing “Batman” caught the clown. Read the rest of this entry »
Tetsuo Arima Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Waseda University
Tetsuo Arima writes: In Washington D.C., the capital of the United States, there is an attraction called the “Duck Tour.” It takes tourists on an amphibious vehicle to tourist spots on both sides of the Potomac River. As the vehicle nears the State Department building, the tour guide gives tourists a quiz. “Over there is the Voice of America, a network which broadcasts around the world. What is the only country that is not covered by this network?” When I participated in this tour, I was the first to raise my hand and answer, “America.” The tour guide made a sour face.
The U.S. government does not engage in propaganda toward Americans. Since the people choose representatives to form a government by democratic elections, the government should not lead its people to make wrong decisions by spreading propaganda. This is a basic principle of democracy. Countries such as China and North Korea, which do not practice democracy, control their populations with propaganda.
However, the U.S., which is a democracy, does engage in propaganda toward other countries. Even its allies are no exception. America, with huge “soft” power, has great influence on other countries, mainly through movies, TV programs, music and fashion, and also utilizes propaganda to the maximum extent. The tour guide must have been displeased because he realized I knew that.
Propaganda in the Information Age
We live in a highly digitized world today. The amount of information is growing exponentially, and many people believe unconditionally that more information is better. This is true if such information is true, unbiased and helps its recipients make sound judgments. But as the amount of information grows, so does the amount that is biased and false. In particular, in the borderless world of the Internet, if one continues to pursue related information, one can easily stray into propaganda sites established by various countries without knowing it.
Readers believe that such information is interesting and useful, but its creators take the trouble to translate and present it in an effort to plant certain ideas and images in the reader’s mind. They expend great time and money to do so. Even smallish businesses spend huge amounts of money on public relations and commercials, so it is natural that major countries bring together elite propagandists, organize powerful state agencies, and give them enormous budgets in order to spread propaganda.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 29, 2016
VOA, mentioned above, is one of those propaganda agencies. In fact, it is modeled after the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC has a strong image as a reputable public broadcaster, but it is also known to spread propaganda, especially during wartime. Nonetheless, it did not spread rumors, praise its country unreservedly, or slander enemy countries, unlike state-owned media in non-democratic countries. The BBC reported news strictly based on facts, but achieved enormous impact by broadcasting only the facts that were convenient to its country and inconvenient to hostile ones.
Responsibility of the mass media
In China, a non-democratic country which controls its people with propaganda, news presented by China Central Television (CCTV), a broadcaster run by the Communist Party, should be regarded as propaganda whether it targets domestic or foreign audiences. Of course CCTV also uses language which makes its content really sound like propaganda. The problem in Japan is that the mass media frequently repeat such propaganda as part of their news. Read the rest of this entry »
“The impeachment does not in any way resolve the political or economic crisis, but it gives us some hope, because for the first time in a long time, we will have a plan.”
— Lucas de Aragão, director of Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia
Wednesday’s 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nosedive and its political fortunes soured.
Rousseff was replaced by her former vice president and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who has been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial in May. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy.
But Temer is as unpopular as Rousseff, and whether he can muster the political support for such changes was unclear. Read the rest of this entry »
The Beatles captured the hearts and ears of a generation with music that continues to resonate today. Here are 17 hits by The Beatles, produced by George Martin, whose contributions ranged far beyond the traditional producer role, from arranging to composing to playing instruments:
1. “Please Please Me” (1963)
When John Lennon and Paul McCartney first played “Please Please Me” for George Martin during their second EMI recording session on September 4th, 1962, the song was miles away from the uptempo tune that would become their first Number One. “At that stage ‘Please Please Me’ was a very dreary song,” Martin recalled to historian Mark Lewisohn. “It was like a Roy Orbison number, very slow, bluesy vocals. It was obvious to me that it badly needed pepping up.” He suggested they speed it up double-time, and suddenly they had a hit on their hands. “We were a bit embarrassed that he had found a better tempo than we had,” admitted McCartney in The Beatles Anthology.
2. “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964)
Song featured in the Beatles’ first film, with that title — taken from drummer Ringo’s response to a comment that he looked tired: “Yea, I’ve had a hard day’s night, you know.”
3. “Yesterday” (1965)
When Paul McCartney first completed the song he literally dreamed up, the rest of the band were at a loss for what to play on it. The somber tone and mournful lyrics didn’t really lend themselves to an effective drum pattern, jangly guitars or even vocal harmonies. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING (AP) — China said Saturday that it will not renew press credentials for a French journalist, effectively expelling her following a harsh media campaign against her for questioning the official line equating ethnic violence in China’s western Muslim region with global terrorism.
Expecting the move, Ursula Gauthier, a longtime journalist for the French news magazine L’Obs, said late Friday night that she was prepared to leave China.
“They want a public apology for things that I have not written,” Gauthier said. “They are accusing me of writing things that I have not written.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Gauthier was no longer “suitable” to be allowed to work in China because she had supported “terrorism and cruel acts” that killed civilians and refused to apologize for her words.
“China has always protected the legal rights of foreign media and foreign correspondents to report within the country, but China does not tolerate the freedom to embolden terrorism,” Lu said in a statement.
Gauthier on Saturday called the accusations “absurd,” and said that emboldening terrorism is morally and legally wrong. She said that she should be prosecuted if that were the case. Read the rest of this entry »
Belgian police have made 16 arrests in anti-terror raids but suspected Paris attacks gunman Salah Abdeslam remains at large, the authorities have said.
A total of 22 raids were carried out on Sunday across Brussels and Charleroi, Belgian prosecutor Eric van der Sypt told a news conference.
“Salah Abdeslam is not among the people arrested”
— Eric Van Der Sypt
Police fired two shots at a car during an operation in Molenbeek, injuring one suspect who was later arrested.
More than 130 people died and some 350 were injured in the attacks in Paris.
No weapons or explosives were found during the searches on Sunday, Mr van der Sypt said.
Brussels will remain on the highest level of terror alert, Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel said. Universities, schools and the city’s metro system will also remain shut.
BBC News reports: Brussels has been on lockdown all weekend amid a manhunt for Abdeslam, who is suspected of being among the assailants who killed 130 people in Paris on Friday.
Mr Michel told reporters that authorities feared “an attack similar to the one in Paris, with several individuals who could also possibly launch several attacks at the same time in multiple locations”.
Eric Van Der Sypt: “Salah Abdeslam is not among the people arrested”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) November 22, 2015
Meanwhile, the BBC understands that another of the suspected attackers – pictured in a new French police appeal issued on Sunday – arrived in Greece under the name of M al-Mahmod.
The BBC’s Ed Thomas has matched the image released by French police with a photo on the arrival papers of a man who reached the Greek island of Leros on 3 October.
French police have asked for more information about the man, whom they say was the third suicide bomber to strike the Stade de France on 13 November.
Earlier, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the danger to Belgium was not tied to Abdeslam alone.
“The threat is broader than the one suspected terrorist,” he told Flemish broadcaster VRT. Read the rest of this entry »
A video posted by a Jordanian-Palestinian teacher on Facebook shows his young daughter holding a large knife and declaring, “I want to stab a Jew,” the watchdog group MEMRI reported, amid an ongoing surge of stabbings and other terror attacks by Palestinians on Israelis.
“Why do you want to stab the Jew?”
Abdulhaleem Abuesha, a teacher in the Madaba refugee camp in Jordan, posted the clip on Friday. MEMRI translated and highlighted it on Tuesday.
“Because he stole our land.”
After his daughter Rahf, standing in front of the refrigerator in the kitchen, declares her desire to stab a Jew, Abuesha asks, “Why do you want to stab the Jew?”
“With what do you want to stab them?”
“Because he stole our land,” she replies.
“With a knife.”
Her father confirms approvingly: “They stole our land.” He then asks, “With what do you want to stab them?” Read the rest of this entry »
Pizza Rat’s on a roll! Pranksters paid homage to the iconic Big Apple rodent — by building a robot version of it.
Source: New York Post
Russian President Vladimir Putin defends decision to send warplanes as aimed at political solution.
MOSCOW— Thomas Grove reports: Russia stepped up its bombing campaign in Syria over the weekend, more than doubling the rate of strikes seen at the beginning of the operation.
“The Kremlin’s air campaign in Syria has exacerbated tensions between Moscow and Washington, which has led a separate campaign of strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense said Monday its jet fighters had carried out 55 sorties over the past 24 hours, hitting targets in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Latakia, Idlib and Raqqa. The daily number had been around two dozen last week.
“U.S. and Western officials say Russia’s airstrikes have largely targeted Syrian opposition groups other than Islamic State in a bid to shore up Mr. Assad’s government.”
Russian warplanes are backing an offensive launched last week by troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian military said Su-34, Su-24 and Su-25 fighters hit Islamic State field headquarters, training camps and weapons arsenals in the latest bombing runs.
“Our task is to stabilize the legal government and create the right conditions for reaching a political compromise. We have no desire to recreate an empire and resurrect the Soviet Union.”
— Vladimir Putin
The Kremlin’s air campaign in Syria has exacerbated tensions between Moscow and Washington, which has led a separate campaign of strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq. U.S. and Western officials say Russia’s airstrikes have largely targeted Syrian opposition groups other than Islamic State in a bid to shore up Mr. Assad’s government.
The Russian government depicts Islamic State as a direct threat to its citizens. On Monday, Russia’s Federal Security Service told the state news agency Interfax that law-enforcement officials had foiled a plot to carry out an attack on public transportation in Moscow—and that some of the individuals arrested in the case had trained at Islamic State camps in Syria.
In an interview aired Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended his decision to send warplanes to Syria, saying the air war was aimed at spurring a political solution to the conflict in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.
Amir Taheri writes: Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation,” fixed for Dec. 15.
“The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers.”
But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.
“Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.”
The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.
The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document “running into more than 1,000 pages,” according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the “examining committee.”
“The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text,” he adds enigmatically.
Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama “deal” with any legal basis of their own. Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else.
So they have started doing just that without bothering about JCPOA’s other provisions. Britain has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies blacklisted because of alleged involvement in deals linked to the nuclear issue.
“Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama ‘deal’ with any legal basis of their own.”
German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third-largest partner after China.
China has signed preliminary accords to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors. Russia has started delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is engaged in talks to sell Sukhoi planes to the Islamic Republic.
“Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else.”
France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-man delegation to negotiate big business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports.
Other nations have also interpreted JCPOA as a green light for dropping sanctions. Indian trade with Iran has risen by 17 percent, and New Delhi is negotiating massive investment in a rail-and-sea hub in the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar on the Gulf of Oman. With help from Austrian, Turkish and United Arab Emirates banks, the many b Read the rest of this entry »
PANIC: German TV Network Inflames Refugee Debate by Depicting Angela Merkel as a Chador-Wearing MuslimPosted: October 6, 2015
Justin Huggler reports: ARD television was inundated with complaints after it broadcast a mocked-up picture of Mrs Merkel wearing the garment, known as a chador, against a backdrop of the Reichstag surrounded by minarets.
“This is not constructive journalism. Ugh! The mood turns because of such defamation and propaganda. So yes it’s true: integration cannot succeed.”
— A Facebook post
The image was shown during a debate on the refugee crisis on Report from Berlin, a Newsnight-style programme, and was intended to be satirical, the broadcaster claimed.
“Of course it was also the of this artwork to provoke and polarise opinion. We consider this satirical form of representation to be in keeping with our journalistic values. We reject any insinuation that we would operate Islamophobic propaganda.”
— ARD television, defending its use of the controversial image
But many viewers accused the programme-makers of Islamophobia, and said they were deliberately provoking anti-Muslim sentiments.
“This is not constructive journalism. Ugh!” read one comment on the programme’s Facebook page. “The mood turns because of such defamation and propaganda. So yes it’s true: integration cannot succeed.”
The broadcaster defended the use of the image. “Of course it was also the of this artwork to provoke and polarise opinion,” it said in a statement.
“We consider this satirical form of representation to be in keeping with our journalistic values. We reject any insinuation that we would operate Islamophobic propaganda.”
But many viewers complained that the image was similar to posters produced by the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant movement Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West. Read the rest of this entry »
Only one in 20 Russian air strikes in Syria have targeted ISIS fighters, Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Saturday. British intelligence services observed that five percent of the strikes had attacked the militant jihadist group, with most “killing civilians” and Free Syrian forces fighting against the regime of president Bashar al-Assad, Fallon told the Sun newspaper….(read more)
Source: AFP/Yahoo News
Left-wing thought has shifted towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic. It is insupportable.
Nick Cohen writes: ‘Tory, Tory, Tory. You’re a Tory.’ The level of hatred directed by the Corbyn left at Labour people who have fought Tories all their lives is as menacing as it is ridiculous. If you are a woman, you face misogyny. Kate Godfrey, the centrist Labour candidate in Stafford, told the Times she had received death threats and pornographic hate mail after challenging her local left. If you are a man, you are condemned in language not heard since the fall of Marxist Leninism. ‘This pathetic small-minded jealousy of the anti-democratic bourgeois shows them up for the reactionary neocons they really are,’ a Guardian commenter told its columnist Rafael Behr after he had criticised Corbyn.
Not that they are careful about anything, or that they will take advice from me, but the left should be careful of what it wishes for. Its accusations won’t seem ridiculous soon. The one prophesy I can make with certainty amid today’s chaos is that many on the left will head for the right. When they arrive, they will be greeted with bogus explanations for their ‘betrayal’.
Conservatives will talk as if there is a right-wing gene which, like male-pattern baldness, manifests itself with age. The US leftist-turned-neocon Irving Kristol set the pattern for the pattern-baldness theory of politics when he opined that a conservative is a liberal who has been ‘mugged by reality’. He did not understand that the effects of reality’s many muggings are never predictable, or that facts of life are not always, as Margaret Thatcher claimed, conservative. If they were, we would still have feudalism.
[Check out Nick Cohen‘s book “You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom” at Amazon.com]
The standard explanation from left-wingers is equally self-serving. Turncoats are like prostitutes, they say, who sell their virtue for money. They are pure; those who disagree with them are corrupt; and that is all there is to it.
Owen Jones, who seems to have abandoned journalism to become Jeremy Corbyn’s PR man, offers an equally thoughtless argument. ‘Swimming against a strong tide is exhausting,’ he sighed recently. Leftists who stray from virtue are defeated dissidents, who bend under the pressure to conform.
It won’t wash, particularly as Jones cannot break with the pressures that enforce conformity in his left-wing world and accept the real reason why many leave the left. It ought to be obvious. The left is why they leave the left. Never more so than today.
In the past, people would head to the exits saying, ‘Better the centre right than the far left.’ Now they can say ‘better the centre right than the far right’. The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.
In 2007 I tried to make amends, and published What’s Left. If they were true to their professed principles, my book argued, modern leftists would search out secular forces in the Muslim world — Iranian and Arab feminists, say, Kurdish socialists or Muslim liberals struggling against reactionary clerics here in Britain — and embrace them as comrades. Instead, they preferred to excuse half the anti-western theocrats and dictators on the planet. As, in their quiet way, did many in the liberal mainstream. Throughout that period, I never heard the BBC demanding of ‘progressives’ how they could call themselves left-wing when they had not a word of comfort for the Iraqi and Afghan liberals al-Qaeda was slaughtering.
The triumph of Jeremy Corbyn has led to What’s Left? sales picking up, and readers acclaiming my alleged prescience. Grateful though I am, I cannot accept the compliment. I never imagined that left-wing politics would get as bad as they have become. I assumed that when the criminally irresponsible Blair flew off in his Learjet, the better angels of the left’s nature would re-assert themselves.
What a fool I was. Read the rest of this entry »
China’s female guards of honor made their overseas debut Saturday on a military music festival staged in Moscow to celebrate the 868 years’ anniversary of the founding of the city.
A cold rain lasted throughout the parade, however, it didn’t dampen the troop’s morale as Moscow residents watched the Chinese girls in poncho striding along the historic Tverskaya Street, one of Moscow’s most visited areas.
Earlier on Friday, they attended a festival rehearsal on the Red Square. Pictures of the female soldiers’ formation soon drew many praising remarks on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo.
“Their bright and valiant look represents Chinese people’s heroic spirit, unity and perseverance,”@5372170258.
“Salute to China’s female soldiers,”@TOMYyuleifengtongxing.
“Our female soldiers are awesome,”@baiduanrouchang.
“The frequent exchanges between China and Russia show their close friendship,”@kexuejiahuojianzhushi.
As part of the tribute to Welles, three of his cult movies will be screened: “Citizen Kane,” “The Lady from Shanghai” and “Touch of Evil.” The documentary feature “This Is Orson Welles” by Clara and Julia Kuperberg, which is produced by TCM Cinema and Wichita Films, will also play.
Deauville described Welles as an “enduring legend of world cinema, who at an early age reinvented the grammar of his art with his masterpiece Citizen Kane. Read the rest of this entry »
007 Spectre Trailer 2 (2015) Daniel Craig James Bond Movie HD [Official Trailer]
Simon Kent reports: Being economical with the truth is a BBC speciality. After all it views the world through a prism of oh-so-trendy left-wing morality so massaging the truth into something more palatable to its own world perspective is, sadly, a given.
Viewers had another taste of the public broadcaster’s distorted views last night when BBC Two aired an hour-long documentary called Children of the Gaza War presented by chief international correspondent Lyse Doucett. She typified the truism that ‘neutral’ for a BBC reporter is left-of-centre for everyone else – Guardian readers excepted.
Doucett’s report was all pretty anodyne stuff and purported to show the Palestinian conflict through the eyes of children from both sides during and after the 50-day war last summer. Except something got lost in translation. That something was the truth.
Throughout the programme the word “Israelis” was substituted for “Jews” in the on-screen translation of interviews with Palestinian children. In one instance, a Gazan child says the “yahud” are massacring Palestinians. However the subtitles read: “Israel is massacring us”.
There were other examples where Palestinian children were routinely interviewed and used the word ‘yahud’ meaning Jew. BBC translators again insisted on using the word ‘Israelis’ instead. Read the rest of this entry »
London (AFP) – Britain has been forced to move some of its spies after Russia and China accessed the top-secret raft of documents taken by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, British media reported.
“We know Russia and China have access to Snowden’s material and will be going through it for years to come, searching for clues to identify potential targets.”
— Intelligence source, to the Sunday Times
The BBC and the Sunday Times cited senior government and intelligence officials as saying agents had been pulled, with the newspaper saying the move came after Russia was able to decrypt more than one million files.
“It is the case that Russians and Chinese have information. It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowledge of how we operate has stopped us getting vital information,” a Downing Street source said, according to the newspaper.
“It is the case that Russians and Chinese have information. It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowledge of how we operate has stopped us getting vital information.”
— Downing Street source
Downing Street told AFP on Sunday that they “don’t comment on intelligence matters” while the Foreign Office said: “We can neither confirm or deny these reports”.
The BBC said on its website, meanwhile, that a government source said the two countries “have information” that spurred intelligence agents being moved, but said there was “no evidence” any spies were harmed.
Snowden fled to Russia after leaking the documents to the press in 2013 to expose the extent of US online surveillance programmes and to protect “privacy and basic liberties”.
The Sunday Times said other government sources claimed China had also accessed the documents, which reveal US and British intelligence techniques, leading to fears that their spies could be identified. Read the rest of this entry »
Al Jazeera reports: Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, has died in prison aged 79 years old.
Iraqi officials said Aziz, who was one of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s top deputies, died on Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack on Thursday.
Al Jazeera has learnt that Aziz’s son, Ziad, expressed outrage that Iraqi officials had not informed him of his father’s death, and he had instead found out through local media reports.
Aziz was Iraq’s foreign minister between 1983 and 1991 and deputy prime minister between 1979 and 2003.
He was sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal in 2010 for his role in human-rights abuses committed under the former government, which was overthrown in 2003 when Iraq was invaded by a US-led alliance.
Iraq’s public face
Aziz surrendered to US forces shortly after the invasion and had been a prisoner since.
“There will be no eulogies for him, no day of mourning for him. He was hated as a member of the former regime,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea
A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel carrying “between 500 and 700 migrants” capsized at midnight local time, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.
So far 28 people have been rescued.
Earlier this week, four hundred people are feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized north of Libya.
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) April 19, 2015
Italian ships, the Maltese Navy and commercial vessels are all involved in the rescue operation in Libyan waters.
New migrants emergency – 28 rescued, many corpses found as boat with 700 capsizes
Twenty-eight migrants have been rescued but hundreds are feared dead after a boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized last night.
The incident happened in an area just off Libyan waters, 120 miles south of Lampedusa.
The emergency was declared at about midnight when the migrants are believed to have moved to one side of the boat, capsizing it, when a merchant ship approached.
The incident bears similarities to another case last week when some 400 migrants are believed to have perished. Only some 150 were rescued.
A number of bodies were washed ashore in Libya.
Mark Micallef, a journalist with the paper, told the BBC such incidents were “not at all uncommon”.
“We have seen this sort of scenario happen all over again, where a boat gets capsized right at the moment of rescue. Read the rest of this entry »
Cervantes died one year after his magnum opus, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, was published in 1615.
MADRID— Jeannette Neumann reports: Researchers announced Tuesday they believe they have identified some of the 400-year-old remains of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha,” considered the first modern novel.
“We are convinced that among these fragments, we have something of Cervantes. However, I can’t say that with absolutely certainty.”
— Francisco Etxeberria, a lead researcher on the project
Researchers said they weren’t able to individually or categorically identify Cervantes’ remains in a Madrid convent after four centuries of deterioration that have left many of the bones as fragments.
But based on a combination of historic documentation that details where Cervantes was buried and anthropological evidence about the age of the bones and clothing, researchers said they were mostly convinced they had found remains of Spain’s prince of prose.
“Between 1698 and 1730, researchers said construction to expand that church lead to the removal of 17 bodies nearby to what is now the crypt of the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in central Madrid. Cervantes and his wife were among the 17 bodies that were moved.”
“We are convinced that among these fragments, we have something of Cervantes,” Francisco Etxeberria, a lead researcher on the project, said at a news conference Tuesday at Madrid’s city hall. “However, I can’t say that with absolutely certainty.”
Cervantes died one year after his magnum opus, which follows the adventures of the knight errant Don Quixote and his sidekick, was published in 1615. But only in the last 12 months has a serious hunt for his remains been launched. Read the rest of this entry »