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Teacher, 28, ‘Gang Raped By 9 Iraqi Immigrants In Vienna Attack’

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A court in Austria has heard that nine Iraqi immigrants gang raped a teacher during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Vienna.

The woman, 28, said she was drinking in a bar with a female friend but was apparently “taken away” by four men and led to an apartment where five more men were waiting to begin the “humiliating and agonizing” attack, which lasted for two hours.

The defendants in the case are aged 22 to 45 and are all related to each other. At the time of the alleged attack, which is said to have taken place on January 1, 2016, five of the men had refugee status while the asylum applications of the other four were pending.

After the alleged incident, one of the men led the woman – who is German – to a bathroom in the apartment and with his phone took a photo featuring both of them.  She was later taken to a tram stop in central Vienna and subsequently hospitalized.

One defendant has pleaded guilty to rape. The others deny assaulting the woman. The court was told they feel “no guilt” despite the existence of DNA evidence.  One claimed the woman had been “offered” to them by relatives while another said she was willing.

At about 3am the woman and her friend were drinking in a bar called Cactus when the victim disappeared. A witness in the bar reportedly said some men she had been talking with had “taken her away”. Read the rest of this entry »

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OH YES THEY DID: Secret Document Lifts Iran Nuclear Constraints, Cuts Time Tehran Would Need to Build Bomb by Half

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Breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double.

VIENNA (AP) — Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program imposed under an internationally negotiated deal will ease in slightly more than a decade, cutting the time Tehran would need to build a bomb to six months from present estimates of a year, according to a document obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The document is the only part linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

12 Times the Obama Administration Caved to Iran on Nuclear Deal

The diplomat who shared the document with the AP described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal. But while formally separate from that accord, he said that it was in effect an integral part of the deal and had been approved both by Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the six powers that negotiated the deal with Tehran.

[Read the full story here, at the Associated Press]

Details published earlier outline most restraints on Iran’s nuclear program meant to reduce the threat that Tehran will turn nuclear activities it says are peaceful to making weapons.

But while some of the constraints extend for 15 years, documents in the public domain are short on details of what happens with Iran’s most proliferation-prone nuclear activity – its uranium enrichment – beyond the first 10 years of the agreement.

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The document obtained by the AP fills in the gap. It says that as of January 2027 – 11 years after the deal was implemented – Iran can start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.

Centrifuges churn out uranium to levels that can range from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research purposes to much higher levels for the core of a nuclear warhead. From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran can install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.

Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, at the State Department on Wednesday. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, at the State Department on Wednesday. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The U.S. says the Iran nuclear agreement is tailored to ensure that Iran would need at least 12 months to “break out” and make enough weapons grade uranium for at least one weapon.

But based on a comparison of outputs between the old and newer machines, if the enrichment rate doubles, that breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double, a possibility the document allows for.

The document also allows Iran to greatly expand its work with centrifuges that are even more advanced, including large-scale testing in preparation for the deal’s expiry 15 years after its implementation on Jan. 18. Read the rest of this entry »


Hungary Declares State Of Emergency, Deploys Thousands Of Troops To Border

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Chris Tomlinson reports: Announcing the deployment of troops, the minister said: “we don’t know exactly what reactions those refugees and illegal migrants will have, [those] who are already inside the neighbouring countries. Therefore the government has decided that to prepare for this situation Hungary will strengthen protection of its borders, and we declare a crisis situation due to migration for the entire country.”

New fears of migrants passing through both Romania and Bulgaria to get to Hungary triggered the move, with the unpredictability of the migrant crisis and the migrant flow being a huge cause for concern for the Hungarian government, reports Kronen Zeitung.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart.com]

The Hungarians are also worried about the growing number of migrants who are stuck in Greece along the border with Macedonia and Bulgaria. There are concerns the tens of thousands now stuck along the Balkans may attempt to force their way through borders, as has been observed in Greece. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Geography of Genius: Why Some Places are Better at Fostering Creativity 

Renaissance Florence, Enlightenment Edinburgh, Mozart‘s Vienna: why have certain places at certain times created such monumental leaps in thought and innovation? This is the question at the heart of travel writer Eric Weiner‘s latest book, The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places, From Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley.

“This is a book about process, about how creative genius happens and what are the circumstances,” Weiner explains. “I believe in the power of place and the power of culture to shape our lives in unexpected ways.”

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Traveling the globe, Weiner looked at the locations and cultures that fostered history’s greatest minds. Through his research he pieced together a list of ingredients he believes played a vital role in creating these “genius clusters,” including money, diversity, competition, and disorder.

“A little bit of chaos is good,” says Weiner. “The pot has to be stirred. If you are fully invested in the status quo—either as a person or a place—you are unlikely to create genius because you are too comfortable.”

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So can a government build a city that will generate the geniuses of tomorrow? Weiner thinks not. “I wish I could sit here and tell you that there was a formula and if you applied that formula you could create the next Silicon Valley,” he says. “There is no formula.”

About 8:30 minutes.

Camera by Austin Bragg and Joshua Swain. Hosted and edited by Meredith Bragg.


Hungary Shuts Down Budapest Train Station to Migrants Amid Rising Tension Between European Countries 

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BUDAPEST, Hungary – Keleti train station, which has emerged as ground zero in Europe’s spiraling migration crisis, cut off service to migrants Tuesday as European countries remained bitterly divided and confused over how to handle the situation.

“That they are simply getting on board in Budapest and they make sure they will travel to the neighbouring country – what sort of politics is that?”

Emphasizing the sense of confusion, Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, called on Germany, the preferred destination for many of the migrants, to clarify its stance on asylum rules, and Chancellor Werner Faymann lashed out at Hungary for its seeming failure to register migrants before they were sent on to neighbouring Austria. Read the rest of this entry »


3 Arrested in Connection with Deaths of 71 Migrants in Truck

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VIENNA (AP) — Police arrested three people in Hungary overnight in connection with the deaths of 71 migrants found in a refrigerated truck abandoned on Austria’s main highway, a police official said Friday.

The migrants likely suffocated, said Hans Peter Doskozil, chief of police in eastern Burgenland province. A Syrian travel document was found, indicating that at least some of the dead were refugees fleeing violence in Syria, though it wasn’t clear if some were for elsewhere. The 71 included eight women and four children.

It was the latest tragedy in a year that has seen tens of thousands of people risking everything to seek a better life or refuge in wealthy European countries. Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: Why U.S. Diplomacy is Leading the Way to a World of Nuclear Proliferation

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How North Korea made the Iran deal inevitable.

 writes: The deal between Iran, the United States, and the European Union on Tehran’s nuclear program, if it becomes operationalized as scheduled, will ensure that Iran will have nuclear weapons by 2025, if not well before. As Michael Mandelbaum has explained , the Obama Administration’s unwillingness to credibly threaten the use of force against Tehran resulted in the abandonment of decades of U.S. nuclear principles designed to prevent the spread of uranium enrichment, combined with the removal of effective sanctions that squeezed the regime.

“With U.S. diplomacy having midwifed one failed deal and generated a new flawed one, the future will almost certainly see the further spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes.”

By any account, the Vienna negotiations were an unqualified success for Iran. The reason for that is simple: America’s failed bipartisan North Korean policy set a model for would-be proliferators on how to negotiate one’s way to a nuclear weapon. Now, the unwillingness or inability of Washington to learn the lessons of the past appears to ensure that regimes desiring to proliferate have a proven roadmap to follow.

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“By any account, the Vienna negotiations were an unqualified success for Iran. The reason for that is simple: America’s failed bipartisan North Korean policy set a model for would-be proliferators on how to negotiate one’s way to a nuclear weapon.”

With U.S. diplomacy having midwifed one failed deal and generated a new flawed one, the future will almost certainly see the further spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes.

[Read the full text here, at The American Interest]

At almost every step of the Iran negotiations, the Obama Administration repeated past mistakes made by it, the Bush, and the Clinton Administrations. To paraphrase Barbara Tuchman, we are witnessing a nuclear march of folly. In order to prevent future similar outcomes, it’s of paramount importance that we understand the North Korean case.

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The first mistake made by successive U.S. administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, in dealing with North Korea was perhaps the fatal one. Each set of U.S. negotiators assumed, or convinced itself, that a deal could be reached that would ultimately persuade Pyongyang to abandon its goal of achieving a nuclear or ballistic missile capability. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] John Kerry: Lawyer to the Mullahs

Secretary of State John Kerry goes to bat for Iran as he tries to sell the legitimacy of the nuclear deal.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani laughs as he speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (


Iran Bitch-Slaps Kerry’s ‘Empty Threats’

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Tehran (AFP) – Iran hit out Friday against US Secretary of State John Kerry, accusing him of threatening military action against Tehran if it fails to respect a historic nuclear deal sealed on July 14.

“Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a statement.

Zarif decried what he called the “uselessness of such empty threats against the nation of Iran and the resistance of the nation of Iran”, and said such remarks should be consigned “to the last century”.

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“Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’.”

Despite the agreement reached with Iran on putting the nuclear bomb out of Tehran’s reach, several US officials, including Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, have signalled that military force remains on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Read the rest of this entry »


The Iran Deal in 26 Seconds: Ben Rhodes ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ ‘We Never Said That’

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 writes:

“Obama’s deal to lift sanctions on Iran and allow it to continue the purchase and production of enriched uranium is so bad that his own staff can’t even figure out how to spin for it. It’s so bad that Obama’s opponents don’t even need to craft their own arguments against it — they can just recycle the Obama administration’s arguments against the deal…”

Read more…

TheFederalist.com


Euphoria in Iran as U.S. Accepts Defeat

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” The Middle East has just become far more dangerous than it was a day ago. And the Obama administration has no one to blame but itself.”

Dov Zakheim writes:

…President Obama says that the deal makes the world “safer and more secure.” But here is how the Iranian Mehr News Agency describes the outcome:

– Iran’s nuclear program that was unjustly introduced as a threat to global security will now be recognized as a field for international cooperation with other countries.

– Iran will be recognized by the U.N. as a country with nuclear technology and entitled to rights of peaceful nuclear program including enrichment and full fuel cycle.

– All economic and financial sanctions against Iran will be removed through a new Security Council resolution.

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“The lifting of restrictions ensures that Iran will be no further from achieving nuclear weapons status than it is today. Nothing has been rolled back. None of the initial Western demands, whether regarding enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the extent of inspections, or the timetable for lifting sanctions have been met.”

– All nuclear facilities in Iran will retain their activities. Contrary to the initial demands of the other side, none of the nuclear sites will be shut down.

– With the new UNSC resolution under article 25, in addition to article 41 on provisions related to removal of past sanctions, the treatment of UN Security Council toward Iran will also undergo a fundamental change.

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“Iran will now have access to the latest technology, to international trade, and, most important, to billions of dollars. Estimates of Tehran’s financial windfall range as high as $150 billion.”

– All nuclear facilities in Iran will retain their activities. Contrary to the initial demands of the other side, none of the nuclear sites will be shut down.

– The policy to prevent Iran’s enrichment activities failed. Iran will continue nuclear enrichment.

– Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will be preserved. No centrifuge will be destroy [sic] and research and development on all advanced centrifuges including IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 and IR-8 will continue.

– Arak heavy water reactor will remain as such. Any demands to return the facility to a light water reactor have been dismissed. The facility will be modernized and enjoy new additions through cooperating with owners of most advanced and secure world technologies.

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“Even if the actual figures are no more than $50 billion, that sum is enough for Iran both to modernize its infrastructure and double, perhaps triple its financial support for terrorist activities, which currently is estimated to cost the Islamic Republic less than ten billions dollars.”

– Iran will enter global markets as a producer of nuclear products especially in the case of “enriched uranium” and “heavy water.” All sanctions and limitations against imports and exports of nuclear material will be annulled.

– All economic and financial sanctions in the fields of banking, oil, gas, petrochemicals, insurance, and transportation as imposed by the EU and the U.S. under the pretext of Iran’s nuclear program will be immediately lifted upon the implementation of the agreement.

“Clearly, from the Iranian perspective, this is one terrific deal.”

– Ban on Iran’s missile activities including ballistic missiles will be limited to missiles designed for nuclear weapons, of which the Islamic Republic has never been and will be after.

– Iran’s arms embargo will be lifted, replaced with some restrictions to be removed in 5 years.

– Ban on purchasing sensitive dual-use items will be lifted and Iran’s needs will be met more easily through Iran and 5+1 joint commission.

– Billions of Iran’s blocked revenues in foreign banks will be unfrozen.

– A total of 800 individuals and legal entities, including the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), will be released from any sanctions.

Clearly, from the Iranian perspective, this is one terrific deal.

What about from the Western perspective? The lifting of restrictions ensures that Iran will be no further from achieving nuclear weapons status than it is today. Nothing has been rolled back. None of the initial Western demands, whether regarding enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the extent of inspections, or the timetable for lifting sanctions have been met. Iran will now have access to the latest technology, to international trade, and, most important, to billions of dollars. Estimates of Tehran’s financial windfall range as high as $150 billion. Even if the actual figures are no more than $50 billion, that sum is enough for Iran both to modernize its infrastructure and double, perhaps triple its financial support for terrorist activities, which currently is estimated to cost the Islamic Republic less than ten billions dollars. The prospects for a peaceful outcome in Syria, or Yemen have diminished markedly. Hezbollah’s fortunes have skyrocketed. And the threat to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has become far more ominous. Read the rest of this entry »


On Eve of Historic U.S.-Iran Nuclear Diplomatic Breakthrough Iran Demonstrates Good Faith, Honorable Intentions

iran-weaponsIran's President Hassan Rouhani laughs as he speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (jackasses-laughingIran's foreign minister Javad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference on February 8. Photo: ReutersWho's laughing now?

Read more…

The Weekly Standard


Diplomats: Iran Announcement Monday

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VIENNA (AP) —  George Jahn and Matthew Lee report: Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks plan to announce Monday that they’ve reached a historic deal capping nearly a decade of diplomacy that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, two diplomats told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The envoys said a provisional agreement may be reached even earlier — by late Sunday. But they cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out. Once it is complete, a formal, final agreement would be open to review by officials in the capitals of Iran and the six world powers at the talks, they said.

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Senior U.S. and Iranian officials suggested, however, there might not be enough time to reach a deal by the end of Sunday and that the drafting of documents could bleed into Monday.

All of the officials, who are at the talks in Vienna, demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.

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“We are working hard, but a deal tonight is simply logistically impossible,” the Iranian official said, noting that the agreement will run roughly 100 pages.

The senior U.S. official declined to speculate as to the timing of any agreement or announcement but said “major issues remain to be resolved.”

Despite the caution, the negotiators appeared to be on the cusp of an agreement.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Thursday had threatened to walk away from the negotiations, said Sunday that “a few tough things” remain in the way but added “we’re getting to some real decisions.”

En route to Mass at Vienna’s gothic St. Stephens Cathedral, Kerry said twice he was “hopeful” after a “very good meeting” Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had Muslim services Friday. Read the rest of this entry »


Washington Post: The U.S. Response to Iran’s Cheating is a Worrying Omen

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If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years. In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East.

“Rather than publicly report this departure from the accord, the Obama administration chose to quietly accept it. When a respected independent think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, began pointing out the problem, the administration’s response was to rush to Iran’s defense…”

Whether this flawed deal is sustainable will depend on a complex set of verification arrangements and provisions for restoring sanctions in the event of cheating. The schemes may or may not work; the history of the comparable nuclear accord with North Korea in the 1990s is not encouraging.

[Also see – Obama Laying Groundwork For Capitulation To Iran On Anytime/Anywhere Inspections]

The United States and its allies will have to be aggressive in countering the inevitable Iranian attempts to test the accord and willing to insist on consequences even if it means straining relations with friendly governments or imposing costs on Western companies.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

That’s why a recent controversy over Iran’s compliance with the interim accord now governing its nuclear work is troubling. The deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, but required that amounts over a specified ceiling be converted into an oxide powder that cannot easily be further enriched. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran met the requirement for the total size of its stockpile on June 30, but it did so by converting some of its enriched uranium into a different oxide form, apparently because of problems with a plant set up to carry out the powder conversion. Read the rest of this entry »


Graz, Austria: At Least 3 killed After Man Drives into Crowd Before ‘Stabbing Passers-By’

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Lizzie Dearden reports: A seven-year-old boy is reportedly among the three people killed in Austria by a man who ploughed his car into crowds in the country’s second-largest city and then reportedly started stabbing people.

“A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.”

A witness told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that dead bodies were left lying face down in the road after the vehicle sped through streets near the the historical Herrengasse in Graz.

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One of the victims at the scene of the rampage in Graz, Austria

“Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”

The killing only stopped when the driver parked his battered car outside a police station.

More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.

The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.

Police are not currently investigating terrorism as a motive and the suspect is believed to be suffering from mental illness.

Witnesses recounted how the man drove his vehicle into crowds apparently at random, sending pedestrians and cyclists crashing into the windscreen and rolling over the bonnet.

Blood could be seen on the pavement after people were run over in Graz earlier today

Blood could be seen on the pavement after people were run over in Graz earlier today

Dr Sea Rotmann, who was nearby, told Sky News: “I had a friend who was there and she saw people flying through the air. She saw bodies lying there, it was absolute chaos and mayhem.

“The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.”

“Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”

Police said the stabbing happened outside a grocery shop, where a man was seriously injured and a woman wounded less severely.

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Paramedics treat a person at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria

“More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.”

The incident started at around 12.15pm local time (11.15am BST), sending screaming shoppers running into shops for safety.

A statement from the city council said: “At 12pm there was an appalling incident in the centre of Graz, which has caused major alarm and left the city deeply shaken.

“A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.”

A spokesperson said the killing spree started in Zweiglgasse, where one person died, and the driver continued through the city and over the Schönaugasse bridge to Herrengasse, ploughing into a cafe seating area in the Hauptplatz (main square).

A witness speaking to the Wiener Zeitung compared the sound of chairs and tables being knocked over by the speeding car to a “gunfight”.

Paramedics at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria

Paramedics at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria

The mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, was riding his Vespa only metres away from the car as it screamed down Zweiglgasse and said he heard a “loud bang” behind him. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Austrian Bakery Owner Makes Cake Depicting 9/11 Terror Attacks

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — An Austrian bakery owner is coming under fire for making a cake depicting the 9/11 terror attacks.STAMP-panic-red-250

“Sometimes, you have to present an exaggerated view of the situation if you really want to make a point.”

— Thomas Kienbauer, owner of Alexander patisserie in Vienna

Thomas Kienbauer, owner of Alexander patisserie in Vienna, baked a cake showing planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers, Russia Today reports.

One of the World Trade Center's twin towers collapses after it was struck by a commerical airliner in a suspected terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

One of the World Trade Center’s twin towers collapses after it was struck by a commerical airliner in a suspected terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The cake, though, depicts the colors of the Social Democrats and the People’s Party, the two governing coalition eye-rollparties in Austria, on the towers. And the planes represent the Greens and the Freedom Party, their opposition.

“Kienbauer has received online criticism for his cake, but he says he’s not meaning to offend anyone.”

Russia Today reports the plane showing the one that crashed into the Pentagon depicts the Austrian liberals.

“Sometimes, you have to present an exaggerated view of the situation if you really want to make a point,” Kienbauer said, according to Russia Today. Read the rest of this entry »


Hercules Hall: Andrea Pozzo

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Andrea Pozzo
View of the Hercules Hall
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Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

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Transparency: The Top-Secret Letter Carefully Hidden Inside Pages of Wall Street Journal

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U.S. President Barack Obama secretly wrote Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to people briefed on the correspondence.

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

“There’s a sizable portion of the political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism. Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.”

— Mr. Obama said at a White House press conference on Wednesday, though he was not referring to his generation of American college students, and faculty, but in this case, about Iran’s leadership

Mr. Khamenei has publicly dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S. Associated Press

Mr. Khamenei has publicly dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S. Associated Press

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say.

The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July.  JIM BOURG

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important—whether in a potentially constructive or negative role—to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months. Read the rest of this entry »


Teen Arrested at O’Hare, Wanted to Join ISIS

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The suspect, who appeared in court today, planned to slip through the porous Turkish border to Syria or on to Iraq

An Illinois teenager was arrested Saturday at a major airport as authorities say he was attempting to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

UPDATE: From CNN: The search at Khan’s Bolingbrook, Illinois, home, where he lives with his parents, turned up documents allegedly written by Khan that stated his intentions.

“We are all witness that the Western societies are getting more immoral day by day. I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this.”

— Khan in the letter, according to the complaint.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen from Bolingbrook, appeared in court today to face charges for allegedly attempting to provide material support for a terrorist organization. If convicted, Khan could face up to 15 years in prison. Read the rest of this entry »


Rare Photos of 1900s Beijing Discovered

From Austrian Archive: Shaman Dancers, Tea Houses, Arms Traders, Urban Dwellers, Coolies and Suffragettes

When a relative of a long dead Austro-Hungarian navy soldier approached Gerd Kaminski, a China scholar in Vienna, in 2007, she pointed him towards a treasure trove of thousands of photos of Beijing, many of which were a century old.

Women demand the right to vote in this protest at the city's gates. Undated photo by Von Rostock

Women demand the right to vote in this protest at the city’s gates. Undated photo by Von Rostock

Kaminski, director of the Austrian Institute for China and Southeast Asia Studies in Vienna, worked his way through the photos and published a selection along with other photos he was given by descendants of Austrian diplomats and traders in imperial China.

A Tibetan Buddhist ritual dance, likely photographed at the Yellow Temple near the since demolished Anding Gate in northern Beijing, photographed by Von Perckhammer

A Tibetan Buddhist ritual dance, likely photographed at the Yellow Temple near the since demolished Anding Gate in northern Beijing, photographed by Von Perckhammer

“These photos give precious insights into daily urban life in Beijing a century ago,” he said. “Many of the buildings don’t exist anymore and traditions seen in the photos have been lost in time.”

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A woman’s feet disfigured by foot-binding, an ancient practice in which women’s feet were tied together to reduce their size. Undated photo by Von Perckhammer

[click here to view them as a slideshow]

Austrian arms trader Bruno Mueller seen with Chinese business partners in a photo taken in 1924 by his wife Lucy.

Austrian arms trader Bruno Mueller seen with Chinese business partners in a photo taken in 1924 by his wife Lucy. Mueller secretly sold Austrian arms to Chinese warlord Zhang Zuolin in the early 1920s at a time when Austria was banned from exporting arms under its peace treaty obligations.

Read the rest of this entry »


Looting in Paris as Europeans Protest Against Glass Windows, Laws, Property, and Jews

 

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Sarcelles (France) (AFP) – A French rally against the deadly Israeli offensive in Gaza once again descended into chaos Sunday as protesters looted shops and riot police lobbed tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.

“We’re going to get the cash register.”

The demonstration in the northern Paris suburb of Sarcelles is the third to have deteriorated in the space of eight days in a country that counts the largest Muslim population in western Europe and a huge Jewish community.

Looters then began raiding shops, wrecking a funeral home and destroying its front window as several protesters shouted: “F@ck Israel!”

A decision by authorities to ban protests in areas deemed too sensitive has also garnered controversy as they took place anyway and turned violent, while authorised ones elsewhere in the country — as well as in other cities across Europe — were peaceful.

From Vienna to Stockholm and on to Amsterdam, thousands rallied on Sunday to oppose Israel’s offensive, which has left more than 400 Palestinians and 20 Israelis dead. Read the rest of this entry »


Late Night World Music: The 5 Peace Band – John McLaughlin, U Srinivas, Zakir Hussain

From Austria: The 5 Peace band- John McLaughlin (guitar), U Srinivas (Mandolin), Zakir Hussain (Tabla), V Selvaganesh (Ghatam),S Mahadevan (Vocals) perform live in Vienna. This is the Remember Shakti lineup with S Mahadevan, 2004. The songs they play are: Caruna, Ma No Pa, Sakhi, and Giriras Sudha.

Kam Falk’s Blog


Atomic Watchdog Reports: North Korea ‘Restarts’ Nuclear Reactor

Yongbyon nuclear facility
Activity has been observed at a North Korean nuclear site consistent with an effort to restart a reactor, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Yukiya Amano, has said.

North Korea announced in April it would revive its aged research reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex – which experts say is capable of producing plutonium for bombs – but said it was seeking a deterrent capacity.

Amano said the Vienna-based IAEA continued to monitor developments at Yongbyon, mainly through satellite imagery.

“Activities have been observed at the site that are consistent with an effort to restart the 5MW(e) reactor,” Amano told the IAEA’s 35-nation board.

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Lust: A Hidden Influence on Foreign Policy

Prince_Metternich_by_Lawrence“Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman,” states Charles Bukowski’s alter ego Henry Chinaski at the beginning of his novel, Women. This statement is of course naturally applicable in the reverse: Many a good woman has been put under the bridge by a man. Yet, in the historically male-dominated realms of foreign policy, it is mostly male heartache that impacted statesmen and may have exerted undue influence on international relations. Looking back in history there are countless examples of grand statesmen letting emotions get the better of them. Read the rest of this entry »