World watch

Friday GMT

What’s worthy of saying about the world, say it here.

There’s a lot of things happening of interest around the world, from the Brexit split between the United Kingdom and the European Union to Donald Trump’s young presidency in the United States, from the civil war in Syria and the associated surrounding Middle East mess, to growing tensions around North Korea and China.

Post here what you think may be of interest to others or could be worth discussing. Some topics may be transferred to separate posts.

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53 Comments

  1. Just a reference to your accurate dismissal of holocaust deniers. Their claims conveniently and disgustingly ignore the reports they purport to use as proof. Page 152 of “Documents Sur L’activité Du Comité International De La Croix Rouge En Faveur Des Civils Détenus Dans Les Camps De Concentration En Allemagne ( 1939 – 1945)” states,

    “Mardi I er mai 1945, nous reçûmes la visite de deux membres de notre légation qui vinrent faire une courte visite et nous visitâmes alors la prison, le crématoire où nous vîmes dans une grande chambre des centaines de cadavres empilés les uns sur les autres et tous nus. Nous visitâmes également la chambre du bourreau, la chambre à
    gaz, les fours crématoires, etc.”

    Translated to English:

    “On Tuesday, May 1, 1945, we were visited by two members of the
    Our legation who came to make a short visit and we visited
    Then the prison, the crematorium where we saw in a large room
    Hundreds of corpses stacked on top of each other and all naked.
    We also visited the executioner’s room, the
    Gas, crematoria, etc.”

    https://ia800306.us.archive.org/23/items/DocumentsSurLactivitDuComittInternationalDeLaCroixRougeEnFaveurDesCivilsDTenusDa/Documents%20sur%20l'activité%20du%20Comité%20international%20de%20la%20Croix-Rouge%20en%20faveur%20des%20civils%20détenus%20dans%20les%20camps%20de%20concentration%20en%20Allemagne%20(1939%20-%201945).pdf

  2. Gezza

     /  April 22, 2017

    It appears the French police are no longer looking for a second suspect.

    Paris shooting: gunman served 15 years for attempted police murders
    The attacker, a 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi, was known to French security services. Media reported he had served nearly 15 years in prison after being convicted of three attempted murders, two against police officers, and was released on parole in 2015.

    The attacker was shot dead by police in the van while trying to flee the scene on foot. A statement from the Isis propaganda agency, Amaq, said the attack was carried out by an “Islamic State fighter”.

    Isis named the attacker as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, or “the Belgian”, but it was not clear if the statement referred to Cheurfi. The Belgian interior minister, Jan Jambon, said he was “certainly not the guy who committed the crime yesterday … The guy who yesterday did the act was not a Belgian. He was French.”

    A Belgian national sought earlier by Belgian police and thought to have travelled to France on Thursday turned himself in to police in Antwerp, a French interior ministry spokesman, Henri Brandet, said earlier on Friday.


    A source close to the French investigation said the 35-year-old Belgian man, described as “very dangerous”, had been sought by his country’s police as part of a separate investigation. Hours before the Parisassault, Belgian police reportedly found weapons, balaclavas and a ticket for a train trip to France departing on Thursday morning.


    Belgian prosecutors said the man handed himself in “after he saw himself appear on social media as terror suspect No 1”, but that he had nothing to do with the attack. The Belgian justice minister, Koen Geens, said on Friday the government had “no information at this moment about Belgian links”.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/21/paris-shooting-police-search-property-as-isis-claims-responsibility

    • And:

      The gunman killed after shooting dead a policeman on the Champs Elysees has been named by the Paris prosecutor as Karim Cheurfi, a convicted criminal.

      He used a Kalashnikov assault rifle to kill the police officer with two bullets to the head, François Molins told journalists in the French capital.

      A note defending so-called Islamic State was found near his body.

      The killer spoke about wanting to kill police officers earlier this year but he had no apparent link to Islamist radicalism, Mr Molins said.

      IS has said one of its “fighters” carried out the attack.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39671542

      So the ISIS connection sounds a bit doubtful, he seems more like an anti-police nut with a long history of violence.

      • Gezza

         /  April 22, 2017

        He still carried a note defending ISIL, Pete. Let’s wait & see what else we learn about him, including whether he was a Presbyterian or followed some other religion.

        • ISIS are anti French authorities, he is anti French authorities so connecting himself to ISIS is nor a surprise, but it doesn’t sound like ISIS is the only reason for his history of violence.

          It sounds more a bandwagon of convenience than a devoted follower thing.

          • Gezza

             /  April 22, 2017

            Aljaz tv just reported Police found a Quran & pump action gun in a bag in the back of his car. Sounds like a nutter, but still, telling that he appears to be a follower of Muhammad as well.

        • And there seems to be some major problems between the police and the public.

          About 15 people a year die at the hands of the French police (that those numbers are minuscule by American standards perhaps says more about us). Police brutality is a common complaint, and observers say it is getting worse. “It’s totally structural, systemic,” said the sociologist and activist Mathieu Rigouste, who has written a book on police violence. “What’s changed [with the Traoré case] is that there is a great, coordinated resistance in the neighborhoods and cities around France.”

          http://redux.slate.com/cover-stories/2017/01/the-death-of-adama-traore-has-become-frances-ferguson.html

          While there may be acts that are purely ‘Muslim ISIS member” terrorism, but I think there are often a lot of complexities.

          • Gezza

             /  April 22, 2017

            Aljaz tv commentator is just saying that neighbours have described him as “psychologically disturbed”. But that police say there were no signs of him being radicalised in prison.

            15 people a year may die at the hands of French police but I think I heard Aljaz tv presenter say earlier that 230 have died at the hands of Islamic terrorists from 2015.

            • Muslim related violence is obviously a major problem in France. But it’s a lot more complicated than ‘everyone’s an ISIS’.

            • Gezza

               /  April 22, 2017

              Oh I agree. ISIS routinely lays claim to any murderous rampage by someone who mentions them. But the point is that these killers are Muslims & anviously agree their murders are sanctioned, even considered meritorious, by Islam.

            • Not by ‘Islam’, and I think certainly not by anywhere near all Muslims.

              Killings in Syria and Afghanistan recently that some have seen as a form of terrorism have been considered meritorious by people who associate with different religions.

            • Portraying things as ‘all Muslims bad, must be exterminated’ – which some people do, makes the problems worse rather than better.

              Do you think that Christians who want all Muslims deported or exterminated as the only way to fix things any better than what some Muslims seem to want?

            • Gezza

               /  April 22, 2017

              Those that want them exterminated, no. Deporting Muslims back to the Middle East, or North Africa, where Islam belongs, I’m not entirely against. The logistics of that would be easier where the communities are relatively small. Once the survivors sort out who’s top dog back in Muslim lands, & outgrow their religion, they might be ok.

        • Whatever the explanation, the current xenophobic tenor of public discourse runs the entire political spectrum, from the right (Fillon) to the Socialist ex–prime minister Manuel Valls, who has said that Islamists should be stripped of French citizenship. It is epitomized by the steady rise of National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who blurs the lines between immigration, Islamism, and terrorism. The terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice have left France under a lasting state of emergency, and the center of political gravity has shifted sharply to the right.

          I think it’s complicated.

          Of the 600-700 murders per year in France do you have any idea of a religious breakdown of the perps?

          • Gezza

             /  April 22, 2017

            Well no, I don’t. But since the Charlie Hebdo murders I reckon you could reasonably safely bet that where the killers are known to be muslims that would likely be reported. Are you effectively saying, if people are getting murdered for various reason in France every year anyway, why worry about an additional few dozen, or hundreds, of additional murders by the occasional Islamic extremist?

            • No I’m not saying that. The extra Muslim related killings and especially terrorist acts are a real concern. But I think motives are complicated.

              I believe that most Muslims in France are not from the Middle East, they are from North Africa, generally having come from French colonies or ex-colonies.

            • Gezza

               /  April 22, 2017

              North Africa & parts of Central Africa are Muslim or have significant Muslim minorities. But what difference does that make?

            • It’s not just a Middle East problem, or a Syrian refugee problem, or even a refugee problem. This latest murderer was a French citizen, born in France, already spent 12 years in French jails. It’s a lot wider and more complex than blaming one ancient religious text (based on the same as other widely read texts)..

            • Gezza

               /  April 22, 2017

              Well if you took the time to read the texts you would rapidly understand that the Quran has virtually nothing in common with the Hebrew & Christian Bibles, except for mentioning God & a few prophets.

        • #It’s coined elsewhere as “expressing “devotion” to ISIS. NO doubt the murderer justify his slaughter by claiming affiliation. It seems he was a throughly bad egg and criminal person, much like most of them ISIS loves these guys as they make up a large part of their ranks. Thick, deluded and alienated from the wider society.

          • Integration into a host society is paramount. Clearly people like this murdering beast do not allegiance, let alone feel part of France.On the face of it, come one, come all to to the colonies sounded good. Free education, free health will civilise them and it all sounded rather jolly to the Republicans of France. We’re big enough and bold enough to share our land and it’s honey and milk. However, when migrant parents are often locked away behind doors, have little to no interaction with their host society and their children come home to that isolation, they react. ISIS, and extremist groups are like a motorcycle gang, they value their novices, make them feel important andover them an ideological home. Western society at large seems powerless to arrest this.

            This is a very good reason, in my estimation to, at least, slow down family reunification and third world migration and use values and character based assessment. Liberals flinch at this, but I’ve never heard them offer any solutions. Being loving and caring and one is NOT enough when they are values that go unappreciated.

            The problems in France, Belgium and Britain, showing their ugly face now – after a generation and a half of slowish migration are nothing like what we’ll see in the next generation. The millions who have come in to Germany, Sweden etcetera, may be coined by the left as “compassionate action”, but I am picking the alienation and fallout will be devastating to both migrants and host societies. With upwards of 60% of these people largely illiterate and steeped in primitive, unreformed religiosity it’s a time bomb.

  3. Gezza

     /  April 22, 2017

    Egyptian Army accused of extrajudicial killings in leaked video

    The Egyptian army has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in Sinai province, with a leaked video purportedly showing soldiers executing detainees and then staging the event to make it appear as if they died in a gun battle.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/army-accused-extrajudicial-killings-leaked-video-170421105355148.html

    • Gezza

       /  April 23, 2017

      Aljaz tv. Human Rights Watch have identified and named one of the men seen in the linked video executing unarmed prisoners in Sinai. He is a member of a local militia well known for working with the Egyptian Army. Wonder if he’ll be arrested?
      8.05 am

      • Missy

         /  April 23, 2017

        I would guess not if he has connections with the Army, but then it is hard to say with the Egyptians, they may surprise us.

        • Gezza

           /  April 23, 2017

          What was also interesting about that article was that they linked it directly to the full uncensored video of the executions on YouTube. I’ve never seen them do that before & wondered how long the video would be viewable. I see this morning the link takes you to a notification that the video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on bullying and harrassment.

  4. Are universities complicit in muzzling free speech?

    Conservative speakers are under fire on college campuses, and critics say school officials who should be fostering a climate of intellectual diversity are instead siding with violent groups out to shut down free speech.

    The ongoing controversy at University of California, Berkeley involving a planned speech by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter is the latest example of a school caught between provocative speech and the threat of reactionary violence. And although the school, which was the scene of violent protests earlier this year during an aborted appearance by conservative Milo Yiannopoulos, claims it reversed a decision to cancel Coulter’s April 27 remarks, Coulter insists she is still be censored. The alternative date the school offered falls after classes let out.

    “You cannot impose arbitrary and harassing restrictions on the exercise of a Constitutional right,” Coulter told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday night.

    ANN COULTER REJECTS BERKELEY’S PROPOSAL TO RESCHEDULE HER SPEECH

    School officials appear to be hoping to avoid a replay of the Yiannopoulos incident, in which masked vandals did more than $100,000 worth of damage, setting fires and breaking windows in protest of the anticipated speech. That was followed by a violent attack on conservative author Charles Murray during a speech at Vermont’s Middlebury College and part of what critics say is a growing acceptance of violence directed at conservatives on college campuses.

    Many are blaming the violent protests targeting conservative speakers on the left-wing agitator group Antifa. Critics say Antifa, a group that calls itself “anti-fascist,” has sparked violence on college campuses across the country to further its radical agenda.

    “By not taking the proper steps to stop the violence, some say, universities are basically letting those suppressing free speech win the war against the First Amendment.

    Manhattan Institute fellow Heather MacDonald, who writes about policing in America, said when she was on her way to roundtable at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, she had to be escorted past throngs of protesters.

    “There was a blockade of 300 to 400 students who prevented other students from entering. I gave my talk to an almost empty room. During the talk the protesters banged on the plate glass windows,” said MacDonald. She said there was a Facebook posting ahead of her event that called for protesters to “shut down the white supremacist fascist Heather MacDonald.”

    Ultimately, she said, they got their wish.

    “It was the threat of brute force,” she said, “The police decided they couldn’t guarantee our safety and I was told it’s over and hustled out of the building under police protection.”

  5. The top two in the first poll run off in a second election in May.

  6. The left are at it again, the means justify the end when it’s us!

    Greenpeace think that electoral sending laws should only apply to organisations unsympathetic to them… oh – the irony.

    “Greenpeace has become the first organisation to be fined under the government’s (UK) Lobbying Act which critics warned would silence legitimate campaign groups.

    Ministers said the legislation, dubbed the “gagging law” by charities, would hold corporate lobbyists to account when it was introduced in 2014.

    But the act has faced intense criticism from civil society groups which have repeatedly warned that the restrictions it imposes on spending during an election would hamper the activities of legitimate groups.

    Greenpeace says those fears have been borne out after the charity revealed it had been fined £30,000 for refusing to register as a “third-party campaigning organisation” in the run-up to the 2015 election.

    John Sauven, Greenpeace UK executive director, said the decision not to register was an “act of civil disobedience” and warned that the fine would have a further “chilling effect” on the charities and civil society groups in the run-up to June’s election.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/18/greenpeace-first-organisation-fined-lobbying-act

  7. Blazer

     /  April 22, 2017

    and for the right…its business as usual….good link Trav,you are on form this morning..

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/02/corporate-dark-money-power-atlantic-lobbyists-brexit

    • To counter things a bit, but along the lines of something I wrote re the intent/motivations of Euro-Arabic migrants, vis-à-vis what some are discussing on the Terror attacks, esp in France.

      “Are the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad responsible for modern jihadism, or does the terrorists’ ignorance of their religion show that Islam is cover for inner disquiets that make more sense to the psychologist than the imam? Last July’s lorry massacre on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice was committed by an unstable libertine who had only recently discovered jihadism. What, if anything, did his actions have in common with the riots that followed the death in police custody of Adama Traoré, a young man from a Malian Muslim family, in a depressed Parisian suburb, also last summer? Do they testify to the inexorable advance of radical Islamist ideology, or the seductive power of any false cause for modernity’s losers?”

      The “Islamisation of radicalism” theory developed in Jihad and Death argues that European jihadism is a malaise formed of fantasy and rebellion. “Fundamentalism alone does not produce violence,”

      From scrutinising the records of some 140 terrorists active in the west, Roy draws a picture of a way of life that shares much with the society it purports to reject. Antiracism is a common value of Isis and its liberal opponents, and globalisation an accepted reality. “The aim,” he writes, is “a new sort of Muslim, one who is completely detached from ethnic, national, tribal, and family bonds: a global Muslim.” (Roy clearly enjoys the irony of a group of Portuguese converts, mostly of Angolan origin, leaving to fight in Syria after being radicalised in a Thai martial arts club in London. It is tantalising to wonder what might have happened had they been offered jobs at Google or Morgan Stanley.) Whether they know it or not, these jihadi “nomads” oppose the theory of asabiyya, or clan solidarity, that the Tunisian sage Ibn Khaldun put forward in the 14th century; if the nation is the modern clan, Isis and its fellow travellers are its nemesis.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/21/jihad-and-death-the-global-appeal-of-islamic-state-by-olivier-roy-review

  8. Blazer

     /  April 22, 2017

    if you look at all major religions objectively,they all seem to have offshoots that have different emphasis and different interpretations on what their particular…’idol’ decrees.Passive,aggressive,extremists,they are not exclusive to any religion,they reflect….human nature.

    • Perhaps blazer – but your reflection adds nothing to the very real, right now threat from Arabs, who in failing to integrate with a host Western country, use pan-Islamist ideology as an excuse to murder.

      • Blazer

         /  April 22, 2017

        if you drill down the actual number of deaths and incidents you may be surprised at how overblown things can get.Pan Islamist ideology and U.S interference in Islamic countries are connected,surely you see …that.

        • No. I see ill-educated, jobless criminals brought up in blind ignorance by often illiterate and isolated parents, who had come to the West from another country. Even if the perps were ideological activists, (I’m from Algeria, but I care about ALL Arabs because they’re historically marginalised) usually the well-adjusted and those of normal intelligence see that blowing up and gunning down innocents does nothing for their cause, imaginary or otherwise. Nothing justifies their slaughter.

      • Blazer

         /  April 22, 2017

        furthermore,the hotbed of Islamic extremism is Saudi Arabia,who promote sharia law,and aggression ,yet are besties with the U.S and the U.K.And do not make the common mistake that Islamic ideology is the sole domain of…Arabs.

        • Upticking yourself doesn’t count

            • I’m not talking about the hotbed, even though the people you speak of funnel billions into mosques the world over, while not extending a single bed to a refugee! We’re talking Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian (former colonies and mostly Sunni) in France,Belgium and Netherlands and were largely talking Turks in Germany, until the latest influx from Syria and Afghanistan

  9. Stuff piece. Fully paid up members of the Trump Hysteria Syndrome have, at large, well over-played their “convert the great, ignorant unwashed to our side” hand. This sort of mindless, tabloid drivel on Stuff, by a LEE SUCKLING, is an example of my contention.

    This article could be included as an example of fake news. It is all surmising – subjective opinion at best, offered as pretty well gospel. It offers the reader nothing as either a political, familial or personal relationship piece.

    A:) “Melania always seems a bit nervous in public, which is totally expected – the whole world is watching, after all, and she didn’t ask for this job. However, her husband’s touch doesn’t seem to put her at ease. Instead, it appears to frighten her. She flinches, or even shudders, when he puts his hands on her arms, as seen in February at a rally in Florida”

    She “always” flinches and shudders does she? One example then given of a nervous, quite likely shy person, allegedly flinching at being touched while on public view.

    B):”Melania and Donald reportedly don’t sleep in the same bed, and it is widely claimed (though completely unsubstantiated) that it’s her decision – an apparent bid to avoid spending time with her husband.Of course this is only speculation, but Donald Trump doesn’t really seem like the kind of introverted man that wants his alone time. He loves people around him; he lives for the audience.”

    No point bothering breaking down the “reportedly”, “apparent” , “doesn’t seem” “completely unsubstantiated” in that ridiculous paragraph of tabloid bollocks. It’s such conjecture one wonders why Stuff even claims to use editors

    C):”It was well-publicised before the presidential inauguration that Melania would live at Trump Tower in New York, at least until summer 2017.

    The apparent reason for this is so their son Barron can finish the school year. However, given that Melania’s habitation of Trump Tower costs US taxpayers between US$127,000 and $146,000 per day alone – just for security – means the child is getting a very, very expensive education on the state dollar. So, if indeed it is Melania’s decision alone, it could definitely be a sign of unhappiness that could negatively affect a marriage.”

    This is even worse. They call the “reason” given for Melania’s absence as “apparent”, when it’s a laudably practical and thoroughly child-centred action . What responsible parent, if personal circumstances allowed it, wouldn’t keep their child in a school for the year for continuity? I would have; they see each other every weekend, and FLOTUS manages to fit in her wifely duties.

    The rest of the writer’s “marriage on rocks” reasons are just too pathetic to mention here. I’m thinking that readers are heartily sick of a liberal, Trumpphobic media who constantly overegg the hate custard. Any valid points of Trump’s (and the family’s) unsuitability for the White House are drowned in a sea of bollocks.

    Why, oh why are these writers and thinkers not offering up ideas on changing a flawed electoral and system of governance in the USA. Why are they not offering up new models of selection criteria within their preferred vessel of Govt delivery – the Democrats. Rather than channel their anger into these puff-pieces, why not start some objective analysis. If they don’t they’re doomed to opposition next time round.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/love-sex/91748698/five-things-that-dont-seem-right-about-trump-and-melania

  10. There are approximately 186 million Muslims located closer in part to Auckland than to Perth. The defeat of the second Christian Governor ever in the recent Jakarta elections showed a definite radicalisation of Islam in Indonesia from what was a moderate stream. (Aliran). There are calls for implementation of stringent sharia laws including prohibition of alcohol sales and criminalisation of apostasy. The influence of the moderate abangan aliran (mostly Javanese) may continue to moderate the rule of law, however the priyaya (upper class) are becoming affected by Wahabbi concepts and there is a growth in this stream of salafi beliefs in Indonesia paid for by grants from Saudi Arabia to build and staff mosques and arrange for mushollah to be located in small kampong areas. The call to prayer is a feature of life in Indonesia so no naps at the wrong time!

    • Blazer

       /  April 22, 2017

      whats Perth got to do with anything?

      • Nelly Smickers

         /  April 22, 2017

        You’ll *love* this then BJ 😄 😄

        No wonder Muslims *hate dogs*…..they’re better singers ❗