Tuesday, June 30, 2015

French Beheading Suspect Acted on Islamic State Orders, Says Prosecutor

THE TELEGRAPH: Yassin Salhi is believed to have killed his boss but says his motive was personal not terrorist-related

The French man who beheaded his boss and tried to blow up a chemical plant had a "terrorist motive" and links to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in Syria, despite his claim that he carried out his grisly act for purely personal reasons, a prosecutor said.

"This corresponds very precisely to the orders of Daesh [Isil] which calls regularly for acts of terrorism on French soil and in particular to cut the throats of unbelievers,” said Paris chief prosecutor Francois Molins.

"The decapitation recalls the habitual modus operandi of this terrorist organisation," he told reporters. » | Rory Mulholland, Paris | Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Dark Age Alert! Islamic State Beheads First Women Civilians

THE TELEGRAPH: Two women and their husbands beheaded for "sorcery" in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzour

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadists have beheaded two women in Syria for sorcery, an extension of the punishment which is normally reserved for men.

The women and their husbands were all accused of witchcraft, one couple in the town of Mayadeen, in eastern Deir Ezzour province, and one in Deir Ezzour city, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, which monitors the conflict.

Five people in all in Mayadeen were beheaded, the others on charges of “banditry” and “drugs”, with two of the men then crucified.

The case marks the first time a woman civilian is recorded as having been beheaded, though the punishment has been inflicted on women soldiers from the Kurdish militia, the YPJ, the female version of the YPG.

Women have been stoned to death for adultery. » | Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor | Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Europe's Big Guns Warn Greek Voters That A No Vote Means Euro Exit

THE GUARDIAN: Germany, France and Italy joined the European commission in insisting that Sunday’s poll was about continued eurozone membership

The eurozone’s three biggest countries have raised the stakes in next Sunday’s Greek referendum with an orchestrated warning to voters that a no vote would mean exit from the single currency and the return of the drachma.

As the Greek economy suffered on its first day of stringent capital controls, politicians from Germany, France and Italy joined the European commission in insisting that the poll was not about whether Athens could secure more favourable bailout terms but was about continued euro membership.

The stark assessment was shared by George Osborne, who told MPs that the UK economy would be affected by the chaos that would result from Greece leaving the eurozone. » | Larry Elliott, Graeme Wearden and Nicholas Watt | Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

British Tourists in Greece Told to Carry Cash

THE TELEGRAPH: Holidaymakers must have enough cash to cover all their costs and any potential emergencies, George Osborne warns

British tourists going on holiday to Greece have been told by the Government to travel with thousands of pounds worth of euros in cash, despite the risk of them not being insured if they get robbed.

With 150,000 UK holiday makers travelling to Greece every week, George Osborne said that holidaymakers must have enough cash to cover all their costs and any potential emergencies.

However, insurers warned that most families will only be covered for a maximum of £200 if they are robbed while on holiday.

It came as the Government attempted to contact thousands of expat pensioners living in Greece to encourage them to move their savings into British banks as the country teeters on the brink of economic collapse. » | Peter Dominiczak, and Matthew Holehouse | Monday, June 29, 2015

Life Under Islamic State Is 'Totalitarian Normality'

HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur speaks to writer and publisher Jurgen [sic] Todenhofer [sic] who embarked on one of the most hazardous journeys imaginable for a western journalist. Last December, the 74-year-old spent 10 days inside the territory controlled by Islamic State.

He was taken to the group's base in Raqqa, Syria, and then to their most highly prized asset in Iraq - the northern city of Mosul.

Mr Todenhofer is no stranger to the risks that come with bearing witness to conflict. From Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria he has consistently visited and written about conflicts which have drawn in the US and its allies. He has become a vocal critic of American foreign policy and military interventions.

His own experience has included years in the legal profession and as a centre right member of the German Parliament. But now he's best known as a peace advocate prepared to talk to anyone with a stake in contemporary conflicts.

He talks to Stephen about what motivates young Muslims from the West to join Islamic State and what life is like for those who live under IS control.

WIKI: Jürgen Todenhöfer »

Islamic State Marks Gay Marriage Ruling by Throwing 4 Gay Men Off a Roof

JIHAD WATCH: Yet gay activists in the West tend to side with Leftists who consider resistance to jihad terror to be “Islamophobia.” Suicidal short-sightedness.

Apparently the Islamic State was not moved to repentance by photos of gay marriage supporters — which will come as a surprise to the editors of Foreign Policy.

“Horrific moment ISIS kill four gay men by throwing them from a roof,” by Jamie Lewis, Mirror, June 27, 2015: » Robert Spencer | Sunday, June 28, 2015

Israeli Official: Obama’s Got Muslim Daddy Issues

Estranged: This picture shows the only time
Barack Obama met his father, Barack Obama Sr.
WND: Ex-U.S. ambassador suggests childhood 'abandonment' fuels outreach to Islam

During a radio interview Sunday, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren reinforced his position that President Obama’s relentless outreach to the Muslim world may be motivated by Obama’s being abandoned by two Muslim father figures.

Last week, Oren had speculated Obama’s purported abandonment issues may have caused him to seek acceptance from the Muslim world.

Sunday, Oren maintained “it’s a legitimate question” to ask whether the “abandonment” of Obama’s Kenyan Muslim father and Indonesian Muslim stepfather have been partially driving Obama’s policy toward Islam , the Middle East, the war on terrorism and Iran.

Oren was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990 AM.

Oren, a historian and author, served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from May 3, 2009 to 2013. He is now a member of Knesset and has been promoting his latest book, published last week, entitled, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide.”

As part of the book promotion, Oren penned an opinion piece last week in Foreign Policy Magazine in which he labeled Obama’s Muslim outreach as “naïve” and “detached from a complex and increasingly lethal reality.”

Oren posited Obama’s policies of rapprochement toward the Islamic world “clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims” as well as the president’s academic influences. » | Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pope Francis Wants to Chew Coca Leaves in Bolivia, Says Minister

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: La Paz: Pope Francis has told the Bolivian government that he would like to chew coca leaves, the key ingredient in cocaine, when he visits the Andean country next month, a Bolivian minister said on State television and radio on Sunday.

Situated at about 3,650 metres above sea level, La Paz is one of the world's highest capital cities and for centuries local people have chewed coca leaves to ward off the effects of altitude.

Although it is the key ingredient in cocaine, the unprocessed leaf is legal to use and still widely chewed in Bolivia and other Andean countries. Many indigenous people, including Bolivian President Evo Morales, defend its use and consider it a sacred plant. » | Reuters | Monday June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gulf States Share Shock of Terror Attack on Mosque in Kuwait

THE GUARDIAN: Neighbouring states fear further violence during Ramadan as the holy month is marked with deadly bombings

The aftermath of the attack on a Shia mosque in Kuwait has resonated well beyond its borders into neighbouring Gulf countries, which have long shared both its worldview and its fears that Islamic State is stalking them.

On Saturday, Kuwaiti officials announced arrests linked to the Friday blast at the Imam al-Sadiq mosque, which killed 27 and maimed 200 more, as security at places of worship from Sharjah to Doha was tightened and rhetoric against the group intensified across the region.

Officials in Kuwait had long said an attack of the type carried out during Friday prayers would be very difficult to stop. The fact that it took place in the holy month of Ramadan, when worshippers were likely to be less on their guard than usual, made it even more so.

Isis had made no secret of its intentions to launch attacks during Ramadan, with its spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, releasing a speech earlier last week calling for strikes in the remaining three weeks of the fasting month, which would lead to greater blessings in the afterlife. » | Martin Chulov | Saturday, June 27, 2015

Greece 48 hours from Fatal Eurozone Rupture as Creditor Powers Poised to Pull the Plug

THE TELEGRAPH: Stunned lenders vow not to extend Greece's bail-out and say they are prepared to suffer the consequences of "bombshell" referendum decision

Greece stands on the brink of a banking collapse and disorderly exit from the euro after its creditor powers lashed out at Athens' plans to hold a referendum by vowing to pull the plug on the country in just three days.

Eurozone finance ministers last night withdrew tentative plans to release €15bn to the debtor country, after Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, said he would put the “humiliating” package of austerity demands to a public vote on July 5. Unless the cash-strapped country can scramble together €1.55bn Tuesday, it will become the first developed country in history to default on its International Monetary Fund loan on June 30. On the same day, it's €240bn rescue programme will also formally expire throwing its banking system into turmoil.

Creditors powers, stunned by Mr Tsipras's audacity to call a public vote, rejected his pleas to extend the programme for a few weeks to allow the vote to be held next Saturday.

The voice of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup, cracked with emotion as he announced that his 18 colleagues had rejected Greece’s demand.

“We must conclude that however regretful, the programme will expire on Tuesday night,” he said. “It will expire.”

A wounded Mr Dijsselbloem added that even in the event of a yes vote by the Greek people, creditors could no longer cooperate with radical Leftist government due to "grave concerns about credibility". Read on and comment » | Matthew Holehouse in Brussels and Mehreen Khan | Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tunisia Attack: Foreign Office Says 15 Britons Killed and Death Toll May Rise

THE GUARDIAN: Prime minister earlier denounced ‘savage’ killings by Islamic State terrorist of at least 39 tourists

Fifteen Britons have died in the Tunisian beach massacre but the toll could rise further, the Foreign Office has said, in what it called “the most significant terrorist attack on the British people” since 7 July 2005.

The number of British holidaymakers confirmed to have been killed by the lone gunman on Friday rose steadily on Saturday.

The prime minister, David Cameron, warned earlier that the UK public needed to be prepared for the total to rise.

A total of 39 people were killed, including one Irish woman, with one Belgian and a German also among the victims.

Planes evacuating holidaymakers began arriving back in the UK on Saturday morning. Speaking in Downing Street, Cameron said a full deployment team of consular staff, police and experts from the Red Cross would arrive in Tunisia on Saturday to help the victims and their families and added that the government was doing all they could to help them. » | Jessica Elgot, Chris Johnston and agencies | Saturday, June 27, 2015

German tourist recounts horror of beach attack

Le scénario barbare de l'attentat de l'Isère

LE FIGARO: Yassin Salhi a décapité son employeur avant de tenter de faire sauter une usine de gaz industriels.

La nouvelle attaque terroriste qui a frappé la France, six mois après les attentats de janvier, vient de franchir une étape supplémentaire dans l'horreur. Elle témoigne d'une mise en scène effroyable et moyenâgeuse, inédite sur le territoire national et qui porte le sceau de la barbarie islamiste. Ce que redoutaient tant les services de renseignements, à savoir une décapitation perpétrée sur notre sol, est survenu vendredi dans l'Isère. » | Par Christophe Cornevin | vendredi 26 juin 2015

Schwarzer Freitag

SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG: Kuwait, Frankreich, Tunesien - die Welt erlebt drei Terroranschläge an einem Tag. Die Botschaft der Täter: Wir sind überall.

Ein Massaker in einer Touristenzone am Strand von Tunesien, ein Attentat auf eine schiitische Moschee in Kuwait und ein Anschlag auf eine Gasfabrik in der französischen Provinz - die Botschaft dieses schwarzen Freitags zu Beginn des Ramadan erscheint klar: Der Terror kann überall zuschlagen. Er kann jeden treffen, auch die schärfsten Sicherheitsmaßnahmen reichen nicht aus, die Bürger zu schützen.

Noch ist unklar, ob die Taten orchestriert sind und ein Fanal zum Auftakt des muslimischen Fastenmonats setzen sollten. Wahrscheinlich ist, dass sich verschiedene Gruppen und Einzeltäter von den Hassbotschaften animiert fühlten, die im Internet kursieren. Das Ziel der Extremisten, die sich meist auf die Terrororganisationen Islamischer Staat oder al-Qaida berufen, geht weit über einzelne Staaten hinaus. Ganze Großregionen, darunter Europa, sollen in eine Eskalation der Gewalt getrieben werden. » | Von Stefan Ulrich | Freitag, 26. Juni 2015

President Obama Sings Amazing Grace

President Obama sings Amazing Grace. Watch the complete funeral for South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney here

Univision Dumps Donald Trump Over Mexico Remarks

Donald Trump with Miss Connecticut Erin Brady in 2013
BBC AMERICA: US television network Univision says it is cutting ties with businessman Donald Trump and ending coverage of the Miss USA beauty pageant, which he co-owns.

The network, one of the largest US Spanish-language broadcasters, said it follows the hotel tycoon's disparaging remarks made about Mexicans.

Mr Trump said Mexicans brought drugs and crime to the US, during his announcement last week to seek the Republican presidential nomination.

He is now threatening a lawsuit.

In his speech last week, Mr Trump said of Mexico: "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."

In announcing the breakup, Univision said that his words were "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants" and said it would not air the Miss USA pageant on 12 July. The company also said it would be severing all business ties with the celebrity businessman. » | Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tunisia Beach Attack: 80 'Propagandist' Mosques to Be Closed

BBC AMERICA: Tunisia will shut down about 80 mosques accused of inciting violence, Prime Minister Habib Essid has said, after a beach attack that left 39 people dead.

The mosques, which operate outside state control, are spreading "venom" and will close within a week, he said.

On Friday a gunman opened fire on tourists in the resort town of Sousse.

Tunisians, Britons, Germans, Belgians, French and at least one Irish citizen were among those killed in the attack, claimed by Islamic State (IS).

The gunman was shot dead by police. Officials say he was a student not previously known to authorities.

This was the second major attack on tourists in Tunisia since March, when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreigners, at a museum in the capital. (+ BBC videos) » | Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Queen Visits Site of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

THE GUARDIAN: Chief rabbi says monarch’s first visit to site of a former concentration camp, in Germany, is ‘tremendously significant’

The Queen is visiting the site of the Bergen-Belsen prisoner of war and concentration camps on Friday, the final day of her state visit to Germany.

The chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who will join the Queen for part of her tour of the site, said the trip would be seen by Jewish communities around the globe as “tremendously significant”.

The camps were liberated by British troops 70 years ago, and the site is now a memorial to those who died at the hands of the Nazis.

It will be the Queen’s first trip to a former concentration camp and a personal reflective visit for the monarch, with a minimum of ceremony. » | Press Association | Friday, June 26, 2015

The DELUDED Mr Cameron: Terror Attacks: ‘We Have to Deal with This Poisonous, Radical Narrative’

Tunisia Attack on Sousse Beach 'Kills 28'

BBC AMERICA: At least 28 people, mostly foreigners, have been killed in an attack on a beach near two tourist hotels in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse, according to the interior ministry.

Officials say one gunman has been shot dead and another is being pursued.

Interior Ministry officials said Tunisians, Britons, Germans and Belgians are among the dead.

In March militants killed 22 people, mainly foreign tourists, in an attack on a museum in the capital Tunis.

Officials say six people have been injured in the attack. » | Friday, June 25, 2015

US Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Is Legal Nationwide

Jordan Monaghan told his mum: "Your son can have a husband now."
BBC AMERICA: The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States.

It means the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the plaintiffs asked "for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

The ruling brings to an end more than a decade of bitter legal battles.

Same-sex couples in several affected states including Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas rushed to wed on Friday.

However officials in some states including Mississippi and Louisiana said marriages had to wait until procedural issues were addressed.

President Barack Obama said the ruling was a "victory for America".

"When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free " he said. » | Friday, June 25, 2015

The world reacts to gay marriage ruling »

France Attack: Man Decapitated at Factory Near Lyon

BBC AMERICA: A man has been found decapitated at a gas factory near Lyon in France after an attack that police suspect was carried out by one of his employees.

The body was found after a car rammed into the factory causing an explosion that put France on its highest alert amid fears of a terror attack.

Within hours a man was arrested who officials said had been investigated over possible ties to radical Islam.

His boss, the owner of a delivery firm, was the man found beheaded, police say.

The delivery company had made regular trips to the factory, which is owned by the US-based company Air Products, Dauphine Libere newspaper reports.

Few details of the killing have been released, but the businessman's head was reportedly found on a post at the factory, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 40km (25 miles) from Lyon.

Mr Hollande said the decapitated body had "inscriptions" on it. The French interior minister said: "A flag with Arabic writing on it was found at the scene." » | Friday, June 26, 2015

Thousands Packed into North Korea Stadium Call for Bloody Revenge on US on Korean War Anniversary

THE TELEGRAPH: Pyongyang holds 'Mass Rally on the Day of the Struggle Against the US' and issues an English-language statement condemning the 'fatty monster US imperialists'

North Korea marked the 65th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War on Thursday with a 100,000-strong rally in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Stadium, and a statement condemning the "fatty monster US imperialists".

The "Pyongyang Mass Rally on the Day of the Struggle Against the US," was a carefully orchestrated display of angry speeches, fist-pumping and calls for blood revenge.

The rally was just one event in what it officially known as "Struggle Against US Imperialism Month", during which North Koreans visit war museums and attend gatherings denouncing the evils of the United States.

North Korea also issued a statement on Thursday urging the world to join its struggle to "dismember the gangster US imperialists".

"We appeal to the world to turn out in the worldwide anti-US struggle to dismember the gangster US imperialists", said the statement carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). » | Andrew Marszal, and agencies | Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shock Poll: 51% of U.S. Muslims Want Sharia; 25% Okay with Violence against Americans

BREITBART.COM: The Center for Security Policy released a poll Tuesday that should give all Americans pause. The results show that a startling number of American Muslims, our fellow citizens, agree that violence is a legitimate response to those who insult Islam. A full majority of 51% “agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.” » | John Nolte | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Queen and Philip Lunch with German Branch of Family Once Tainted by Nazi Past

DAILY EXPRESS: THE Queen and Prince Philip had a family reunion in Germany today with the descendants of relatives once banned from their wedding because of Nazi connections.

They met different branches of Philip’s side of the family at a lunch in Frankfurt and again at a reception at the British Embassy in Berlin tonight.

There was a time when such a meeting would have had to be far more discreet – all but one of Philip’s German relatives, his mother Princess Alice, were excluded from the couple’s 1947 wedding because of sensitivities over his sister’s Nazi connections.

Three of his four sisters joined Hitler’s party and married princes who were prominent Nazis, although other relatives were persecuted after being accused of opposing the party.

But there was no sense of any awkwardness today, as the 89-year-old monarch and her husband, 94, chatted to guests in Frankfurt’s city hall, Philip using his fluent German.

There were three groups of Philip’s relatives seated at tables: the Battenbergs, the von Badens and the Hesses. » | Richard Palmer, Royal Correspondent | Thursday, June 25, 2015

Isis Targets Vulnerable Bosnia for Recruitment and Attack

A still from a new Isis recruitment video aimed at Bosnian youth.
THE GUARDIAN: High youth unemployment, ethnic tensions and political paralysis help jihadis lure young people to Syria and open up new terror front in heart of Europe

Islamic State has expanded its efforts to recruit fighters in Bosnia and incite terrorist attacks there, taking advantage of the world’s highest youth unemployment rate and chronic political paralysis.

The initiative, though small in scale, is causing alarm in western capitals, where diplomats fear that the mix of economic malaise and ethnic tensions represents fertile terrain for extremism, and that Europe could come to regret the failure to confront Bosnia’s profound structural problems in the two decades since the war.

Isis produced a new recruitment video this month, targeting the Balkans region and Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular. The 20-minute film, entitled Honour is in Jihad, features several Bosnian Isis fighters exhorting their fellow countrymen to join the battle in Syria or carry out opportunistic attacks on perceived enemies of Islam at home.

“If you can, put explosives under the cars, in their houses, all over them. If you can, take poison and put it in their drink or food. Make them die, make them die of poisoning, kill them wherever you are. In Bosnia, in Serbia, in Sandzak [a region in south-west Serbia]. You can do it,” one of the Bosnians, identified by a pseudonym, Salahuddin al-Bosni, implores the audience in Bosnian. » | Julian Borger in Sarajevo | Thursday, June 25, 2015

Obamacare Subsidies Upheld in US Supreme Court Ruling

BBC AMERICA: The US Supreme Court has upheld a key portion of President Barack Obama's healthcare law in a 6-3 decision.

The court ruled the law as a whole made subsidies available for people in all 50 states, not just those who bought insurance through a state exchange.

The high court case was the second major challenge to the healthcare law- often known as Obamacare - since its passage.

The decision is major victory for the Obama administration.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion.

If the law was overturned, 6.4 million Americans would have been at risk of losing aid.

The 2010 law, often known as Obamacare, set up a federally run insurance exchange where Americans who were not covered by employers or other governmental could buy health insurance. » | Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bobby Jindal Becomes 13th Republican to Run for US Presidency

The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, has become the 13th Republican to throw his hat into the ring and join the presidential race. Jindal criticised the establishment in Washington, saying, 'It's time for the folks in Washington to admit the truth. You can't grow the economy and the government at the same time.' He pitched himself as a Republican candidate with a difference, saying 'the Republican party in Washington DC has been beaten into submission. It is increasingly afraid to speak the truth. It is time to say what everybody is already thinking. The emperors in Washington, they are not wearing any clothes.' Jindal is the first person of Indian-American heritage ever to run for the presidency

Obama: "Shame on You" to White House Heckler

President Obama is heckled at a White House event honoring the LGBT community with Obama saying, "Shame on you," as he called for heckler to be removed. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

Read the Telegraph article here | David Millward, US Correspondent | Thursday, June 15, 2015

St. Petersburg Lawmaker Wants Romanov Family to Return to Russia

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
THE MOSCOW TIMES: A lawmaker in the Leningrad region outside the city of St. Petersburg has appealed to the descendants of the Romanov royal family to return to Russia, saying their presence would help unify the country and restore its might, media reports said.

In letters to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova in Spain and Prince Dmitry Romanovich Romanov in Denmark, both of whom claim to be the head of the house of Romanov, regional lawmaker Vladimir Petrov argued that the “return of the descendants of the last Russian autocrat to their historical homeland would help smooth out the political contradictions inside the country, which have been left over from the moment of the [Bolshevik] October revolution, and would become a symbol of restoring the spiritual might of Russia's people,” Izvestia reported Tuesday.

“At the present time, a difficult process is under way in restoring Russia's might and of returning its international influence,” Petrov said in the letter, Izvestia reported. “I am certain that during such an important historical moment, members of the Romanov imperial house cannot remain aside from the processes that are going on in Russia.” » | Anna Dolgov | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Related »

Peter Hitchens – WWI & Christianity

Saudi Arabien: Eine der grausamsten Diktaturen der Welt

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Staatsbankett: Beethoven zur Forelle

FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU: Mit einem Staatsbankett endete der zweite Tag des Besuchs der britischen Königin in Berlin. 136 Gäste hatte der Bundespräsident dazu ins Schloss Bellevue eingeladen. Vor dem festlichen Abendessen gab es ein Defilee bei den Staatsoberhäuptern.

Das Menü wurde auf Staatsgeschirr von KPMG mit goldenem Adler serviert. Als Vorspeise gab es Bachforelle, Meerrettich und geröstetes Salatherz, gefolgt von einer „Wildkraftbrühe mit gefülltem Teigblatt“. Als Hauptgericht wurde Müritzlamm-Rücken, Beelitzer Spargel und Kartoffeltörtchen aufgetischt – und als Dessert eine Variation von Erdbeeren, Holunderblüte und Buttermilch. » | Von Susanne Rost | Mittwoch, 24. Juni 2015

Peter Hitchens - Monarchy & Christianity

Islamic State Spreads Tentacles to Russia as Chechnya Militants Pledge Allegiance to Leader Baghdadi

THE TELEGRAPH: New alliance marks first time the terror group has made a territorial claim in Russia and becomes the latest addition to its rapidly expanding portfolio of terror franchises

Islamic State has claimed a swathe of southern Russia as a “province” of its emirate after fighters there pledged allegiance to the group, opening a new front on Europe’s doorstep.

Thousands of Islamist fighters from the region this week pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isil, in a video filmed in the Muslim republic of Chechnya.

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, Isil’s spokesman, appointed a new "governor" of the Caucasus, calling on all “mujahideen” to recognise his authority “and obey him in everything except sin.”

The move appears to sideline the current leadership of the Caucasus Emirate, an umbrella group of smaller extremist groups in Chechnya, Daghestan and Ingushetia, who have fought to break away from Russian rule for decades.

Mr Adnani declared that the Caucasus would form a new province of the self-proclaimed Caliphate, marking the first time the terror group has made a territorial claim in Russia and becomes the latest addition to its rapidly expanding portfolio of terror franchises. » | Roland Oliphant, Moscow | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Die Queen in Deutschland: Elisabeth II warnt vor Spaltung Europas

Königin Elisabeth II. und Bundespräsident Gauck
am Mittwoch in Berlin.
FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE: Die britische Königin sieht Europa vor einer Bewährungsprobe. In einer Rede auf einem von Bundespräsident Gauck ausgerichteten Abendessen sprach sie von Gefahren für den Osten wie den Westen des Kontinents.

Die britische Königin Elisabeth II. hat vor einer Spaltung Europas gewarnt. In einer Rede am Mittwochabend in Berlin sagte die Queen: „Wir wissen, dass Spaltung in Europa gefährlich ist und dass wir uns davor in Acht nehmen müssen, im Westen wie auch im Osten unseres Kontinents.“ Dieses bleibe „unser gemeinsames Bestreben“, äußerte Elisabeth II. bei einem von Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck ausgerichteten Abendessen im Schloss Bellevue in Berlin. Die Queen und ihr Mann Prinz Philip sind für vier Tage zu Besuch in Deutschland. » | Von Eckart Lohse, Berlin | Mittwoch, 24. Juni 2015

Queen Wades into Europe Debate as She Says Division Is 'Dangerous'

The Queen in Berlin on Wednesday
THE TELEGRAPH: Her Majesty emphasises Britain’s 'key part' in shaping of continent in Berlin speech that left little doubt of which way she would vote in referendum

The Queen has said that division in Europe is "dangerous" in what will be seen as a plea to the British people to vote yes to staying in Europe.

In a speech in front of David Cameron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday night, Her Majesty emphasised Britain’s “key part” in the shaping of the continent.

She also lauded Britain’s “irreversible” friendship with Germany, the EU’s most powerful member state, as she spoke at a State banquet in Berlin.

Her comments were all the more powerful as they were made ahead of a speech by the German President, Joachim Gauck, who urged Mr Cameron to do everything he can to secure a “yes” vote in the in-out EU referendum, saying that “the European Union needs Britain”. » | Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter, in Berlin and Steven Swinford | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dutch Government Ordered to Cut Carbon Emissions in Landmark Ruling

THE GUARDIAN: Dutch court orders state to reduce emissions by 25% within five years to protect its citizens from climate change in world’s first climate liability suit

A court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years, in a landmark ruling expected to cause ripples around the world.

To cheers and hoots from climate campaigners in court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were unlawful, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change.

Jubilant campaigners said that governments preparing for the Paris climate summit later this year would now need to look over their shoulders for civil rights era-style legal challenges where emissions-cutting pledges are inadequate. » | Arthur Neslen | The Hague | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

US Ransom Policy Shift Undermines UK's Hardline Stance

THE GUARDIAN: Barack Obama’s decision may put Americans at greater risk, fuel hostage price inflation and raise pressure on UK to save its citizens in the same way

Barack Obama’s decision to relax Washington’s blanket ban on paying ransoms to free hostages will be seen as belated American acceptance of an unpleasant but unavoidable necessity by west European countries criticised in the past for buying off terrorist kidnappers with cash.

But if David Cohen, deputy director of the CIA, and other counter-terrorism experts are to be believed, Wednesday’s announcement may increase the risk of American citizens being taken hostage abroad, because the payment of large amounts of money for their release now appears more likely.

Obama’s policy shift does not in any way overcome the basic ransoms-for-hostages dilemma, which is the fear that handing over money is, in effect, “giving in” to the bad guys and will encourage and finance more terrorism. Linked to this is the belief, common among American and British politicians, that European governments that pay ransoms (while officially denying it) – notably France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Italy – are letting the side down. » | Simon Tisdall | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vladimir Putin 'Wants' to Reinstate Russia's Royal Family and Bring Back the Tsars

THE DAILY EXPRESS: VLADIMIR PUTIN 'wants' to reinstate the Russian royal family and move them into an ancient palace once occupied by the last Tsar Nicholas II.

The Romanov family's extraordinary return would not threaten the rule of the Kremlin strongman but would aim to give them a role in unifying Russia.

The move proposed by Vladimir Petrov, a law maker from Putin's party, has prompted speculation that it has the Russian leader's direct approval.

Petrov also plans to introduce a law, which would be implemented by the centenary of the end of Imperial rule, which would "give the Royal family members a special status" and "stimulate their return to Russia". The legislator has written letters to the heirs of the Romanov dynasty, which ruled the country for two centuries before the abdication of last Tsar Nicholas II ahead of two revolutions in 1917.

The following year the Romanov family - Nicholas and his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei - were executed by Bolsheviks led by Yakov Yurovsky under the orders of the Ural Soviet.

Petrov has written to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Prince Dimitri Romanovich urging them to return to Russia to become symbols of national culture in order to "revive the spiritual power of Russian people". » | Rebecca Perring | Tuesday, June 13, 2015

Heute Nacht schläft die Queen im Kingsize-Bett

BILD: Sie bleibt drei Tage, absolviert 14 Termine

Hoher Besuch in der Hauptstadt: Königin Elizabeth II. (89) ist am Dienstag mit einer Entourage von 40 Bediensteten in Berlin gelandet. Am Abend checkte sie mit ihrem Ehemann Prinz Philip (94) im „Adlon“ ein.

Die Queen residiert in der Präsidentensuite 312 in der dritten Etage des Nobel-Hotels: 180 Quadratmeter, fünf Zimmer (u. a. Wohnbereich mit Flügel und Kamin, Schlafzimmer mit Garderobe, Badezimmer mit Sauna sowie eine Mini-Küche). Und im Schlafzimmer ein kuscheliges Kingsize-Bett – mit Blick aufs Brandenburger Tor. Kosten: 15 000 Euro pro Nacht. » | Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton denounces Charleston shooting as act of 'racist terrorism'

While campaigning near Ferguson, Clinton definitively labelled the killing of nine black churchgoers, as politicians and pundits remain divided on semantics

Read the Guardian article here | Paul Lewis in Washington | Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Iran's Supreme Leader Says Western Sanctions Must Go When Nuclear Deal Is Signed

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivering
 speech to a packed crowd earlier this month
THE TELEGRAPH: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declares that inspection of military sites is "out of the question" and appears to renege on commitments that Iran has already made

Iran's Supreme Leader drew his "red lines" for a final nuclear agreement on Tuesday night, demanding the "immediate" lifting of sanctions as soon as a deal is signed.

Diplomats from Iran and six world powers are racing to negotiate an accord that would settle the confrontation over Tehran's nuclear ambitions by a deadline of next Tuesday.

But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's sudden intervention may complicate their efforts. In a televised speech, the Supreme Leader appeared to renege on commitments that Iran has already made.

"Sanctions should be lifted immediately when the deal is signed and it should not be linked to verification by the UN watchdog body," said Ayatollah Khamenei, who has the final say over all policy questions. » | David Blair | Tuesday, June 23, 2015

At Last, Some Common Sense! Lord Richards: 'We Need to Approach Muslim Extremism as We Might Approach World War Two'

Lord Richards of Herstmonceux is a former chief
of the Defence Staff
THE TELEGRAPH: Lord Richards said extremism is a "real threat" to the world, as he condemned dithering politicians too reluctant to lead the way

Britain must stop "sleepwalking" and prepare to tackle Muslim extremism as seriously as it planned for the Second World War, Lord Richards has warned.

Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said extremism is a "real threat" to the world, as he condemned dithering politicians too reluctant to lead the way.

Warning a "hell of a lot of damage" is going to be wreaked by ISIS in the coming years, he argued the armed forces risk being left "on the back foot" by leaders who fail to plan properly.

"I think the problem is that we have not seen that we need to approach this issue of Muslim extremism as we might approach World War Two back in the 30s," he said.

"This is a real threat to us and we're sleepwalking in the way we're approaching it." » | Hannah Furness | Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Deutschland-Besuch: Königin Elizabeth II. in Berlin eingetroffen

Gut gelaunt und händeschüttelnd: Die Queen nach ihrer
Ankunft am Dienstagabend am Flughafen Tegel
FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE: Mit 21 Salutschüssen ist die britische Königin am Berliner Flughafen Tegel begrüßt worden. Der fünfte Staatsbesuch von Elisabeth II. in Deutschland erfolgt 50 Jahre nach dem ersten. Die 89 Jahre alte Monarchin erwartet ein umfangreiches Programm.

Königin Elizabeth II. ist am Dienstag zu ihrem fünften Staatsbesuch in Deutschland eingetroffen. Gemeinsam mit ihrem Ehemann Prinz Philip (94) landete die britische Königin (89) mit einer Sondermaschine am Abend im militärischen Teil des Berliner Flughafens Tegel. Um 19.05 Uhr stieg sie aus dem Flugzeug. » | Quelle: dpa | Dienstag, 23. Juni 2015

The President Hosts an Iftar Dinner

President Obama hosts an Iftar dinner at the White House in recognition of Ramadan. June 22, 2015.

Top Security Chief Warns against Portraying Muslims as 'Intrinsically Extremist'

THE TELEGRAPH: Charles Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, warns of oversimplifying numbers heading to join Isil in contrast to David Cameron's toughening rhetoric

Theresa May’s most senior counter terrorism adviser has warned against portraying Muslim communities as “intrinsically extremist” just days after David Cameron said some were “quietly condoning” radicalisation.

Charles Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, said there was a “risk” of oversimplification given around 2.7 million Muslims live in Britain but just a few hundred had joined Isil in the Middle East.

Mr Farr knocked back suggestions the country was losing the online war against jihadists and suggested the government was keeping step with the waves of propaganda being uploaded by Islamist radicals.

The comments contrast with Mr Cameron’s keynote speech on radicalisation last week, when he toughened his rhetoric on the responsibilities Muslim leaders had to stamp out extremism.

Speaking at a Jewish News conference on Israel, Mr Farr warned of the dangers of playing up the numbers of Britons who have headed to the Middle East to join Isil. » | Ben Riley-Smith, Political Correspondent | Monday, June 22, 2015

Barack Obama Uses N-word during Discussion on Racism – Audio

THE GUARDIAN: Obama says the United States has not overcome its history of racism – and uses the N-word to make his point. In an interview with comedian Marc Maron, Obama adds to the debate over race and guns following the racially motivated murder of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina last week. He says: 'Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.'

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ex-Muslim: Leaving Islam

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK, with the number of Muslims almost doubling in the last few years from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.71 million in the latest census, 2011. A small but increasing number of people are also choosing to leave the religion and many say doing so has led them to be rejected by their family and friends and - in some cases - threatened with violence. Benjamin Zand spoke to ex-Muslims.

Fury over Gender Ban in Bordeaux Muslim Grocery Store

Veiled women in Bordeaux
THE TELEGRAPH: Muslim grocery store in Bordeaux withdraws sign announcing gender-specific days for customers following local and national outcry

The south-eastern French wine capital of Bordeaux is up in arms over a Muslim-owned grocer’s decision to impose male and female-only days for customers.

A small sign outside the De L'Orient à L'Occidental (From East to West) store stipulated that women were only welcome on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays. Men, on the other hand, were kindly asked to take their custom elsewhere on weekends.

The gender split was put in place by the store's owners, recent converts to Islam, to make sure women and men do not meet.

Jean-Baptiste Michelon, the store's co-owner, said: “It’s really for practising Muslims. A man doesn’t want to find himself alone with a woman. A woman who comes to buy books here doesn’t want to find herself alone with a man, especially out of respect if she is married."

“I don’t think her husband would accept such things,” he told BFM TV, adding that the rule did not apply to non-Muslims. Read on and comment » | Henry Samuel, Paris | Monday, June 22, 2015

Susan Pollack: I Can’t Forgive

British Holocaust survivor Susan Pollack lost 50 members of her family, including her parents, in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. She recently gave evidence at the trial in Germany of a former SS guard Oskar Groning, who is charged with complicity in the murder of 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz.

He has admitted moral guilt but denies the criminal charges against him.

HARDtalk’s Zeinab Badawi spoke to Susan Pollack about her experiences in Auschwitz and Belsen before her liberation by British troops. She says she cannot forgive those who contributed to the Holocaust and believes we must continue to ask how and why such a crime could be committed.

Release date: 19 Jun 2015

2067: The End of British Christianity

THE SPECTATOR: Projections aren't predictions. But there's no denying that churches are in deep trouble

It’s often said that Britain’s church congregations are shrinking, but that doesn’t come close to expressing the scale of the disaster now facing Christianity in this country. Every ten years the census spells out the situation in detail: between 2001 and 2011 the number of Christians born in Britain fell by 5.3 million — about 10,000 a week. If that rate of decline continues, the mission of St Augustine to the English, together with that of the Irish saints to the Scots, will come to an end in 2067.

That is the year in which the Christians who have inherited the faith of their British ancestors will become statistically invisible. Parish churches everywhere will have been adapted for secular use, demolished or abandoned.

Our cathedral buildings will survive, but they won’t be true cathedrals because they will have no bishops. The Church of England is declining faster than other denominations; if it carries on shrinking at the rate suggested by the latest British Social Attitudes survey, Anglicanism will disappear from Britain in 2033. One day the last native-born Christian will die and that will be that. » | Damian Thompson | Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Im Sog der Salafisten – Dokumentation

Salafisten sind die derzeit am schnellsten wachsende religiöse Gruppierung in Europa. Ihr Ziel ist es, die Gesellschaft nach ihren Vorstellungen „umzugestalten“. Der Salafismus ist eine Ausprägung des Islamismus, in dem die Rückkehr zur Lebensweise der frommen Altvorderen verlangt wird. Inzwischen ziehen Tausende junge Männer, fasziniert von der Propaganda der Dschihadisten in den „Heiligen Krieg“. Zunehmend fühlen sich auch viele Frauen von der „Dschihad-Romantik“ angezogen. Sie glauben, dass es ehrenwert ist, die Männer im Kampf gegen die Ungläubigen zu unterstützen. Solidarität im Namen Allahs.

Die Islamkämpfer senden verstörende Botschaften via Internet und demonstrieren so ihre Macht: Nicht nur Hinrichtungen und abgeschnittene Köpfe werden lächelnd unter „Allahu akbar-Rufen der Weltöffentlichkeit präsentiert. Das Internet ist zum zweiten Schlachtfeld geworden. Die Dokumentation gewährt Einblicke in das Netzwerk der Salafisten. Die Spurensuche führt nach Deutschland, Frankreich, Österreich und Großbritannien. Insider, Betroffene und Experten analysieren die wachsende Salafistenbewegung und diskutieren mögliche Lösungsvorschläge.

Dass die tödliche Gefahr durch Terroranschläge auch den Westen bedroht, zeigt nicht zuletzt auch der Anschlag auf „Charlie Hebdo“ in Paris. Das Satire-Magazin wurde zur Zielscheibe, weil es mit seiner spitzen Feder auch Mohammed nicht verschonte. Mit dem Slogan „Je suis Charlie“ war die Welt für einige Tage vereint gegen den Terror. Wie müssen demokratische Staaten in Zukunft auf die wachsende Bedrohung, nicht nur durch gewaltbereite Salafisten, in Europa reagieren?

Austere Brand of Islam On Rise in Europe, Stirring Concerns

YAHOO! NEWS: PARIS (AP) — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.

The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.

In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins.

In Britain the numbers are on the rise, too. Seven percent of Britain's 1,740 mosques are run by Salafis, according to Mehmood Naqshbandi, an expert on Britain's Muslims and counter-extremism adviser to the British government who keeps a database of the various currents of Islam in Britain. He says those numbers are steadily growing, especially among young people — and that a quarter to half of British Muslims under 30 "accept some parts or all of the Salafi theology." » | Elaine Ganley | AP | Sunday, June 21, 2015

Met Police Officer Removes His Help for Heroes Charity Wristband after Being Harangued by Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary in the Street

MAIL ON SUNDAY: Metropolitan police officer confronted by hate preacher in East London / Constable is asked: 'Are you a member of the EDL or BNP or something?' / Video claims to show 'subsequent' footage of policeman without the band / Metropolitan Police allows its staff to wear such pin badges and wristbands

A Metropolitan Police officer appears to have taken his Help for Heroes wristband off after being grilled by a hate preacher in East London who said he should not be displaying a 'political agenda'.

The constable is filmed on Green Street, Forest Gate, being taunted for wearing the band which supports British soldiers and is asked: 'Are you a member of the EDL or BNP or something?'

Constable Allerston is later seen standing on the same street without the band on after a caption flashes on screen reading: 'As you will see from the next clip, the officer subsequently removed the wristband.'

The timeline of events in the video cannot be confirmed as correct and the Met do not have enough information to comment on the incident. » | Jay Akbar for MailOnline | Sunday, June 21, 2015

Brigitte Gabriel Speaks at 2015 ‘Watchment on the Wall’ Conference

ACT for America's president and founder, Brigitte Gabriel tells her story about how radical Islam changed her life as a child in Lebanon forever. May her story serve as a warning to the rest of the world.

”We’re All In This Together”: Queen's Finances Are Safe from Cuts for Two Years

Queen Elizabeth II
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Campaigners demand an immediate review into the Royal family's contribution to Government's austerity measures

The Queen will not face any cuts to royal finances for at least another two years despite an 11 per cent increase in her income, The Telegraph has learnt.

In the two years since the Civil List was replaced by the Sovereign Grant, the Queen’s taxpayer-funded income has shot up from £36.1 million to more than £40 million.

Campaigners have demanded that David Cameron and George Osborne, who set up the current funding formula, should carry out an immediate review so that the Royal family can make their own contribution to the Government’s austerity measures.

But royal sources have insisted the money is needed to continue with a backlog of repairs to the royal palaces, and gave a strong indication that any proposed cuts would be resisted. » | Gordon Raynor, Chief Reporter | Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dutch Politician Says TV ‘Sabotaged’ His Muhammad Cartoons

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: Geert Wilders had intended to air images of Muslim prophet as part of political ad, but broadcaster nixed the video

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders claimed Saturday that the state broadcaster “sabotaged” his planned airing of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on television.

“Sabotage by the NOS (broadcaster) everything was confirmed but not broadcast,” Wilders tweeted after a previous party political broadcast about immigration was aired instead of the cartoons.

“I will put the images on YouTube and next time on television even if I have to go to (the studios in) Hilversum,” Wilders said.

Wilders had said Friday that he would show the cartoons in the name of his Freedom Party (PVV) on Saturday morning and again on Wednesday and July 3.

Wilders said he was making the broadcasts to defend freedom of speech after two gunmen were shot dead while attacking a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas last month.

NOS editor in chief Marcel Gelauff tweeted to Wilders that the broadcaster “has nothing to do with party political broadcasts. We do news, sports and current affairs.” » | AFP | Saturday, June 20, 2015

Doku: Queen 2015 - Der Jahrhundertbesuch: Die Königin in Deutschland

Es ist der längste, teuerste und prächtigste Staatsbesuch in der Bundesrepublik: Elf Tage reist die erst 39-jährige Queen 1965 quer durch Deutschland. Viele Tage verbringt sie in Nordrhein-Westfalen, denn die Briten waren an der Gründung des Bundeslandes maßgeblich beteiligt.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Doku – Elizabeth II. - Die Queen und die Deutschen [HD]

Dutch Anti-Islam MP to Air Mohammed Cartoons on Saturday

YAHOO! NEWS: The Hague (AFP) - Publicity-seeking Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is to broadcast cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on television during time reserved for political parties on Saturday, his party said.

The cartoons will be shown on Dutch public television at 1049 GMT, Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) said in a statement on Friday, adding that they would be repeated on June 24 and July 3.

Wilders said he was making the broadcasts to defend freedom of speech after two militants were shot dead while attacking a Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas last month. » | AFP | Friday, June 19, 2015

Obama on Gun Violence: Six Years of Statements But Change Remains Elusive

Barack Obama teared up when he spoke of the 2012 shooting
at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
THE GUARDIAN: The mass shootings in South Carolina are the latest in a long line national tragedies as legislative efforts toward gun law reform continue to fail

More than a dozen times in his presidency, Barack Obama has appeared before television cameras and issued statements to express sorrow at a mass shooting event in America.

After Arizona, where congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head, he spoke of hope. After Newtown, where 20 children and six teachers were shot dead in their classrooms, he spoke of a nation’s broken heart. On Thursday, after nine people were shot dead in a church in Charleston, he spoke of despair.

There are other shootings where Obama has remained silent, or not engaged with issue of guns or the cause of an event. But when he has, the president’s responses have varied from anger to exasperation to sadness, nearly every time vowing that such events must not happen again.

During his presidency, most legislative efforts to reform America’s gun laws through universal background checks or restrictions on sales and magazines have failed. » | Erin McCann in New York | Thursday,, June 18, 2015

Five Centuries after Expulsion at Pain of Death, Spain Grants Citizenship to Sephardic Jews

Expulsion of Jews from Spain, 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella
being petitioned for mercy by some of those who are to be expelled
THE TELEGRAPH: Descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in the Inquisition of 1492 celebrate right to citizenship but Muslims whose ancestors were later kicked out complain of double standards

A century ago, Marcelo Benveniste’s four Jewish grandparents emigrated from the Greek island of Rhodes to Argentina. Unlike many new arrivals on far-flung shores, they had little difficulty navigating their way through the challenges of a foreign tongue as as they already spoke Ladino, a language also known as Judaeo-Spanish that had been passed down through the generations since their ancestors fled Spain as part of the mass expulsion of Jews in 1492.

Hundreds of thousands of Sephardic Jews left as a result of the Granada Edict - which offered them the choice of either leaving the country, converting to Christianity or being sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition - dispersing across the length and breadth of southern Europe and North Africa.

Now Spain's parliament has passed a law aimed at righting this historical wrong, making it possible for the descendants of those Jews to regain Spanish nationality more than 500 years after being expelled from Sefarad, the Hebrew word for the Iberian peninsula.

"The Spanish government’s law helps Sephardic Jews to close a circle, healing a wound that was opened 523 years ago. It helps me feel that my life forms part of history itself," said Mr Benveniste over the telephone from Buenos Aires. Rad on and comment » | James Badcock, Madrid | Saturday, June 20, 2015

Moroccan Men 'Jailed for Four Months for Kissing in Public'

THE TELEGRAPH: Lahcen and Mohsine were also fined £32 after they kissed during a recent topless demonstration by feminist group Femen

Two Moroccan men were jailed for four months on Friday for kissing in public, after a string of recent controversies over homosexuality in the conservative Muslim kingdom, said NGO officials who attended the trial.

The men, Lahcen, 38, and Mohsine, 25, were convicted of an "affront to public decency" and of an "unnatural act with a person of the same sex," and also fined 500 dirhams (£33), the sources said.

Defence lawyer Hassan Ettass told AFP he planned to appeal the sentence.

Homosexual activity is punishable in Morocco by up to three years in jail and the divisive law – known as Article 489 – has been the subject of several protests, including a recent topless demonstration by feminist group Femen in front of Rabat's famous Hassan Tower. » | AFP | Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

After Paris – The Battle for British Islam – BBC Documentary

Assange Refuge: 3 Years in Embassy, Policing Costs about £11,000 a Day

Three years ago today, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange walked into Ecuador's embassy in London to seek political asylum. The Australian's been there ever since. If he leaves the building, Assange could be arrested and, he fears, eventually extradited to the US to face charges over the release of military documents which deeply-embarrassed Washington.

'Satanic Islam' Sermon Belfast Pastor James McConnell Says He Faces Six Months in Jail

BELFAST TELEGRAPH: Controversial preacher James McConnell says he faces up to six months in jail for calling Islam satanic.

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Pastor McConnell last night defiantly said he'd go to prison rather than withdraw the remarks.

"I am 78 years of age and in ill health but jail knows no fear for me," he said.

"They can lock me up with sex offenders, hoodlums and paramilitaries and I will do my time.

"I have no regrets about what I said. I do not hate Muslims but I denounce Islam as a doctrine and I make no apologies for that. I will be pleading 'not guilty' when I stand in the dock in August."

Pastor McConnell's solicitor Joe Rice vowed to fight the case "tooth and nail".

He called for the PPS to withdraw the charges and said pursuing the case was "an absolute waste of scarce public funds". » | Suzanne Breen | Friday, June 19, 2015

Related »

LITTLEJOHN: Did Michelle Obama Not See the Irony in Delivering a Speech on Female Emancipation to a School Full of Girls in Headscarves in the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets? (And Is This the Face Britain Wants to Show the World?)

DAILY MAIL: Michelle Obama paid visit to the Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets / More than 90% of pupils are Muslim from mainly Bangladeshi background / And majority have no option but to wear headscarves and long robes / But still it was chosen as the site for the First Lady's speech on equality

Of all the schools in all the towns in all the world, why did Michelle Obama visit a girls’ school in the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets this week?

She says it was her own choice to make a speech on education at the Mulberry School for Girls. But was it?

I doubt the First Lady had ever heard of the school before this trip, and probably couldn’t point to Tower Hamlets on a map. My guess is that the venue was chosen deliberately by the Department for Education to showcase our new, rigorously enforced State religion: ‘Celebrating Diversity’.

Actually, if that was what they intended, they couldn’t have chosen a worse example. The Mulberry School is probably one of the least diverse schools in Britain. And that includes Eton.

More than 90 per cent of the pupils are Muslim, from a predominantly Bangladeshi background. That make-up pretty much reflects the demography of the surrounding area.

Tower Hamlets, in East London, isn’t so much multicultural, it’s virtually a monoculture. The local council, under its recently deposed Muslim mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has been a by-word for Third World-style corruption and vote-rigging.

There are more burkas on the streets of Limehouse than there are in Lahore. So it wasn’t surprising to see the vast majority of the girls photographed with Mrs Obama wearing the now familiar headscarfs and long robes insisted upon by the more devout adherents of Islam.

Did the First Lady not appreciate the contradictions inherent in delivering a speech on female emancipation and education in front of an audience which could have been transported direct from Saudi Arabia? » | Richard Littlejohn for the Daily Mail | Thursday, June 18, 2015

French Warn Britain: Brexit Could Be Your Waterloo

THE GUARDIAN: As French politicians stay away from battle commemorations, le Monde publishes editorial in English telling UK ‘just as in 1815, your future is in Europe’

French politicians were notably absent from the 200-year commemoration of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, but that did not stop the country’s biggest national newspaper using the symbolism of France’s bloody loss to warn Britain against a carnage of another kind: the Brexit.

Le Monde, France’s paper of record, took the unusual step of publishing its daily editorial in English under the warning: “Britain beware, Brexit could be your Waterloo!”

“The country which cornered Napoleon cannot succumb to Nigel Farage,” the paper pleaded, urging “our British allies” to “resist the familiar temptation of splendid isolation”.

“Today, we solemnly say to our friends across the Channel: beware, Brexit could be your Waterloo! And to make sure the message is really heard, we have gone as far as to convey it in English. Messieurs les Anglais, don’t let the sirens of a fake independence pull you away from the continent. Just as in 1815, your future is in Europe.” » | Angelique Chrisafis in Paris | Thursday, June 18, 2015

LE MONDE: Messieurs les Anglais, le Brexit pourrait être votre Waterloo » | LeMonde | jeudi 18 juin 2015

Charleston: exaspéré, Obama lance un appel à l'Amérique

TRIBUNE DE GENÈVE: Le président américain, très ému par la fusillade qui a fait 9 morts à Charleston, a laissé percer son exaspération face à l'absence d'avancées sur le contrôle des armes.

Profondément affecté par la fusillade ayant visé la communauté noire de Charleston, dans laquelle un pasteur qu'il connaissait a perdu la vie, Barack Obama a appelé jeudi 18 juin son pays à faire son introspection sur la question des armes à feu.

Evoquant sa «peine», sa «tristesse» et sa «colère», le président américain a aussi laissé percer son exaspération face à l'absence d'avancées sur le contrôle des armes, un débat sur lequel il a déjà échoué et n'a pratiquement aucune marge de manoeuvre face à un Congrès opposé à toute réforme d'ampleur.

«J'ai dû faire ce genre de déclarations trop souvent», a-t-il lancé, avant de réclamer une véritable réflexion collective sur le rapport aux armes à feu aux Etats-Unis, tout en reconnaissant - sans illusions - qu'une avancée législative sur ce thème était inconcevable à court terme. » | afp/Newsnet | vendredi 19 juin 2015

Wahlen in Dänemark: Rechtspopulisten triumphieren

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Die Parlamentswahl in Dänemark hat einen Machtwechsel gebracht. Das Linksbündnis von Regierungschefin Helle Thorning-Schmidt hat verloren, die Politikerin tritt von ihren Ämtern zurück. Die Rechtspopulisten feiern einen historischen Erfolg.

Die Rechtspopulisten in Dänemark haben ein historischen Wahlergebnis eingefahren. Fast alle Stimmen sind bei den Parlamentswahlen ausgezählt und die rechtspopulistische Dänische Volkspartei DF liegt mit mehr als 21 Prozent der Stimmen völlig überraschend vor der rechtsliberalen Venstre von Lars Løkke Rasmussen, dem Herausforderer von Ministerpräsidentin Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Ihre Sozialdemokraten wurden mit rund 26 Prozent stärkste Kraft. Trotzdem liegt der oppositionelle bürgerliche Block deutlich vorn.

Für Thorning-Schmidt ist die Niederlage bitter: Zum ersten Mal konnte ihre Partei mit ihr als Vorsitzender bei Parlamentswahlen dazu gewinnen und dennoch hat es nicht gereicht. In der Nacht zum Freitag erklärte sie ihren Rücktritt vom Amt der Ministerpräsidentin und der Parteichefin. Die Sozialdemokratin hatte vor vier Jahren als erste Frau den Sprung an die dänische Regierungsspitze geschafft. » | Von Anna Reimann | Donnerstag, 18. Juni 2015