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Friday, March 04, 2016

Links - 4th March 2016

Nato commander: Isis ‘spreading like cancer’ among refugees - "In testimony to the Senate armed services committee, US general Philip Breedlove said that the Islamic State terror group is “spreading like a cancer” among refugees. The group’s members are “taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own”, he added. Breedlove also blamed Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria, in support of autocratic leader Bashar al-Assad, for having “wildly exacerbated the problem”. The airstrikes, nominally against Isis but largely against the various rebel groups arrayed against Assad, have allegedly killed more than 1,000 civilians, including children. Breedlove said these indiscriminate attacks mean to terrorize Syrians and “get them on the road” toward neighboring countries and Europe. The Kremlin and Assad intend, according to Breedlove, to use migration as a weapon to weaken European unity and infrastructure... Breedlove distinguished between “criminality, terrorist and foreign fighters”, and said that he has seen news reports saying as many as 1,500 fighters have returned to Europe. “I’m not going to talk to you about intelligence,” he said at a news conference, adding that “many [countries] are saying they see planning happening” for a terrorist attack... European leaders have been sharply divided about whether to continue accepting refugees, especially after high-profile incidents including sexual assaults in Germany, the destruction of refugee camps in France and the identification of war criminals in the Netherlands."
"It is better that one citizen dies in a terror attack than that 100 migrants suffer"; You don't need an army to destroy Europe - just a horde of migrants
Keywords: blackstone, 1000 refugees, 10000 refugees, 100000 refugees

Dutch find 30 suspected war criminals among last year's refugee wave - "Under the Geneva Convention, refugees can be refused asylum “when serious grounds exist to believe that they are guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other non-political serious crimes”, Dijkhoff said. But 20 of them could not be sent back because of ongoing wars or fears of inhumane treatment. A similar Dutch investigation in 2014 identified 50 war crimes suspects, even though the number of refugees reaching the country was much lower."

Are the Syrian Refugees All ‘Young, Strong Men’? - "For men and women, the bulk of refugees (a little under a quarter each) are between the age of 18 and 59. In Europe, over 800,000 migrants have traveled to Europe by sea in 2015, according to the United Nations refugee agency, and a little over half have come from Syria. About 62% of all migrants that have traveled to Europe this year, however, are men. A little under a quarter, 22%, are children and only 16% are women. The New York Times reported in October the mass exodus of men to parts of Europe could cause problems in both the countries they leave and the countries they enter. The head of the International Organization for Migration in Turkey told the Times: “We know on the positive side that migration can boost economies and trade and lead to cultural exchange … But if it is mismanaged, it becomes a problem for both the receiving states and the countries left behind.”"

Europe's Syrian Refugees -- Why So Many Are Men - "If many of these male migrants are simply traveling alone to spare families they intend to bring to Europe later, it may alleviate one major concern raised by some of the most fervent critics of this population shift, who have bluntly warned of a “Muslim invasion” of fighting-age men into Europe. But a future influx of families could cause another problem, as Zellenberg notes. Europe is already struggling to deal with the financial burden caused by today’s newcomers, who are pouring across European borders at levels not seen since World War II. If the majority of these men plan to bring families later, the current numbers are totally off. Multiply it by four or more, he says."

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Eleanor Roosevelt - "Eleanor's... mother, Anna, seemed to regard her daughter as something of a letdown... 'She told her that she was her greatest embarrassment, that she would end up living in an attic, an old maid because she was so ugly no man would want her'"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Empire of Mali - "It's difficult to say exactly why people took up Islam. It had a certain appeal as a religion with writing. Arabic was the language used by the Berber traders and it was a written language... it also has a quite established set of rules for trading and for fair contracts which would make it appealing for merchants possibly"

Freakonomics » The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast - "GOLDIN: I always say that I do not live in a data vacuum. I find it very hard to breathe in a data vacuum... men and women are significantly more alike in terms of how firms and employers would look at them and how they look at themselves... what we do try to do is hold everything constant that we can hold, get the best data that we can get. And what remains we don’t call discrimination, we call wage discrimination. Discrimination is such a loaded word that we don’t want to use that, so we use quotes around “wage discrimination”... we don’t have tons of evidence that it’s true discrimination... men tend to work somewhat harder. And I know that there are many who have done many experiments on the fact that women don’t necessarily like competition as much as men do — they value temporal flexibility, men value income growth — that there are various differences... [the mommy tax is] a very large factor. That anything that leads you to want to have more time is going to be a large factor.
Maybe some feminists will try and femsplain her

Freakonomics » How to Be Less Terrible at Predicting the Future: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast - "TETLOCK: They’re less likely than ordinary people, regular mortals, to believe in fate, or destiny. And they’re more likely to believe in chance. You roll enough dice enough times and improbable coincidences will occur. Our lives are nothing but a quite improbable series of coincidences. Many people find that a somewhat demoralizing philosophy of life. They prefer to think that their lives have deeper meaning. They don’t like to think that the person to whom they’re married, they could have just as easily have wound up happy with 237,000 other people."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, The Smell of History - "I have seen too many remarkable moments of political change to believe any longer in new dawns. After all the jubilation in Myanmar over the extraordinary sight of Aung San Suu Kyi
being allowed to win an election, now the really hard work begins...
Last year's military coup in Thailand was welcomed by many people. Not just those grateful for an end to the months of political paralysis, but a significant number who believed that elected governments were no longer the answer. 3 months earlier some had even blocked an election there to prevent the party which had won 4 times previously from winning again. They'd taken the contempt for politicians you hear in so many countries to a new level by actually campaigning against democracy. 18 months later, Thailand is floundering... Driving through the streets of Kabul, you see one phrase displayed everywhere...
In English: Kabul, the City of Peace. Ironically, more often than not, it's painted on high walls with barbed wire and armed men standing next to it... then point out how dangerous the journey to Europe is. 'I'd rather die on the way there than in a suicide bombing here' he tells me"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Turkey on Edge - "A popular Saudi actor was mobbed in a shopping mall by Saudi women trying to take selfies with him on their mobile telephones. That got him arrested for mingling with women unrelated to him. On social media, it prompted more than 100,000 responses on Twitter saying that decision was right...
This week police stormed an opposition TV channel live on air, taking it over along with its affiliate newspaper. 2 boys aged 12 and 14 who tore down an Erdogan poster have been arrested, 4 years in prison sought for their alleged crime. The government narrative is all about the terror that Turkey faces. Critics are labelled propagandists for terror. Officials now always couple the PKK with IS. They worked hand in hand, said the Prime Minister, for the Ankara bombing. No matter that they're sworn enemies and collaboration seems inconceivable. By linking them, the government can paint itself as the guarantor of stability, pushing voters to rally behind it, to regain the majority it lost last time...
[He] tells me about the unique multi-ethnic harmony of this tumble-down community. 'We're the only town in Kosovo where there wasn't a single inter-ethnic killing or house-burning either before, during or after the war of 1999', he says dullfully. 'And look what it's brought us. No one visits, no international organisations invest. When the heads of the town's Turkish, Croatian, Albanian and Roma communities met recently, we agreed we should have taken it in turns to complain about ethnic tension. We'd have gotten a lot more support and investment from foreigners'"
Conservatives know how to use Twitter too

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, History's Long Shadow - "[On Sulawesi] It's something of a Bates Motel moment for me. 72 year old Lydia Rattak Barn (sp?) has in fact been dead for 6 months. But it's the Torajan custom to claim that until burial, relatives are simply sleeping, or sick. Mother lies in an open coffin. The Toraja mummify their deceased, and she is well-preserved, having been injected of 4 litres of formalin. Her hair is brushed smooth and her face made up. A neighbour calls by to enquire about Mother's health. 'She's fine', Jehana (sp?) responds cheerfully. 'Just a little tired'. It's all very bizarre... [They] host the deceased before burial, sometimes tor years. The reason internment can take so long is a considerable time is required to gather together the mourners, sometimes thousands of them. And to find the money for the funeral rites. Stinting on a relative's burial is socially unacceptable. 'I know one funeral that cost a million US dollars', says Vandi Amir (sp?), my local Sulawesi guide. 'The Toraja spend more on death than they do on living, and find themselves with a lifetime of debt', he added... 'our funeral customs must continue alongside Christanity' he insists. 'It's what we Toraja are known for. Without these funerals, we would have no cultural identity at all'"

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, A Feast of Fungi - "[On the new generation in South Africa] They mock the idea of a Rainbow Nation, scoff at any suggestion they need white friends and rightly ask why is there more wealth in the hands of whites now than there was back then"

Al Azhar and ISIS: Cause and Effect - "Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University—regularly touted as the world’s most prestigious Islamic university—recently exposed his alma mater in a televised interview... Nasr joins a growing chorus of critics of Al Azhar. Last September, while discussing how the Islamic State burns some of its victims alive—most notoriously, a Jordanian pilot—Egyptian journalist Yusuf al-Husayni remarked on his satellite program that “The Islamic State is only doing what Al Azhar teaches… and the simplest example is Ibn Kathir’s Beginning and End”... Egyptian political writer Dr. Khalid al-Montaser revealed that Al Azhar was encouraging enmity for non-Muslims, specifically Coptic Christians, and even inciting for their murder... The prestigious Islamic university—which co-hosted U.S. President Obama’s 2009 “A New Beginning” speech—has even issued a free booklet dedicated to proving that Christianity is a “failed religion.”

Job ad scams involving male social escorts on the rise - "It was in early January this year when Harry (not his real name) decided to embark on a “social experiment” to research the lifestyles of “sugar mummies”, a term used to describe rich women who pay men for their company. But the 30 year old fell prey to a scam which cost him S$2,500 instead. “I wanted to do this study because nobody has done this before and I wanted to use the study to apply for a research job,” Harry said in a phone interview with Channel NewsAsia. The bachelor, who has a diploma in psychology and works in the private sector, said he did not consult his ex-lecturers before doing this study... police said they received 20 reports from victims - between December last year and February this year - who were allegedly cheated after responding to online ads involving hiring of male social escorts."

Curious tale of the Wall-of-Death hero who buried his lion sidekick outside a rustic villa - "It seems impossible to believe now that anyone might have been able to easily acquire something as exotic as a lion cub. Up until as late as 1976, however, when the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was passed, almost anyone with the money to do so might have placed order via the Harrod's department store an order via the Harrod's department store in Knightsbridge. A short British Pathe newsreel clip from the Thirties helps illustrate the whole incredible story. The clip opens with shots of Marjorie Dare walking a large lamb (actually almost a fully grown sheep) on a lead through a busy Southend street. Subsequent footage shows her swimming in the sea with the creature. There follows footage of her husband parading his lioness around on a lead. The film ends with husband and wife alongside their lioness and lamb, all sat cheerily outdoors together, at a table sharing tea and cakes. Dubbed over the film is an unintentionally hilarious commentary, in the Cholmondley-Warner style of comedian Harry Enfield. The clip allows a window into the recent past, a world so different from our own that it seems almost Monty Pythonesque... With regard to his lioness, who was reportedly, somewhat fierce as a cub, Smith did actually have a contingency plan. In case she should ever turn on him during a performance, he always carried a loaded pistol"
Too bad the lioness wasn't in the Wall of Death sidecar

It takes ZOO to tango: Woman cleared of glassing love rival in party ‘catfight’ - "A MEERKAT expert accused of striking a monkey handler with a wine glass during a row over a llama keeper boyfriend was yesterday cleared of assault.

Tory students lobby for Margaret Thatcher statue - "Student union officials have approved an initial petition to install the 250ft “Iron Lady”, complete with a handbag of “highly polished bronze”. Started by Kent University’s Conservative Society, the petition, states: “The statue would be built in the Greco-Roman style with a design inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes".... Landmarks that would be dwarfed by the Iron Lady include the Statue of Liberty (151ft), Nelson’s Column (170ft), Sydney Opera House (213ft), the O2 Arena (164ft) and Tower Bridge (213ft)."
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