Monday, June 5, 2017

Eye Over Africa

"US has secretly expanded network of drone bases to North Africa" by Adam Entous Washington Post   October 26, 2016

The Pentagon has secretly expanded its global network of drone bases to North Africa, deploying unmanned aircraft and US military personnel to a facility in Tunisia to conduct spy missions in neighboring Libya.

The Air Force Reaper drones began flying out of the Tunisian base in late June and have played a key role in an extended US air offensive against an Islamic State stronghold in neighboring Libya.

Libya has more or less dropped of the war pre$$ radar these days. Same old story. Lies regarding a dictator, the weapon supplies shipped to terrorists in Syria, the Benghazi lies, and the failure(?) of the war in terms of current chaos.

Related: "The United Arab Emirates was shipping weapons to favored belligerents in Libya over the summer in violation of an international arms embargo while simultaneously offering a highly paid job to the UN diplomat drafting a peace accord there, leaked Emirati e-mails show."

Leaks from where, and didn't Trump just award them $2b in weapons?

The Obama administration pressed for access to the Tunisian base as part of a security strategy for the broader Middle East that calls for placing drones and small Special Operations teams at a number of facilities within striking distance of militants who could pose a threat to the West.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an operation that has not been acknowledged, said the drones being flown out of Tunisia were currently unarmed and were principally being used to collect intelligence on Islamic State targets in Sirte, Libya, where the United States has conducted more than 300 airstrikes since August.

Skies must be dark with them. 

Btw, Sirte is supposed to be ISIS but it was the base of the Khadafy resistance -- meaning the ISIS™ label is being attached to an indigenous population that doesn't want us there (think Mosul). In places like Syria they are U.S.-supported regime change mercenaries. 

US officials said they sought access to the air base in Tunisia to close a critical ‘‘blind spot’’ for US and Western intelligence services in North Africa, which has become the Islamic State’s largest base of operations outside Syria and Iraq. The region is also home to Al Qaeda-linked fighters.

Obama administration officials say they have tried to shore up Tunisia’s fledgling democracy and position the country as a key counterterrorism partner in the region. Though the drones operating out of Tunisia currently conduct only surveillance missions, US officials said they could be armed in the future, if Tunisia gives the United States permission. The Tunisian Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

Do they need a regime change?

The US military has other drone bases on the African continent, from Niger to Djibouti. But officials said they were too far from populous areas on the Libyan coast to be useful in day-to-day counterterrorism operations there. The longer drones have to travel to reach their destinations, the less time they have to ‘‘loiter’’ over their targets.

For lethal strikes in Libya, the US military has relied on manned US aircraft based in Europe and armed drones flown out of Naval Air Station Sigonella on the Italian island of Sicily.

Sigonella is relatively close to Sirte, but flights from the base are routinely canceled because of cloud cover over the Mediterranean and other weather-related issues, officials said.

US logistical concerns about using Sigonella and other bases in Europe for operations in North Africa prompted the Pentagon’s push for a facility on Tunisian soil.

The Obama administration has kept its negotiations over access to the base secret for more than a year because of concerns that Tunisia’s young democracy, worried about being closely associated with an outside military power, would pull out of the talks, or that militants would step up attacks in the North African country.

Why tell us now then?

The Islamic State has already claimed a number of attacks in Tunisia over the last two years, including the killing of dozens of foreign tourists at a beach resort in 2015.

Defense officials said the Pentagon has deployed about 70 military personnel to Tunisia to oversee drone operations there.

Tunisia was the Obama administration’s first choice of countries in North Africa to host US drones because of its proximity to Libya and Washington’s interest in rapidly expanding security ties with the government.

But US officials said the negotiations came at a particularly delicate time. Five years after their uprising against dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians have grown increasingly frustrated with many of their post-revolution leaders. This summer, disaffection over the economy and security boiled over, leading to the premier’s ouster.

Tunisian officials negotiating the drone deal were particularly concerned about a public backlash over cooperation with a foreign power and wanted to avoid the appearance that they were a party to US military operations in a neighboring country.

At the same time, Tunisian officials were eager to secure additional US support for their counterterrorism fight at home. Tunisian officials were especially worried that an eventual assault on Islamic State hideouts in Libya could send militants streaming across the border into Tunisia.

The United States was already conducting manned surveillance flights over Tunisia, providing the country’s security forces with intelligence about extremist threats. That program helped smooth the way in Tunis for Washington’s request to base drones there.

US military officials in Washington and Stuttgart, Germany, where Africa Command is based, grew increasingly eager to strike a deal with Tunisia this spring. Opening a drone base there would help clear the way for the long-awaited Sirte operation, they said.

A brazen attack in March on a town near the Libyan border provided proof for some Tunisian officials of why more American help might be required.

Under the memorandum of understanding giving the Pentagon access to the base, the Americans committed to helping build up Tunisia’s intelligence-collection capabilities.

While Tunisia is racing to grow its own aerial surveillance program, with US-manufactured ScanEagles and other light manned surveillance aircraft, the country remains reliant on the United States and other allies for intelligence about militants.

As part of the new arrangements, the Obama administration agreed to share intelligence from the Reapers with Tunisian security forces to help them improve border security. But so far, the United States has made drone flights inside Libya the priority and officials said that is unlikely to change at least until the campaign in Sirte winds down. The battle in Sirte has already lasted far longer than US officials had expected, as effective Islamic State defenses and repercussions from Libya’s political crisis slow the advance of local forces backed by US air power.

The United States’ second military intervention in Libya in five years has underscored the challenge that the Obama administration has faced getting even close NATO allies such as Italy to open their bases to armed US drones.

While US surveillance drones have been based in Sigonella since 2011, the Italian government refused to give the US military permission to fly armed drones out of the base until earlier this year, citing concerns about sparking an antiwar backlash at home.

Desperate to fill the intelligence void over Libya, the United States briefly had to use drones based in faraway Jordan.

The Obama administration had considered opening backup talks with Egypt about putting a drone base there to support operations in Libya. But US officials said those talks were never initiated.

Egypt did bomb them for us within the last week.


RelatedThousands left Tunisia to join ISIS. Now the worry is their return

Authorities were prepared for that:

"Tunisia deploys army amid protests over jobs, corruption" Associated Press  May 11, 2017

TUNIS — Tunisia’s president is deploying the army to protect petroleum and phosphate facilities amid growing demonstrations over unemployment and corruption.

Also Wednesday, Tunisian police fired tear gas on protesters after a vendor tried to set himself on fire.

While the incident appeared to be quickly contained, the self-immolation recalled a similar desperate act by a vendor that unleashed Tunisia’s 2010-2011 revolution and subsequent uprisings around the Arab world.

President Beji Caid Essebsi took the unusual step of deploying the army, announcing in Tunis that ‘‘the state must protect the people’s resources’’ after protests in impoverished inland provinces in recent weeks.

Sit-ins and other demonstrations have blocked roads and notably led to a halt in production at oil and phosphate facilities.

After extremist attacks and political violence in recent years, Tunisia is in a prolonged state of emergency.

The protesters are desperate for job opportunities and better living conditions in inland regions blighted by poverty in comparison with richer coastal cities...

Hey, as long as the drones are flying.



Meanwhile, next door in Libya:

"Since the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has slid into chaos. The country is divided between an Islamist-backed government in Tripoli and the internationally recognized government in Tobruk. The area near Benghazi has seen continued fighting. Last week, eight Libyan soldiers were killed during an attack by Islamic militants southwest of Benghazi." 

The trick is the U.S. is behind both of them!

"The bodies of 40 migrants from a capsized boat washed ashore in Libya on Saturday. The Red Crescent said 27 of the bodies were found at the town of Zliten, east of the capital, Tripoli. The rest were found along the shores of Tripoli and the nearby town of Khoms. Officials said most of the migrants were from sub-Saharan countries. Search efforts are underway for another 30 migrants who are believed to have been on the boat."

I haven't been in Libya since I don't know how long; however, I see they are seeking aid against terrorists even as UN talks are suspended and they are under attack. The bodies keep washing ashore (be better off taking a plane):

"Two Libyan hijackers diverted a domestic flight to the Mediterranean island of Malta on Friday to demand asylum in Europe and create a new political party in honor of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, officials said. After hours of negotiations, the standoff ended peacefully with the hijackers freeing all 117 people on board and walking off the plane to surrender...."

Why would they want to go to Malta?

"340 migrants dead, missing in recent wrecks" Associated Press  November 17, 2016

MILAN — About 340 migrants have died or are missing after four Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks in the past three days, adding to the toll in the deadliest year on record for asylum-seekers risking the dangerous voyage to Europe, a migration organization said Thursday.

The shipwreck causalities bring to more than 4,500 the number of migrants who have died or disappeared crossing the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration figures. The total compares with the 3,770 people reported dead or missing last year, the previous record.

The group said Thursday the death toll is rising as smugglers force departures despite rough, winter seas.

‘‘What is shocking is the cruelty,’’ Flavio Di Giacomo, Italy spokesman for the organization, said. Di Giacomo said traffickers care little if the migrants make it alive. ‘‘Once you pay, you can’t go back,’’ he said. 

Long ago there was talk of the European powers patrolling like they do the Horn of Africa and keeping the boats from leaving, but the refugee boats still keep coming.

The count from the recent shipwrecks was based partly on the rescue overnight by Doctors without Borders of 27 migrants. The impossibility of recovering bodies of migrants lost at sea means that humanitarian organizations must rely on the accounts of survivors to tally the number believed drowned....

Meaning they don't really know the #s.


Okay, back to forming a democratic government:

Unity government selected for Libya

Not elected?

Libyan rivals asked to OK unity plan

They signed the deal, and the photo was a preview of the stage at the 2016 Republican convention in Cleveland -- before the unity was shattered and the oil fields lit on fire.

"Libya’s internationally recognized Parliament on Monday rejected a UN-sponsored unity government with rival authorities, dealing a blow to months of efforts aimed at bridging a political divide that has undermined the fight against Islamic militants."

I see a fourth reason why free and fair elections are history.

EU appeals for Libyan unity government
Libyan parliaments sign peace deal

Too late!

Thus, without allies, John Kerry urged action in Libya and Obama was pressed to open another military front (which he did with a barrage of airstrikes). Those US airstrikes were followed by major gains on the ground as the new government was ready to take power with a new prime minister.

With ISIS on the run and U.S. troops stationed at two outposts since 2015 (that's called occupation), the U.S. expanded sanctions in the face of suicide bombs as the insurgents fell back to "Sirte, the only IS-held city outside Syria and Iraq, and a fallback option for the capital of its self-styled caliphate."

That lead to "the United States bombing targets in and around the Libyan city of Sirte, a notable expansion of the US-led coalition’s military mission against the Islamic State," striking the stronghold for first time as ground forces moved in to drive ISIS out of Sirte and towards Tripoli and Benghazi.

"U.S. stealth bombers strike Islamic State fighters in Libya" by Thomas Gibbons-Neff The Washington Post News Service  January 19, 2017

A flight of US B-2 stealth bombers struck Islamic State targets southwest of the Libyan city of Surt on Monday, less than a month after the Pentagon declared an end to an extended air campaign there.

They obviously were not serious.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement that the aircraft hit two Islamic State encampments about 30 miles outside Surt and that the outposts were inhabited by some of the fighters who had fled the city in the fall. The operation was approved by President Obama, Cook said.

‘‘While we are still evaluating the results of the strikes, the initial assessment indicates they were successful,’’ he said. ‘‘The United States remains prepared to further support Libyan efforts to counter terrorist threats and to defeat [the Islamic State] in Libya.’’

A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational details, said that drones also participated in the strikes and that ‘‘several dozen’’ Islamic State fighters were thought to have been killed. The camps were in remote desert locations, and the official said no civilians were believed to have been hit in the bombardment.

Surt was described as the capital of the Islamic State’s Libyan caliphate by the extremist group less than a year ago. US aircraft began pounding the city with airstrikes in August in an effort to support Libyan government ground forces.


RelatedICC: Libya will be top priority in 2017 including extremists

As African nations are abandoning it!

US won’t seek death penalty against Benghazi suspect

Wasn't he tortured in international waters?

"An Indian nurse and her infant son have been killed in a rocket attack on their apartment in a town near the Libyan capital, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said Saturday. It was not immediately clear who fired Friday on Sunu Sathyan’s home. Sathyan worked in a hospital in Zawiya. The 26 other Indians working at the hospital have been asked to leave the area (AP)."

Time to get out of Libya:

"The UN refugee agency says that survivors of a shipwreck off Libya have reported at least seven people, including three children, died when the small wooden boat carrying 27 people, mostly Syrian refugees, capsized. A Spanish aid group recovered five bodies, including two Syrian children, during the rescue Thursday."

Libya’s navy says 90 migrants perished after boat fell apart

"Survivors said as many as 240 people died in two shipwrecks off Libya, the UN refugee agency reported Thursday, bringing this year’s toll to more than 4,220 migrants dead or missing in risky Mediterranean Sea crossings, the highest count on record. In both cases, most people on board appeared to have been sub-Saharan Africans...."

"Migrants face abuses in Libya even before they risk death at sea" by Sudarsan Raghavan Washington Post  March 04, 2017

CAIRO — The number of bodies washing up on Libyan shores is escalating as the refugee crisis worsens. But migrants also are facing perils even before they step into a boat.

That's three months ago, yeah.

On Thursday alone, the Italian Coast Guard reported that about 970 people were rescued off the Libyan coast. Since January, more than 13,400 have landed on Italy’s shores, roughly a 50 percent increase over the same period last year.

‘‘Judging by the increase in the number of trips made by migrants, we can affirm that the crisis has worsened this year,’’ said Mohammed al-Mosrati, a spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent. ‘‘This is all because of the intolerable economic, security, and political conditions faced by those migrants in their countries.’’

The deaths this year include at least 74 migrants whose bodies washed ashore last month on a beach near the city of Zawiyah in western Libya. More than 4,500 people drowned last year on the smuggling routes between Libya and Italy — a record number, according to the European border-management agency Frontex. The United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that 700 of the victims were children.


Also see: Bodies of 74 Migrants Wash Up on Libyan Coast

‘‘The Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe is among the world’s deadliest and most dangerous migrant routes for children and women,’’ Afshan Khan, a senior UNICEF official working on migrant and refugee issues, said in a statement last week. ‘‘The route is mostly controlled by smugglers, traffickers, and other people seeking to prey upon desperate children and women who are simply seeking refuge or a better life.’’

Those would be the assisting NGOs backed by Soros money.

Efforts by European nations to close the migrant sea routes between Greece and Turkey are believed to have played a role in the growing flows to Italy from Libya, particularly from its western shorelines, which are less than 200 miles from the Italian coast.

Smugglers are increasingly packing migrants into smaller, weaker boats to make more money, according to Frontex, adding that it expects drownings to increase this year as a result.

Meanwhile, children and women are routinely becoming targets of sexual violence and other abuses along the route from Northern Africa to Italy, UNICEF warned in a report last week. During the journey, many end up in crowded detention centers in Libya, where they often also are denied access to medical care and legal assistance, and endure poor sanitation and a lack of nutritious food.

Doesn't the U.N. already have a problem, there have been reports of refugee rapes all across Europe. Beyond that, how are the financially-strapped citizens of Europe supposed to pick up all these costs?

Some detention centers are run by Libya’s UN-backed government, while others are controlled by armed militias. Three-quarters of children interviewed said that adults had beaten or harassed them. Nearly half the women surveyed said they had been raped or sexually abused.

The multibillion-dollar smuggling networks thrive on the chaos that has followed the ouster and death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gahdafi during the 2011 populist uprising, a chapter of the Arab Spring revolutions that swept the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Oh, THANK YOU, Obummer!!!!! 

What gall the pre$$ has to call that regime change a populist uprising, although that is apparently another of their covers to install some lackey.

That chaos shows no sign of disappearing. The oil-producing nation is riven by militias competing for oil, territory, and influence. There are three competing governments, all of which say they are the legitimate authority in the country. Different regions are controlled by rival militias who make their own laws and regulations, control border crossings, and exploit migrants at will.

That has brought obstacles for the Libyan Red Crescent and other humanitarian aid agencies. ‘‘The fact that there are multiple authorities in Libya requires that we get permissions from different ones to even be able to perform our jobs,’’ said al-Mosrati. ‘‘It is crippling us.’’

The Libyan Red Crescent is already hard-pressed for funding and resources, and runs itself largely with a volunteer force to assist migrants, said al-Mosrati. ‘‘The crisis will keep on worsening so long as there is no aid to humanitarian groups to face these challenges and provide the needed help to the migrants,’’ he said....

At least there is no famine.


Also see:

Aid group fears hundreds of migrants drowned off Libya

Italian forces ignored a sinking ship full of Syrian refugees and let more than 250 drown, says leaked audio

"Almost two shiploads of migrants, 245 in total, were feared dead in wrecks in the Mediterranean Sea, United Nations officials said on Tuesday. The death toll represents a major increase in an already grim tally this year. More than 1,300 people are now estimated to have died so far this year while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, most while trying to reach Italy from Libya or Tunisia, according to the International Organization for Migration. Last year, 5,098 people died that way. The two recent shipwrecks occurred on Friday and Sunday, though details about the extent of the loss of life were not released until Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people — 43,000 so far this year — continue to brave treacherous waters to try to reach Italy. It has become the major route for people fleeing war and poverty in North or West Africa, and in some cases farther east. In contrast, the flow of migrants across the Aegean Sea, from Turkey to Greece, has significantly slowed — though not entirely stopped — since Turkey and the European Union reached a deal in March 2016 to try to contain it...."


After Earthquake in Italy, ‘Half the Town No Longer Exists’
Hopes dim for survivors of Italy quake; death toll at 250
Aftershocks shake central Italy as search for earthquake victims continues
Italian officials fear negligence raised quake toll
Quake survivors erupt in anger at funeral plan; government relents

"Italy has a long history of organized crime and corrupt builders infiltrating public works contracts, especially those earmarked for reconstruction after natural disasters. ‘‘Earthquakes don’t kill. What kills the most is the work of man,’’ Rieti Bishop Domenico Pompili told the weeping crowds gathered in the shadow of Amatrice’s ruins for the funeral Mass for some of the 292 victims."

Prosecutors have opened an investigation.

Powerful earthquake hits an already rattled Italy
Italian quake survivors resist relocation

The Pope was in Sweden at the time.

Stream of quakes upends a way of life in Italian city

They frack over there, too?

"Is hydraulic fracturing safe, as the oil and gas industry claims? Or does the controversial drilling technique known as fracking contaminate drinking water, as environmental groups and other critics charge? After six years and more than the $29 million, the Environmental Protection Agency says it doesn’t know...." 

It does, they just can't tell you for the obviou$ rea$ons.

"Migrants protest conditions at 2 asylum centers in Italy" Associated Press  January 04, 2017

ROME — Italian police early Tuesday quelled a protest by occupants of a migrant center near Venice that left fearful workers at the center barricaded inside offices.

Carabinieri paramilitary police in Chioggia, about 45 miles east of the Cona migrant center, said the protest ended peacefully after a few hours.

Some migrants told Italian television they were protesting the alleged delay in medical assistance Monday for an ill 25-year-old woman from Ivory Coast. She died shortly after an ambulance arrived.

The Italian news agency ANSA quoted a Venice prosecutor as saying an autopsy found a pulmonary blood clot caused the woman’s death.

Italian state radio said 25 workers locked themselves inside offices when the migrants allegedly set fires outside the center. No one was reported injured, and the protest ended after police intervened.

The migrant center in a former military barracks houses more than 1,000 asylum seekers, many of them Africans who arrived in Italy after paying migrant smugglers for perilous journeys from Libya on unseaworthy, overcrowded fishing boats or dinghies.

Il Sole-24 Ore radio said that before the unrest, the center’s management was being investigated for allegations of fraud and maltreatment.

Cona, a town of some 3,000 residents, is one of many Italian locations hosting migrants while asylum requests are processed. Later Tuesday, a group of asylum seekers in Verona, also in northeast Italy, overturned trash bins and briefly blocked traffic to protest the poor conditions at the center where they are being housed.

In Spain, officials said guards on the border of Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in North Africa, recently detained one Moroccan suspected of attempting to smuggle migrants concealed in a suitcase and another suspected of hiding migrants in a car.

Customs agents found a 19-year-old migrant from Gabon hidden in a suitcase pushed on a trolley by a woman who tried to cross the land border from Morocco on Dec. 30, said a spokesman for the Guardia Civil in Ceuta.

The 22-year-old Moroccan woman raised suspicions by trying to avoid security checks. When officials asked her to open the luggage, they found the man curled up in the poorly ventilated space.

On Monday, border police found two more migrants hidden in false compartments built into a car arriving from Morocco. The migrants, both from Guinea, were found when the vehicle was stopped for an inspection as it entered Ceuta. 

It's like the Mexican border over there.

In a separate development Tuesday, Germany’s interior minister proposed a security shake-up that could include creating ‘‘federal departure centers’’ to ease the deportation of rejected asylum-seekers and centralizing the country’s domestic intelligence agency.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere’s suggestions in a guest article in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung followed last month’s attack on a Berlin Christmas market....

Then it happened in Israel.


"Italy may require asylum seekers to do community service" by Anna Momigliano Washington Post   January 25, 2017

MILAN — The plan is drawing criticism from all directions. Some experts believe the plan is unconstitutional, while refugee advocates have accused Interior Minister Marco Minniti of trying to exploit refugee labor. Iside Gjergji, a columnist at progressive newspaper Il Fatto, accused Minniti of trying to turn asylum seekers into ‘‘an army of free laborers.’’

Italy is expected to spend $4 billion on refugees in 2017. That’s only a fraction of what Germany, Europe’s largest host of refugees, is spending. But the cost of asylum seekers has become a hot-button issue as conservative politicians and media outlets depict refugees as freeloaders who divert resources from poor Italian families.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigration Northern League party, falsely accused Italy’s progressive government of ‘‘hosting foreigners in luxurious villas while Italians are freezing in the winter cold.’’ Right-wing newspapers regularly feature misleading articles claiming that asylum seekers are living in four-star hotels. Even if they are untrue, such stories resonate in a country where the number of citizens living below the poverty line has risen sharply, from 3 percent to almost 8 percent in the past decade....

Look who is flipping talking!



"Italy, northern neighbors work with Libya on migration" Associated Press  March 20, 2017

ROME — Italy and its northern neighbors agreed Monday to work with Libya to help implement a new accord to better patrol Libya’s coasts and stop smugglers from setting off with their human cargo.

Interior ministers from a half-dozen countries agreed to form a formal contact group on migration, as rescue ships brought to Italy’s southern shores some of the estimated 3,000 migrants rescued over the weekend on the Mediterranean.

Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti invited counterparts from France, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Austria — as well as Germany and Malta.

In a separate development Monday, Hungary’s defense minister inaugurated a small military base on the country’s southern border for soldiers patrolling to prevent the entry of migrants.


Also seeAnti-immigrant rally turns violent

Then the ground shook again:

"As many as 30 people were missing after an avalanche barreled into a mountainside hotel in central Italy, civil protection officials said Thursday, a day after four earthquakes struck the region, which has been hit hard in recent months. The latest seismic activity, which prompted officials to close schools and the subway system in Rome as a precaution, shifted the nation’s attention back to areas in central Italy that were devastated by a series of temblors last year, leading to criticism that victims had been left to fend for themselves...."


At least 10 survivors found at hotel destroyed by avalanche in Italy
6th body found in Italian hotel buried by avalanche
Hungary says identifying 16 bus crash victims could take days
Three puppies found alive after Italy avalanche

"First came zucchini and eggplant shortages. Then iceberg lettuce disappeared from European grocery shelves. Now erratic weather in Spain and Italy is rippling through global olive oil markets, and it’s about to get worse as olive oil prices jump because of weather in Spain, Italy...." 

It's the below-average temperatures! 

So how the peach crop over there?

"Thousands of Italian taxi drivers protesting legislation they say will favor Uber clashed with riot police Tuesday, intensifying a weeklong cab strike that has crippled transportation in Rome, Milan, and Turin. The cabbies marched through Rome and protested in front of Parliament, at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party, and finally at the infrastructure ministry, where officials were meeting with union representatives to try to work out a settlement. The six-day strike has stranded tourists at Italy’s main airports and train stations, complicated daily commutes, and raised alarms about Wednesday’s start of Milan Fashion Week, when cabs are in high demand to shuttle fashionistas from show to show." 

That's the first and last time I saw anything about it in the Globe.

Time to face the music:

"A judge on Saturday ordered Silvio Berlusconi to be tried on corruption charges, damping the former Italian premier’s hopes of running for office again after being sidelined by a tax-fraud conviction. Judge Carlo Ottone De Marchi set the trial to begin April 5 in Milan. The former three-time premier is accused of having shelled out millions of dollars plus expensive gifts to some 20 young women who attended parties at his Milan villa (AP)."

Yeah, remember him?

Italian leader quits after losing constitutional referendum
Italy’s foreign minister will try to form a new government
Draghi, Renzi hacked in email cyber-spying attacks

Those articles were way overdue.

So what else is there to see in Africa?



"Burundi lawmakers vote to withdraw from ICC; would be 1st" Associated Press  October 13, 2016

KIGALI, Rwanda — Lawmakers in Burundi voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to support a plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, something no country has ever done.

So they were the first, and I gotta tell you, bad things have happened to African leaders that have done that.

The decision escalates a bitter dispute with the international community over the human rights situation in the East African country, which has seen more than a year of deadly violence after President Pierre Nkurunziza made a controversial decision to pursue a third term.

No state has withdrawn from the court, according to the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a nonprofit that supports the court’s work. The court prosecutes cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. 

Except it doesn't try western war criminals like Bush, Bliar, Obama, the Israelis, etc, etc. It seems to only go after tinpot African dictators that those same powers used and double-crossed, save for the tokens of recalcitrant Serbs and the Khmer Rouge Cambodians.

Some African countries have threatened a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the court, accusing it of disproportionately targeting the continent.

Only Africans have been charged in the six cases that are ongoing or about to begin.

Burundi’s decision is not immediate. Observers say a country wanting to withdraw must write to the UN secretary general stating its intention, and the withdrawal takes effect a year after the day the secretary general receives the letter....

Takes four years to withdrawal from the Paris accords.


And like I said, you do something like that and.....

"Burundi’s environment minister slain" New York Times   January 01, 2017

LONDON — Burundi’s environment minister was shot to death while en route home from a New Year’s celebration early Sunday, an act that could exacerbate the country’s nearly two-year-long political crisis.

Emmanuel Niyonkuru, 54, the minister for water, environment, and planning, was shot to death around 12:45 a.m. while returning to his home in the Rohero section of Bujumbura, the capital, according to a statement by Pierre Nkurikiye, a spokesman for the national police.

Nkurikiye said a woman who was with the minister had been detained for questioning, along with two security guards.

President Pierre Nkurunziza called the killing an “assassination” and said on Twitter: “Condolences to the family and to all Burundians. This crime will not go unpunished.”

Violent protests broke out after April 2015, when Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term, even though the constitution limits the president to two five-year terms. The constitutional court ruled that his first term did not count, since he had been elected by members of Parliament and not directly by voters.

The president went on to win a new term, in an election that most of his rivals boycotted and that US and European observers described as neither fair nor free.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the violence, which has displaced an estimated 300,000 people.

The United Nations has warned of summary executions and other crimes that might amount to crimes against humanity — an assertion that Nkurunziza has rejected. In October, Burundi moved to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, the Hague-based tribunal responsible for investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first country to do so.

Amid the violence, Nkurunziza on Friday threatened to pull out almost 5,500 troops contributing to the African Union mission in Somalia. He cited nearly a year of unpaid allowances for the soldiers, in another sign of tensions with the force’s largest donor, the European Union.

They are not paying the soldiers?

You don't win wars that way.


It's the same in See South Africa (more on them below), Gambia (he was allowed to loot the nation as part of the deal to leave), and now the Philippines.



"Thousands flock to Cameroon hospitals in search of relatives" Associated Press  October 23, 2016

YAOUNDE, Cameroon — Thousands of Cameroonians flocked to hospitals in the country’s two main cities on Sunday in search of remains and survivors after an overloaded train derailed Friday, killing more than 70 people and injuring 600.

The accident happened in Eseka, about 175 miles west of Yaounde, which doesn’t have adequate facilities and is difficult to access by road because of landslides caused by heavy rains.

Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma said that security services were immediately mobilized to help the victims, but officials had to wait until Saturday for railway workers to remove the wreckage in order to evacuate the injured, officials said.

President Paul Biya of Cameroon declared Monday a national day of mourning....




Hundreds detained, 3 dead in Gabon election protests

"Ghana’s newly elected president, Nana Akufo-Addo, was sworn into office Saturday in a peaceful handoff of power that stood out in a region facing political crises. Thousands of people gathered in Accra’s Independence Square to witness the swearing in of Akufo-Addo and Mahamudu Bawumia, his vice president. Akufo-Addo, 72, a former attorney general and foreign minister, won the Dec. 7 election on his third run for Ghana’s highest office. Ghana stands as a democratic model in West Africa. It has seen peaceful transitions since the country moved to democratic rule in 1992 (AP)."

RelatedIn Ghana, he’s royalty. In Worcester, he’s just Harry.

Good thing he isn't in France:

"Son of Equatorial Guinea’s president on trial in France" Associated Press  January 02, 2017

PARIS — After years of investigation, France on Monday put the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea on trial for corruption, charged with spending many millions in state funds to fund an opulent lifestyle of fast cars, designer clothes, works of art, and high-end real estate.

But the defendant, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, in the first of several planned trials of foreign figures allegedly thriving on ill-gotten gains, was absent and his lawyers sought a postponement to better prepare their case.

It was not immediately clear if the court would grant the delay.

Obiang, who is also Equatorial Guinea’s second vice president, faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of corruption, money laundering, and embezzlement.

Obiang’s lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, argued that he was not given a ‘‘reasonable delay’’ to prepare a defense for his client’s actions spanning 14 years and that the trial date notification was sent to a Paris address, though his client lives at the presidential palace in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.

Marsigny told the court his client “is not a big-time bandit’’ and just wants his rights respected.

William Bourdon, a lawyer for Representing Transparency International, which helped bring the case, accused the defense of trying to paralyze the judicial system through a series of ‘‘opportunistic’’ and ‘‘malicious’’ maneuvers.

Obiang’s trial came after two nongovernmental organizations targeting corruption and an association of Congolese citizens living abroad launched a lawsuit in France nearly 10 years ago against leaders in nearly a half-dozen African countries, including the late Gabon president Omar Bongo.

The suit charged that the leaders used state funds during or after their tenures to buy properties and luxury goods in France.

He helped the economy.

According to court documents, Obiang allegedly used millions of dollars in public money — much of it in cash — to stay in luxury Parisian palaces and later purchased a mansion located on one of the French capital’s most sought-after avenues.

The defense said the acquisition serves as Equatorial Guinea’s embassy, and the International Court of Justice ruled that France must treat the Paris mansion as Equatorial Guinea’s diplomatic mission — but gave the green light for the trial, despite Obiang’s claims of diplomatic immunity.

Obiang allegedly bought up to 15 cars in France for $6 million and once splashed millions at an arts auction.

It's a $port, if you will.


The elite cla$$ is all the $ame no matter what color or gender. 

All a bunch of worms (with all due respect and apologies to worms):

"World is closer than ever to eradicating Guinea worm" by Shayla Love Washington Post  August 20, 2016

WASHINGTON — A year ago, when former president Jimmy Carter told the world he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, he announced a dying wish: He wanted the last Guinea worm to die before he did. Carter was referring to a parasite that plagued 3.5 million people across 21 African countries as recently as 1986.

Today Carter’s cancer is in remission, and Guinea worm infections have never been rarer. Last year, there were 22 cases in four countries. This year, so far, there have been only seven human cases. If the global eradication program, led by the Carter Center, succeeds, Guinea worm will be only the second human disease in history to be eradicated, after small pox.

But the final stage of an eradication program can be the most difficult. The biggest obstacle is that Guinea worm is infecting not just people but also dogs. Ending the disease in both humans and dogs may be necessary before Carter, now 91 years old, can see his wish fulfilled.

Guinea worms infections are rarely fatal, but they are devastating. The parasites are transmitted to people who drink water infested with water fleas that have eaten Guinea worm larvae. The larvae burrow through the person’s intestine and into the layer of tissue beneath the skin, where male and female worms mate.

The male Guinea worm dies, but the female worm incubates in a person’s body for a year, where it grows three to five feet long. It forms a horribly painful and itchy blister until it erupts through the flesh of the legs, arms or even chest.

People suffering from Guinea worm are exhausted and in agony. It can take weeks to slowly extract the worm. Among the Yoruba people in southwest Nigeria, there is an expression: ‘‘The guinea worm has knocked him down.’’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started an initiative to combat guinea worm in 1980. In 1986, the Carter Center began leading the program along with the CDC, and the World Health Assembly formally targeted Guinea worm for global eradication.

There is no vaccine for Guinea worm, because the parasite induces no immune response. Someone who caught Guinea worm from contaminated water one year could get infected again the next year.

The program combines surveillance in remote and often war-torn areas with seemingly simple measures such as water filtration, water treatment, rewards for notifying health workers of infection, and education programs. The results are stunning: There were fewer than 10,000 cases in 2007, 542 in 2012, and the cases kept dropping until they reached low number of seven reported this year.

But the parasite is more elusive than experts first realized.

In 2010, Chad reported a human case of Guinea worm-even though the country had been free of reported human infections for 10 years. Members of the Guinea worm eradication programs were very concerned.

‘‘We knew from past experience, if we missed any cases in a year, the potential is that a single case could walk into a village and contaminate a pond and give rise to 80 or more cases the next year,’’ Hopkins said. ‘‘That was the fear.’’

But the numbers didn’t take off. Since 2010, the number of people infected per year has ranged from nine to 14.

‘‘Each year it was different people in different villages, in villages that didn’t have Guinea worm the year before,’’ said Mark Eberhard, a researcher at the CDC. ‘‘Honestly, we couldn’t really explain it.’’

Two years after the mysterious human infection, dogs were found with Guinea worm in Chad. Canine infections had been reported in the past, but never in large numbers. Now dog infections are rising in Chad, with more than 600 this year. Eberhard thinks dogs are somehow spreading Guinea worm to people.

During a trip to Chad this summer, Eberhard collected samples of various animals a dog might eat and will test infected dogs for traces of those animals. If the dogs with Guinea worm were eating the same food, it could provide clues to how the worms are spreading.

David Molyneux, a member of the eradication commission, said ‘‘with eradication programs, make sure you are ready for surprises. I’m not suggesting for a minute that this hasn’t been a fantastically successful public health program. It certainly has. And it’s a model, but it shows you how difficult actual eradication is.’’


"Armyworm invasion threatens Africa’s crops" by FARAI MUTSAKA Associated Press  February 15, 2017

HARARE, Zimbabwe — An invasion of armyworms is stripping southern Africa of key food crops and could spread to other parts of the continent, experts warned Tuesday at an emergency meeting of 16 African nations.

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia are among the countries where the fall armyworm has invaded fields of maize, a staple crop throughout the region.

The fall armyworm is a new threat in southern Africa. It is mostly associated with the Americas, where it has been since 1957, said David Phiri, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization coordinator for the region.

The pest is devastating to crops and has been impossible to eradicate.

‘‘They have not managed to control it because it keeps evolving,’’ Phiri said. ‘‘But we have to find a plan for managing it.’’

Food insecurity will worsen without a solution, he said.

South Africa’s agriculture ministry this month said little was known about how the armyworms arrived or what their long-term effects will be. ‘‘It may become a migratory pest similarly to the African armyworm and may migrate in large numbers from one area to another, causing great damage.’’

Affected crops also include sorghum, soybeans, groundnuts, and potatoes, the ministry said.

The region already has been struggling with what the United Nations has called its worst drought in more than three decades.


They need a ‘magical’ solution.

If you are still hungry..... 

See: Lunch Break

Also see:

"Google Inc. is scaling up investment in Africa by laying fiber optic cable, easing access to cheaper Android phones and training a workforce in digital skills as the US technology giant seeks to expand on the continent. “We laid about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of fiber in Uganda and we are busy doing about 1,000 kilometers in Ghana,’’ Google’s South Africa head Luke McKend said in a phone interview. “We want to make sure that we cover all the bases. We want to train people and make sure that they have the devices and are able to connect to the Internet.’’ About 1 million people in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have been trained by Google over the past year, yet many had to complete their courses with limited internet access due to unreliable coverage and high data prices, McKend said. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is now turning its attention to Web-focused skills training for small businesses across Africa."



"Military unrest, gunfire paralyze city areas in Ivory Coast" Associated Press  May 15, 2017

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Gunfire and continued threats by mutinous soldiers in several cities in Ivory Coast led banks, schools, and businesses to close Monday amid fears of fighting.

Former rebels who joined the army and are demanding bonuses shot gunfire into the air, taking over strategic parts of Yamoussoukro, San-Pedro, Bouake, and Abidjan.

The army chief of staff said a military operation was in progress to combat the soldiers, specifically in their stronghold, Bouake. On Sunday, he had called on them to disarm, and said those who continue to threaten civilians and defy authorities will face disciplinary action.

Violence by some of the soldiers involved in a January mutiny demanding higher pay began Friday, a day after Ivorian TV broadcast their colleagues meeting with the president and dropping their demand for bonuses that have not been paid.

One person was killed Sunday when the mutinous soldiers used guns to disperse residents protesting their violence in Bouake.

The soldiers are former rebels who helped put President Alassane Ouattara in power after his predecessor refused to leave office after losing the 2010 election. They were integrated into the army and represent some 8,400 soldiers in Ivory Coast’s army.

That was a U.N.-backed force that installed him, and they never paid the opposition after incorporating them?

In January their mutiny led to an agreement to pay them bonuses, but they haven’t yet received the full settlements.

In a separate development Monday, South Africa’s political opposition mounted its latest challenge to President Jacob Zuma, saying in court that a parliamentary vote of no confidence should be by secret ballot.

Opposition lawyers argued for the measure at the Constitutional Court in the belief that disgruntled lawmakers in the ruling party could turn against Zuma if their votes are not publicly disclosed and they have less fear of reprisals from his loyalists.

Baleka Mbete, the National Assembly speaker and a member of the ruling African National Congress, has said parliamentary rules don’t allow a secret ballot.

The scandal-plagued president has survived past votes of no confidence in the Parliament, although more ruling party members are speaking out against him.

I wish they would Zuma through an impeachment.




"Conservationist Gallmann shot in Kenya" by Tom Odula Associated Press  April 23, 2017

NAIROBI — This East African nation faces a drought that has affected half of the country and has been declared a national disaster.

Herders, whose livelihoods depend on cattle, and large-scale farmers in parts of Kenya’s Rift Valley have been desperately waiting for seasonal rains that were to start last month to ease the drought, as well as conflicts over grazing land in which more than 30 people have died.

Kenya’s military and police have been working to disarm and drive the hundreds of herders and their animals out of ranches they’ve invaded, but the actions appear to have escalated violence. When the military and police drive herders from one ranch, they move into another, the farmers’ association said.

The association has accused politicians campaigning for the August elections of inciting the herders to invade the ranches, saying the owners’ leases have come to an end and that herders can take over the land and distribute it among themselves.

Land is what most wars are fought over.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga said ranch owners deserve protection under the law like all Kenyans, citing “apparent helplessness of the government that is clearly unable or unwilling to bring these attacks to a stop.’’

Another reason they recalled the troops from Somalia?


Also see:

"Eight Kenyan police officers were killed when their vehicles ran over improvised bombs in two separate incidents near the border with Somalia, officials said Wednesday. The deaths came a day after Kenya’s police chief Joseph Boinnet announced that Al Shabab extremists based in Somalia were stepping up attacks inside the country. He said the group is under pressure from African Union troops supporting Somalia’s government, which recently declared a new offensive against the extremists....."



"The worst tropical cyclone in 13 years to strike Madagascar may push up already record prices for vanilla beans that are used to flavor everything from cafe lattes to ice cream. The storm that killed at least 78 people in the Indian Ocean island nation last week may have damaged as much as 30 percent of the crop, according to David van der Walde, director at Aust & Hachmann Canada Ltd., the world’s oldest vanilla company. The vanilla market, worth about $1.3 billion a year at current prices, was already tight after output slipped and quality suffered over the past two years in Madagascar, which accounts for more than three quarters of global supply. Prices have doubled in a little over a year to more than $500 a kilogram."

You will have to order chocolate ice cream then.

"Malawi asks where president has gone; nearly a month away" Associated Press  October 13, 2016

LILONGWE, Malawi — Malawi’s president has been out of the country for almost a month, prompting demands for him to explain what critics call his ‘‘absence without leave.’’

As rumors of a health crisis grew, the state announced this week that President Peter Mutharika will return home Sunday, a month after he departed for the United States.

Mutharika addressed a UN gathering of world leaders in late September. His press secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, said only that he has been attending to ‘‘various government businesses.’’

Malawi’s Parliament now wants the president to disclose all expenses incurred on his tour.

The government has denied rumors that Mutharika is critically ill."

Still no sign of him.

"3 Mali Islamic extremist groups merge, pledge loyalty to Al Qaeda" by Carley Petesch Associated Press  March 03, 2017

DAKAR, Senegal — Three Islamic extremist factions in Mali announced that they have merged into one group and pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda’s leader, according to a group that monitors jihadist websites.

Leaders from Ansar Dine, al-Mourabitoun, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb made the official declaration in a video distributed Thursday, according to SITE Intelligence Group. The merged group is now called ‘‘Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen,’’ which in English translates to ‘‘Support of Islam and Muslims,’’ the monitoring group said.

That means it's a false flag BS hoax.

Iyad Ag Ghaly, the former leader of Ansar Dine who is a native of the Kidal region, is leading the combined group, SITE Intelligence Group said.

Islamic extremists linked to Al Qaeda took over northern Mali in 2012, exploiting a power vacuum after mutinous soldiers overthrew the president.


Related: International court issues war crime conviction for destruction of Timbuktu antiquities

In absentia. 

"Moroccan police have arrested a man who allegedly served as a liaison between the Islamic State and members of a French cell dismantled last month, the state-run MAP news agency reported Saturday. The suspect allegedly met on the Turkish-Syrian border with ISIS emissaries who provided instructions that were to be communicated to the group in France. He then was to travel to France with a false passport, officials said (AP)."

Kind of melts in your mouth, huh?



"A colonial-era wound opens in Namibia" by Norimitsu Onishi New York Times   January 21, 2017

SWAKOPMUND, Namibia — A few months ago protesters spilled red paint over the monument.

Spilled? Or poured?

The statue, the Marine Denkmal, was erected in 1908 to honor soldiers who helped crush a rebellion against German colonial rule by the Herero and Nama ethnic groups, a war that led to what Germany’s current government is close to recognizing as a genocide.

The push for the removal comes as the governments of Germany and Namibia are engaging in negotiations to close one of the grimmest chapters in Africa’s colonial history, the genocide of tens of thousands of Herero and Nama between 1904 and 1908.


They are removing statues and censoring history over there, too.

After decades of denial, German officials say they are ready to acknowledge the genocide formally, issue an apology and offer compensation.

German reticence is not the only reason the reckoning has taken so long. Namibia’s complicated internal dynamics have contributed as well.

The Herero and Nama are minorities in a nation led since independence by the liberation party, the South West Africa People’s Organization, or SWAPO, which is dominated by the Ovambo ethnic group.

SWAPO has historically shown little interest in highlighting the colonial-era genocide.

Germany ruled Namibia, then known as South-West Africa, from 1884 to 1915. Alone among Germany’s African colonies, it attracted thousands of settlers, who grabbed land from locals. Between 1904 and 1908, the Herero and Nama launched the biggest — and last — rebellion against the Germans.

Only 1 percent of Namibian households speak German as a main language, according to a 2011 census. But Namibians of German descent make up a tightly knit, economically powerful group, with their own schools and a daily newspaper.

The threat to remove the monument speaks to the community’s fear of impermanence in Namibia, said Elke Zuern, a politics professor at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., who has done research on the meaning of Namibia’s national monuments.

Unlike Germans, who have slowly come to terms with their colonial past, many German-Namibians reflexively seek to defend the era, minimize its harmful legacy, or even deny the genocide, Zuern said....

Like Israelis! 




"44 migrants die of thirst in Niger while crossing desert" Associated Press  June 02, 2017

NIAMEY, Niger — At least 44 migrants, including babies, have died of thirst after their vehicle broke down in the Sahara Desert as they were making their way to Libya, an official in Niger said on Thursday.

Niger is a major route for West African migrants making their way toward Europe. Most of the dead migrants were from Ghana, said Bachir Manzo, the prefect of Dirkou locality. They included three babies, two older children, and 17 women. It is impossible to know how many migrants are lost in the desert with so many making their way north. Bodies may not be discovered for weeks, and generally those that are found are buried in the desert or left where they are. The bodies were discovered just days after President Mahamadou Issoufou made a plea to the leaders of G-7 industrialized nations to address the migration crisis during a meeting in Taormina, Sicily.

Who does he think is driving this? It's the EUS Empire and its wars!

Also Thursday, a local Red Cross worker said an attack by suspected extremists near Niger’s border with Mali killed 40 people, including six soldiers. Civilians were reportedly among the dead in the attack in Abala, about 62 miles northeast of the capital, Niamey. It was not clear who staged the attack....




"High Noon for President Zuma as key ANC leaders seek ouster" by Mike Cohen and Paul Vecchiatto Bloomberg News  May 26, 2017

South African President Jacob Zuma faces a key battle for his political survival this weekend when senior members of his ruling party say they will push for its decision-making national executive committee to order him to step down.

Zuma, 75, goes into the meeting of the committee facing an unprecedented level of opposition from within the African National Congress and its labor and communist supporters following a series of scandals he’s faced since he took office in 2009. His vice president, Cyril Ramaphosa, echoed the South African Council of Churches on Sunday by saying the nation is at risk of becoming a ‘‘mafia state.’’

While ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa denied that the option of Zuma’s ouster will be discussed at the three-day executive committee meeting that starts Friday, four members of the panel said they would force it onto the agenda. They asked not to be named.

‘‘This will be a critical meeting for the NEC,’’ said Ongama Mtimka, a political science lecturer at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the southern city of Port Elizabeth, who says there is probably an even chance of Zuma being removed. ‘‘We have the balance of power shifting within the ANC. More and more people have begun to speak out.’’

Even though Zuma withstood a bid for removal at an NEC meeting in November, criticism of him is rising as he prepares to relinquish the ANC leadership in December. His March 31 decision to fire the respected Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and make 19 other changes swelled the ranks of his opponents.

While only Parliament can legally force the president from office, the NEC could instruct Zuma to resign, as it did Thabo Mbeki in 2008, or tell its lawmakers, who occupy 62 percent of the seats in the national legislature, to remove him. Zuma has said he’ll quit if the party orders him to.

What's stopping you?


"South African ruling party debates fate of president" by Christopher Torchia Associated Press  May 28, 2017

JOHANNESBURG — Ruling party critics of South African President Jacob Zuma pushed for his resignation on Sunday amid concern about alleged corruption at the highest levels of the government, but the president retained significant support in the divided party.

This weekend, opponents proposed a motion of no confidence against Zuma at a meeting of the African National Congress party, which has led South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Many in the party attribute the ANC’s poor performance in local elections last year to scandals surrounding the president and want to shore up their popularity ahead of national elections in 2019. The motion was proposed by party member Joel Netshitenzhe and supported by the health minister and his deputy, as well as by the former tourism minister, reported the News24 website.

State broadcaster SABC said the chairman of the National Executive Committee meeting did not allow debate on the motion because it was not on the agenda, though the meeting was continuing late Sunday.

Zuma survived a similar move to oust him at a committee meeting in November, but unease within the ruling party grew after he fired Pravin Gordhan, the widely respected finance minister. Fitch and Standard & Poor’s responded to Gordhan’s dismissal by lowering South Africa’s credit rating to below investment grade.


The BANKERS have TURNED on ZUMA! That's why the corruption scandals surfaced and why he's being pushed out of office politically. 

Don't get me wrong, that's not an endorsement of the scum. It's just a recognition of the deeper intere$ts involved that are the true drivers of events.

Zuma’s ties to the Gupta family, Indian immigrant businessmen accused of trying to manipulate top government leaders for financial gain, have also stirred public anger. The Sunday Times reported on e-mails allegedly showing the Guptas’ control over some Cabinet ministers and state-owned companies, as well as the involvement of Zuma’s son Duduzane, a Gupta associate.

The Guptas deny any wrongdoing.

In another scandal, Zuma was forced to reimburse some state money after the Constitutional Court ruled against him last year in a dispute over millions of dollars spent on his private home.

Zuma’s decision to fire Gordhan and make 19 other staff changes increased the ranks of his opponents.

Gordhan’s replacement, Malusi Gigaba, is at the center of alleged efforts by the president and his allies to raid state assets and reap billions of rand from government contracts, a study by eight leading academics from four of the nation’s top universities found this week. Gigaba spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said the report “has little, if any, facts.”

In a separate development, a recently released video showed South African police pelting suspected thieves with apples in the Theewaterskloof area in Western Cape province.

Officials said the apples had allegedly been stolen.

The video, posted on news media websites and social media, shows officers in blue uniforms grabbing apples out of the back of a vehicle and hurling them at four men who are lined up at a roadside cliff, their backs to the police. The suspected apple thieves flinch as they are hit, and officers can be heard chuckling.

South African media reported the incident over the weekend. Reports said the mayor condemned it and launched an investigation.


Yup, all a big joke and funny, ha-ha. $crewing your own people is such good fun.



"Pastor Emmanuel Momoh told The Associated Press that he turned in the diamond because he was touched by the development being undertaken in Kono District, where the gem was found. He cited road construction and improvements to electricity after almost 30 years of blackouts. Sierra Leone’s diamond wealth fueled a decade-long civil war that ended in 2002. Despite its mineral wealth, the country remains one of the poorest in the world. It was not immediately clear how the pastor came across the diamond...."

"At least 11 people died in one town in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that shook the Lake Victoria region of Tanzania on Saturday, and the country’s president, John Magufuli, said many more were feared dead. Police said the 11 who died were in brick structures in the town of Bukoba, which was heavily damaged. The president’s office didn’t provide specific figures on casualties. The quake was felt as far as western Kenya and parts of Uganda and Rwanda. (AP)

Also see55 killed in Uganda fighting between rebels, army

"Zambia’s president reelected in close vote after violence" Associated Press  August 15, 2016

LUSAKA, Zambia — Zambia’s president has been reelected in a closely contested vote over the main opposition leader, the country’s election panel said Monday. However, opposition allegations of polling irregularities raised the prospect of continued tension after a campaign marred by street clashes.

President Edgar Lungu of the ruling Patriotic Front party received 1,860,877 votes, giving him just over 50 percent of the votes and therefore enough to avoid a runoff election, the election commission said.

The main challenger, Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development, received 1,760,347 votes.

Hichilema’s party is looking at the possibility of lodging a protest with Zambia’s constitutional court over alleged vote tampering in Thursday’s election, said Jack Mwiimu, a senior party official.

Many jubilant supporters of Lungu celebrated on a major road in Lusaka, the capital. Some carried a mock coffin for Hichilema with a sign that read: ‘‘Rest in peace.’’

Lungu, who took office in January 2015 after the death of President Michael Sata, won a tight election over Hichilema last year.

Zambia’s record of peaceful transitions of power had been held up as a democratic model in Africa. International observers have urged Zambians to direct any complaints about the election process to the courts, rather than taking to the streets.

‘‘In this tense and competitive climate it is essential that the security forces respect the constitution and remain impartial and professional in the discharge of their duties,’’ said Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general.


Political tension comes as Zambia’s economy struggles, partly because of the fall in prices of copper, its main export. Zambia is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout deal that could entail austerity measures.

In a news conference Sunday, Hichilema cited irregularities in the count in Lusaka, and demanded a recount.

“The question is will the elections be defined as free and fair, transparent and credible in this environment?” he said. “My answer is no.”

Commission officials rejected his accusations.

Monitors from the European Union said that, while the voting itself went smoothly on Election Day, campaigning had been “hindered by several factors.”

In an assessment released Saturday, the European Union said that police had acted in ways to “unfairly block events of opposition parties at short notice.” In addition, the state media systematically showed a bias in favor of Lungu and ignored opposition parties, or depicted them negatively, thus “limiting the possibility for voters to make an informed choice,” the union said.

We get the same thing over here in the States.



What's interesting is Tunisia was the Nazi foothold in Africa during WWII:

"Berlin truck attacker had been flagged as a high-level drug dealer" by Alison Smale New York Times   May 18, 2017

BERLIN — Anis Amri, the Tunisian man who killed 12 people in an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December, had been flagged weeks earlier as a high-level drug dealer, according to a newly discovered police document that has caused an uproar in Germany.

Another radical, pious, Islamist militant that was drinking and doing drugs? 

Spells patsy.

The document, which was uncovered recently during a review by the Berlin city government, has induced a new round of anguished questioning in Germany about whether the country’s worst terrorist attack in decades could have been prevented.

It's the same damn script with all this sh**!!

The document, dated Nov. 1, was uncovered by Bruno Jost, a former federal prosecutor whom the city hired to review the case. Jost also found a second document, one that characterized Amri as a low-level drug offender, of a kind that would not generally warrant the most urgent police action. That document was dated Jan. 17 but was then backdated to Nov. 1, said Berlin’s interior minister, Andreas Geisel, who announced the discovery of the document Wednesday.

That's criminal. The alteration of evidence.

At a news conference Wednesday, Geisel raised the possibility that police were trying to cover up their failure to act on the Nov. 1 document by backdating the Jan. 17 document so that it appeared that the police had conflicting intelligence.


I'm shocked -- shocked -- that there is gambling going on here!

The Nov. 1 document “would have been enough to order an arrest warrant” — and, potentially, jail time, Geisel said.

Geisel also said it appeared that officers with the Berlin criminal police had stopped tapping Amri’s phone in June, despite having permission to monitor it until November.

Germany’s federal interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, who was in Brussels for a meeting with counterparts from other European Union countries, said he was stunned by the revelations, which he acknowledged raised troubling questions.

“I expect all parties involved in the city-state of Berlin to investigate it very thoroughly and very openly now,” he said.

Will they discover the German component of Gladio?

However, Benjamin Jendro, a spokesman for the Berlin police union, told the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that even if the Nov. 1 warning had been acted on, “There is no guarantee that he would have been arrested.”


Often, in drug trafficking investigations, the priority was finding the people pulling the strings, not the dealers themselves, Jendro said. “One cannot say that the colleagues have definitely made a mistake,” he continued, and it was impossible to say with certainty that the Christmas market attack could have been prevented.

Amri, 24, had a long criminal history that included convictions for car theft in Tunisia and arson in Italy. After moving to Germany in 2015, he improperly signed up for welfare benefits in multiple locations, and was placed under electronic monitoring.

Last spring, Amri applied for asylum, but it was denied. He was ordered deported, but he could not be quickly sent to Tunisia because he did not have a valid passport. After the attack, he made his way to the Netherlands and to Italy, where he was shot dead by police officers outside Milan.

As investigations continue, Amri’s case has become a political hot potato, both nationally and locally.

In September, legislative elections in Berlin shifted local politics left. Geisel, who is from the center-left Social Democrats, is seen by some critics as trying to score points by appearing tough on crime — and by potentially embarrassing the Christian Democrats, who shared power with the Social Democrats in the previous government.

That was after Brexit but before Trump and Colombia. Since then, all elections have been rigged. The Ma$ters of the Univer$e are taking no chances.

Another Social Democrat, Ralf Jaeger, the interior minister in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, came under pressure after it became clear that the Tunisian had at the very least cheated the government by claiming welfare benefits in multiple locations.

Back then, de Maizière, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s, has accused Jaeger of failing to use his authority to detain Amri months before the attack.

Amri’s treatment played a large part in recent elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, in which the Christian Democrats argued that the state’s center-left government had been too lax on crime and the Social Democrats suffered a stunning defeat. So the new announcement by Geisel in Berlin has an element of score settling.


Related: "Social Democrats have enjoyed a surge in the polls that has been attributed to the ‘‘Schulz effect.’’ He blamed the growing gap between average voters and the ultra-rich for souring politics and for boosting the popularity of nationalist and populist politicians...." 

One week later, she won the rigged election in the center of their heartland.

Merkel is seeking a fourth term in national elections scheduled for October....



12 dead as truck rams crowd in Berlin Christmas market

Looks like a crisis drill!

German police say Berlin slayings ‘intentional,’ possible ‘terror attack’
Germany launches manhunt in attack as ISIS claims involvement 

Looks fake, to take eye off what, Syria?

North End family fears the worst after Berlin attack
Officials say fingerprints tie Tunisian to Berlin attack
North End family now knows relative was killed in Berlin attack
Berlin attack suspect is killed by police near Milan
Investigators seek supply network for slain Berlin attacker
Tunisian suspected of ties to Berlin attacker is detained in Germany
Germans release Tunisian held as possible Berlin accomplice

And given what just happened in England, this ending of the post seems apropos (it's about Libya).

More German gold delivered by the Globe:

"Hunt for Nazi Gold Train Digs Up Nothing but Dirt"  New York Times News Service  August 24, 2016

WALBRZYCH, Poland — Two treasure hunters who were hoping to find a buried Nazi train full of gold, jewels, and weapons halted their efforts on Wednesday after a week of digging turned up no sign of the train.

The excavation began last week outside the town of Walbrzych, Poland, in an area that was part of Germany before World War II. The dig became the subject of intense interest after the treasure hunters claimed last year that they had found what appeared to be a buried rail tunnel that might contain such a train.

According to local lore, the train vanished after it entered a complex of secret tunnels carved by the Germans into the Owl Mountains as they fled the Soviet army in 1945.

Looks to me like another Zionist lie propagated through the media.

“Unfortunately, the excavation has revealed no train, no tunnel, and no trackway in the location where we thought they would be,” Andrzej Gaik, a spokesman for the project, said Wednesday.

The treasure hunters, Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter, said radar images had seemed to show a regular rounded shape about 16 feet underground that looked like a tunnel ceiling. It turned out to be of natural origin."

They found the same thing in Treblinka and some other places when they did the ground imaging.

RelatedArchaeologists uncovered a pendant at a Nazi death camp - with possible ties to Anne Frank

Another fraud, but required reading in school!

German nationalists seek gains in Merkel’s political base
Merkel’s party loses support in Berlin state election
Nationalists overtake Merkel’s party in German state vote
Merkel takes some blame for poor Berlin election performance
Merkel vows to stay on course despite German election setback

She is the West's last defense.

German foreign minister tapped to become next president
Germany picks Trump critic as its new president
Merkel to seek fourth term as Germany’s leader 

Holding onto the job like a, you know.

German nationalist leader seeks renewed use of Nazi-era term

Why not? The government is already acting like them:

"Germany’s foreign intelligence service apparently spied on the phones, faxes, or e-mails of several foreign news organizations, including The New York Times, the British Broadcasting Corp., and Reuters, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday. Der Spiegel said that it saw a list that indicated that the German intelligence service, the BND, had monitored at least 50 phone numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses beginning in 1999. One number was listed for The New York Times in Afghanistan. Others monitored by the BND included Reuters offices in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, Der Spiegel reported. The surveillance targets also included news agencies in Kuwait, Lebanon and India (New York Times)." 

You would think they would be rating holy hell, but nope!

Germany Arrests 3 Syrians on Suspicion of ISIS Ties
"Arrivals declined sharply with the closure of the Balkan migrant route in March and the subsequent deal between the European Union and Turkey to stem the flow across the Aegean Sea to Greece."

Either that or it was the freezing cold weather.

"The suspected attacker was arrested after jumping off an overpass near the train station, the statement said. The 36-year-old man, described as being from ‘‘the former Yugoslavia’’ and living in the nearby city of Wuppertal, suffered serious injuries and was being treated in a hospital....."

"The protests were organized on social media by a group calling itself Pulse of Europe, which says it’s not tied to any particular political party. In a separate development Sunday.... Germany sees ‘alarmingly high’ number of antimigrant crimes."

Nothing about the refugee rapes reported in my Globe.

"Germany’s new strategy for terror suspects? Kick them out, even if they were born there" The Washington Post News Service  March 23, 2017

The German government plans to deport two men investigated for allegedly planning a terrorist attack — even though both were born in Germany and they were not charged.

Arrangements are now being made for the two suspects to be deported separately to Algeria and Nigeria, where their parents are from. Neither man is a German citizen and both will also be barred from reentering the country.

It was the first time such a policy was implemented in Germany.

The two men were arrested in Goettingen during a raid Feb. 9 and were found with an Islamic State flag and a gun. At the time, police claimed they were active members of a local extremist network, and they were probably planning a terrorist attack. However, prosecutors decided not to take up the case — saying the pair discussed an attack but had not made any serious plans.

The decision to deport the men underscores the harsher line by Germany on suspected extremists since a number of attacks over the past few years.


RelatedThe leader of Germany’s anti-immigrant movement has become a migrant himself

I'm sure he can just get a blood declaration.

Also seeAs Germany wrestles with migration, many go home voluntarily 

Just like some Jews before WWII.


“The discussions about Hitler’s worldview and dealing with his propaganda presented an opportunity — at a time when authoritarian political beliefs and far-right slogans are again gaining in popularity — to reexamine the ominous roots and results of such totalitarian ideologies.”

If you follow the money you get a better idea about what was going on at that time and may reach an epiphany.

You know where he was born, right?

Austrians reject far-right candidate for president

After Breexit, Trump, Colombia, no more chances with the voting! Le Pen lost!

"Austrian police arrest 14 suspected of Islamic State links" Associated Press  January 27, 2017

VIENNA — Heavily armed SWAT teams supported by hundreds of other officers detained 14 people suspected of having ties to the Islamic State group in early-morning raids on Thursday, Austrian officials said.

Besides suspected links to the Islamic State group, Justice Ministry official Christian Pilnacek said those detained were being investigated for attempts to try to set up a ‘‘parallel society . . . an attempt to create a kind of theocracy in Austria.’’

Pilnacek did not rule out some connection in the raids to Mirsad Omerovic, a Serbian-born Islamic cleric sentenced last year in Graz to 20 years in prison for recruiting dozens of young men to fight for the Islamic State group. But he said he could not say there was a ‘‘direct connection’’ in the cases of all of those detained.

Most of them, including some with Austrian nationality, had Balkan antecedents, he said....


"Austria approves extradition of Ukrainian oligarch tied to Trump campaign aides" by Andrew Roth Washington Post  February 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — In a dramatic decision Tuesday, an Austrian court approved the extradition to the United States of a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to a senior Trump adviser on corruption charges.

Dmytro Firtash, a billionaire who made a fortune as a middleman in Ukraine’s rough-and-tumble gas industry, has been indicted by US prosecutors in connection with allegedly bribing Indian officials to secure a titanium deal. An extradition request in 2015 had been denied by a Viennese court, which called the US allegations ‘‘politically motivated.’’ The final decision to send Firtash to the United States will be made by the Austrian Ministry of Justice. 

How is Joe Biden's kid's company doing?

Firtash wielded significant political power in Ukraine under former president Viktor Yanukovych, who was overthrown amid street protests in 2014. Firtash was arrested in Vienna on an FBI warrant just weeks after Yanukovych fled to Russia and was succeeded by a vocally pro-Western government. Firtash’s lawyers say that he is being targeted by the United States as part of a political inquisition against Yanukovych’s former political allies.

The criminal investigation was initiated under the Obama administration. Firtash had previously weighed teaming up with American investors and political strategist Paul Manafort, who managed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, to buy high-end real estate in the United States, including the famous Drake Hotel in New York. No deals were completed, and Firtash has denied that he invested in the project.

Firtash previously owned half of a company that negotiated natural gas sales from Russia and Central Asian countries to Ukraine, a lucrative business that Reuters in 2014 reported made him billions of dollars.


They drove him out like a gypsy.

"Austrian official backs $63b Brexit bill" by Boris Groendahl, Jonathan Tirone and Ian Wishart Bloomberg News  February 24, 2017

VIENNA — Britain should be charged about $63 billion when it leaves the European Union, Chancellor Christian Kern said, becoming the first EU leader to put a value on the size of the United Kingdom’s Brexit bill.

While similar estimates have been circulating for months, Kern cited the sum as an EU calculation that will be presented to the British government once Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Britain’s exit from the 28-nation bloc.

If she is even around for such a thing.

Britain’s trade secretary, Liam Fox, has called the idea of such a bill absurd and the government in London is adamant it won’t pay for any EU projects signed after November.

While saying the EU shouldn’t seek to punish the British, Kern acknowledged the bill will be a hard sell for May’s government, ‘‘because the pledge to the British voters was that they were going to save a lot of money, and I think there will be a certain amount of disappointment or frustration if now the opposite happens.’’


You know what is the cause of all your troubles?

"Austrian Parliament Bans Full Facial Veils in Public" by Dan Bilefsky and Victor Homola New York Times   May 17, 2017

Austria has banned wearing a full facial veil in public places, the latest move by a European country to restrict expressions of Muslim identity viewed as contrary to Western secular values. The decision immediately drew criticism from rights advocates and from representatives of Austria’s Muslim community.

It will be a fine of about $167.

The ban is part of legislation aimed at improving the integration of immigrants, according to Muna Duzdar, a state secretary in the office of Chancellor Christian Kern. Other elements of the legislation include mandatory integration courses, German-language lessons, and requirements that asylum seekers do unpaid work while awaiting the processing of their claims. Under the new law, migrants who do not meet the requirements could see their welfare benefits slashed.

Analysts said the new law appeared to be at least partially calculated to try to defuse the growing influence of the far-right anti-immigrant Freedom Party. (On Tuesday, it criticized the legislation, saying it did not go far enough.)

The coalition government — which includes the conservative People’s Party and the center-left Social Democratic Party — is on the brink of collapse, and early elections are expected in October. That could create an opportunity for the Freedom Party to enter government for the second time since it was formed by former Nazis in the 1950s....

Thankfully the Luftwaffe is in terrible shape.