This Week in the News

Building its Army!

On October 12, 2016, Der Spiegel Online reported that the four countries with the biggest European armies will be working together more closely, after Britain is out of the way. These countries are France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The article continued that the EU Treaties allow this to happen

Steinmeier Warns of Deteriorating World Order

Deutsche Welle wrote on October 8:

“Writing in the mass-market newspaper Bild, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that tensions between Washington and Moscow have created a situation that is ‘more dangerous’ than the Cold War. ‘All options need to be considered’ in light of recent atrocities in Syria, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman has said, when asked about the possibility of fresh sanctions against Russia… Steinmeier penned an opinion piece published Saturday warning that relations between the US and Russia have reached a new low. ‘It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous,’ Steinmeier wrote in a 214-word guest column published by Bild, Germany’s largest circulation newspaper.

“The Ukrainian crisis, Syrian conflict and a lapse in nuclear material cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries are listed by Germany’s top diplomat as reasons for the dangerous environment. He laid the blame mostly on Russia for ‘provoking’ a new Cold War but, unlike the Cold War-era, in which the US and Russia had ‘red lines and respected them’, the new multi-polar environment has more regional conflict making geopolitics ‘more unpredictable.’…”

Russia’s Further Provocations

Reuters wrote on October 8:

“Russia has moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Kaliningrad enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday, adding it was part of routine drills… ‘The deployment not only increases tensions in the region, but also possibly violates international treaties which limit deployment of ballistic missiles of range of over 500 kilometers,’ [Lithuania’s] Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told a news briefing in Vilnius… Some modifications of the Iskander can hit targets 700 km (450 miles) away, putting the German capital Berlin in range of Kaliningrad, Linkevicius said.”

Attempted Terror Attacks by Refugees in Germany?

The Local wrote on October 8:

“German police were carrying out a huge manhunt Saturday for a 22-year-old Syrian suspected of planning a bomb attack, after finding ‘highly explosive’ materials in his apartment. Security has been boosted at Berlin’s two airports and at train stations in the capital. The suspect, Jaber Albakr, could have had ‘an Islamist motive’, police sources told AFP. German news agency DPA, citing security sources, reported that Albakr had links to the Islamic State (IS) group. Police said ‘several hundred grams’ of an ‘explosive substance even more dangerous than TNT’ were found in Albakr’s apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz, about 260 kilometres south of Berlin. ‘Even a small quantity of this substance could have caused enormous damage,’ police said…

“Albakr had been under surveillance for some time, with the magazine Focus reporting that he was suspected of plotting to attack an airport. Two of his associates were arrested close to Chemnitz’s railway station while a third was taken into custody in the city centre…

“Albakr was living in a neighbourhood of Chemnitz whose communist-era housing estates are home to many recently arrived refugees… German police said previously they had identified 523 people who posed a security threat to the country, around half of whom were known to be currently in Germany. On September 21 German officials said a 16-year-old Syrian refugee had been arrested on suspicion of planning a bomb attack in the name of IS. The youngster, thought to have been radicalised only recently, was detained in a special forces operation at a shelter for asylum seekers in the western city of Cologne, police and prosecutors said. Initial information gathered from the teenager’s mobile phone showed that he had expressed an ‘unmistakeable willingness’ to carry out an attack, Klaus-Stephan Becker of the Cologne police told reporters.

“A week earlier, German police detained three men with forged Syrian passports accused of being IS militants and labelled a possible ‘sleeper cell’ with links to the assailants behind the November attacks in Paris. More than 200 police took part in pre-dawn raids in northern Germany to detain the men, suspected of either plotting an attack or awaiting orders to commit one. German authorities have urged the public not to confuse migrants with ‘terrorists’, but have acknowledged that more jihadists may have entered the country among the nearly one million asylum seekers who arrived last year.”

Syrian Terror Suspect Found Dead in Cell in Germany

BBC News reported on October 12:

“A Syrian migrant suspected of planning a bomb attack on a Berlin airport has killed himself in his prison cell in Leipzig, Germany, officials say.

“Saxony’s state justice ministry said Jaber al-Bakr was found dead and that an investigation had been launched.

“He had been turned in to police on Monday by three Syrian refugees after being on the run for two days.

“German police had been watching him for months, but failed to arrest him when they raided his flat on Saturday.

“Since his arrest, Jaber al-Bakr, 22, had been on hunger strike and was under round-the-clock surveillance, news website Der Spiegel reported.”

Cholera in Haiti

Deutsche Welle reported on October 8:

“Cholera outbreaks have killed at least 13 people in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Nearly 900 people have died in Haiti with thousands homeless due to the storm, which is now battering the US southeast… The flood water mixed with sewage, which has likely caused the cholera outbreak. The disease causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if a patient doesn’t receive medical treatment.

“… Before Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) released a loan of $8 million (7.14 million euros) to the United Nations Children’s Fund to deal with a worsening cholera epidemic in the country. ‘In 2016, almost 27,000 cholera cases have been reported in Haiti, and over 240 people have died. Hurricane Matthew is feared to significantly worsen the situation and increase the risk of a larger outbreak,’ CERF said in a statement on Friday.”

Pope Sad About Marrying Nuns

Newsmax wrote on October 7:

“Pope Francis was upset to hear that two former nuns had married in a civil ceremony in Italy, Vatican Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Angelo Becciu said Friday. ‘How much sadness on the pope’s face when I read him the news of the two married “nuns”!’ Becciu tweeted.

“Federica and Isabel were joined in a civil union in northern Italy last month, taking advantage of a law passed this year that offers homosexual couples legal recognition — one of the last countries in the West to do so. The pair, who did not give their surnames, told La Repubblica on Friday that they had fallen in love while serving as missionaries in the West African country Guinea-Bissau. Federica, 44, comes from Italy and Isabel, 40, comes from South America. They said they could have done what other nuns did and live together in a convent while hiding their relationship, but said this would have been ‘false’. ‘There are many such cases where priests or nuns hide their relationships with men or women,’ the pair were quoted as saying, adding that they had received no help when they left their religious order…

“The Italian Bishops Conference came out firmly against the government’s Civil Union bill, arguing that it undermined the status of traditional families. The Church teaches that homosexuality is not sinful but homosexual acts are, and that homosexuals should try to be chaste. However, Pope Francis said in June that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from gay people for the way they had treated them.”

Flashback: “Seattle Children’s Hospital Will Open a Clinic for Transgender Youth”

The Family Policy Institute wrote on September 26:

“Doctors trained in ‘transgender care’ will provide puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone therapy, and mental health support to children struggling with their gender identity. The Gender Clinic will refer children seeking sex reassignment surgery to other medical providers. The clinic… will serve children between eight and 21 years old.

“Seattle Children’s claims that treating transgender children early in life allows them to better integrate into society, despite growing evidence that treating gender dysphoria with puberty blockers and hormone therapies can irreversibly harm young children. In a statement entitled ‘Gender Ideology Harms Children,’ the American College of Pediatricians outlines the risks associated with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone therapies.

“Puberty blockers prevent a child from beginning puberty. Children using puberty blockers find their growth and fertility inhibited, sometimes permanently. Their sexual organs never fully mature, leaving them deprived of the ability to reproduce and without the physical characteristics associated with either sex. Heartbreakingly, this can leave them feeling as if they belong to neither biological sex.

“There are also health risks associated with these treatments. Puberty blockers decrease bone density and may hinder brain development. Cross-sex hormone therapy increases the risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, and cancer. Dr. Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist in chief at John Hopkins Medical Center, likened these medical interventions to ‘child abuse,’ noting that ‘close to 80% of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated.’ Other research summarized by the American Psychiatric Association suggests as many as 98% of boys and 88% of girls who struggle with gender dysphoria as children will no longer identify as the other gender after finishing puberty.

“Troublingly, the majority of adolescents who will stop identifying as the other gender may be unable to revert to their biological sex if they received puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone treatments. The American College of Pediatricians warns that ‘children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions.’

“We agree. Activist doctors shouldn’t encourage children to undergo unnecessary and potentially harmful and irreversible medical treatments – and that’s exactly why the news about the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic is so concerning.”

Piers Morgan Evaluates the Second Presidential Debate

The Daily Mail reported on October 10:

“I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that last night’s debate was the most sickeningly squalid spectacle in the history of US politics. To see the remaining two candidates for the presidency trading blows about sexual assault and rape was so unedifying it defies any parody Saturday Night Live might ever come up…

“It’s hard to imagine any ‘October surprise’ that could possibly suit Hillary’s agenda more than this… Yet there was one huge problem: her husband Bill, sitting just a few yards away in the front row.

The world knows him as a brilliant politician, but also as a serial seducer of epic proportions who, while he was President of the United States, even had sexual relations with a young intern in the Oval Office. In comparison to Bill, many view Trump as a choirboy when it comes to women.

“Earlier last night, Trump hosted a press event with four women: Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton. Broaddrick claimed Bill Clinton raped her when he was Arkansas attorney general, and that Hillary intimidated her into silence when her husband launched his own bid to be president. Willey was a former White House volunteer aide who alleges Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her during his first term as president. Jones is a former Arkansas state employee who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.

“Shelton was a 12-year-old rape victim whose attacker was defended by Hillary Clinton in her lawyer days. A tape later emerged showing Hillary chuckling when talking about the case and suggesting she knew her client was guilty. She used a legal technicality to get him a substantially reduced sentence…

“It was a prurient, distasteful and thoroughly self-serving stunt by Trump to sit among these women in front of the world’s media shortly before the debate started. And then take them to the actual debate itself and sit them right in the front row, feet away from Hillary. It also proved to be an extremely effective form of ugly politics. Hillary knew they were there. So did Bill. And so did the world…

“When Hillary went after Trump for his sex tapes, he instantly flew back at her about these women. ‘If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse,’ Trump jabbed. ‘Mine were words, his were actions. Bill Clinton was abusive to women, Hillary Clinton attacked those women, attacked them viciously.’ It was devastatingly brutal to watch, but as he doubtless hoped it would, it stopped the sex tape debate in its tracks. Hillary had nowhere to go but meek retreat. ‘I’m reminded,’ she said, ‘of what my friend Michelle Obama advised us all: When they go low, you go high.’…

“I’m not so sure about that, Mrs Clinton. I think the world’s women were more of the ‘when they go THIS low, deliver the fatal blow’ mind-set. But she couldn’t and Trump knew it. Emboldened by this knowledge, you could see his confidence levels rise for the rest of the debate as he scored valuable points against her over issues like emails, Benghazi, Obamacare and Iraq. Hillary held her own but she was nowhere near as comfortable or dominant as she was in the first debate. By the end, it was clear that Trump had won the real battle. Far from being finished, he had sent a firm message to his supporters and indeed to those in the Republican Party itching to ditch him, that he is still alive and kicking in this race…

“As for what happens next, who… knows? The truth about this extraordinary election is that nobody really has a clue what will happen in the next 24 hours, let alone 29 days.

“Trump, Hillary’s supporters insist, is a disgusting, bigoted, women-hating, Hitler-esque monster who couldn’t possibly be elected president. The problem is that’s not what vast swathes of Middle America actually think. They still see Trump as their billionaire Robin Hood, albeit with rather more personal flaws. And they loathe Hillary because to them, she’s the walking, breathing, smirking personification of the very Establishment they believe is conspiring to wreck their lives. They are also, as we’ve seen from the reaction to last night’s debate, well aware that when it comes to defending the rights of women against sexist, misogynist creeps, it’s probably best not to be called Clinton.”

Donald Trump in Hot Water

The Telegraph wrote on October 8:

“Donald Trump’s chances of winning the US election were dealt a severe blow on Friday night after the emergence of a video in which he… uses lewd and sexually aggressive language… The billionaire businessman took the rare step of apologising for any offence he might have caused, describing the filmed conversation from 2005 as ‘locker room banter’. He added Bill Clinton, the former president, had said ‘far worse’…

“Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s rival for the White House said: ‘This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president..’ Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and most senior Republican, said he was ‘sickened’ by what he heard and banned him from a political event in Wisconsin. Reince Preibus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee,  slammed the party’s presidential candidate in a statement Friday night. ‘No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.’ … In the video, Mr Trump is recorded talking about an unnamed woman to Billy Bush, who was a host for Access Hollywood, a TV entertainment show… The footage was taken several months after Mr Trump married his third wife, Melania Trump, in January 2005…”

The Daily Mail added that “Billy Bush is the nephew of former president George H.W. Bush, and first cousins with George W. and Jeb Bush.”

The New York Times added on October 7:

“In the video, from 2005, Mr. Bush can be heard laughing as Mr. Trump describes in vulgar terms his efforts to seduce a married woman… Mr. Bush, 44, issued a statement on Friday evening, writing: ‘Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened 11 years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along.’”

The Huffington Post wrote von October 7:

“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the GOP presidential primary earlier this year, called the remarks ‘reprehensible’ on Twitter. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another former Trump primary rival, echoed the sentiment. Mitt Romney, the Republicans’ presidential nominee four years ago, condemned his successor’s remarks as ‘vile degradations.’ Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP nominee, denounced Trump’s ‘offensive and demeaning,’ adding that the GOP nominee ‘alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.’… Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called Trump’s comments ‘vulgar, egregious and impossible to justify.’”

Deutsche Welle added on October 8:

“Donald Trump’s running mate and closest ally Mike Pence has slammed Trump’s comments on groping women. With outrage mounting against Trump, the ex-reality TV star said there was ‘zero chance’ of him quitting the race. Pence, who is the Republican candidate for vice president, said on Saturday he ‘cannot defend’ Trump’s vulgar remarks caught in a 2005 video…

“Trump’s wife Melania, who married the billionaire only months before the video was recorded, urged the public to accept his apology. ‘The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man that I know,’ she said in a statement. At the same time, she defended her husband, saying he had ‘the heart and mind of a leader… I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation and the world.’”

Trump declares war on GOP, says ‘the shackles have been taken off’

The Washington Post wrote on October 11:

“Donald Trump declared war on the Republican establishment Tuesday, lashing out at House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and other GOP elected officials as his supporters geared up to join the fight amid extraordinary turmoil within the party just four weeks before Election Day.

“One day after Ryan announced he would no longer campaign on Trump’s behalf, the GOP nominee said as part of a barrage of tweets that the top-ranking Republican is ‘weak and ineffective’ and is providing ‘zero support’ for his candidacy. Trump also declared that ‘the shackles have been taken off’ him, liberating him to ‘fight for America the way I want to.’

“Trump called McCain ‘foul-mouthed’ and accused him with no evidence of once begging for his support…

“’I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people, that I can tell you . . . especially Ryan,’ Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel. He said if he is elected president, Ryan might be ‘in a different position.’

“In perhaps the most piercing insult, Trump said his party is harder to deal with than even Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, whom conservatives loathe….

“By backing away from Trump, Ryan and his allies were hoping to insulate themselves and their majorities on Capitol Hill from the baggage weighing down the nominee’s flagging campaign. For many, the breaking point was the 2005 video. But they are suddenly dealing with another problem: an impulsive and bellicose businessman with an army of loyal supporters willing to exact retribution against elected officials they feel have abandoned them. The rift could have profound ramifications for the Republican Party as a whole, shattering any sense of unity and jeopardizing its chances of holding onto the Senate and even, potentially, the House.”

Russia Defends Trump

Newsmax wrote on October 7:

Russia’s government lodged a formal complaint last month with the United Nations over a top U.N. official’s condemnations of Donald Trump and some European politicians, diplomats told The Associated Press, an intervention that underscores the unusual links between the Republican presidential nominee and the Kremlin…

“Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, issued a verbal ‘demarche’ to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a private meeting on Sept. 13… Churkin angrily protested a pair of speeches by [Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights] that denounced ‘demagogues’ and specifically targeted Trump and several populist leaders in Europe, even likening their tactics to Islamic State propaganda…

“Paul Manafort, a Trump campaign manager, resigned this summer over revelations about his work for Ukraine’s former, Moscow-backed president and other pro-Russian officials…

“Zeid concentrated on Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders, who opposes asylum for refugees and, similar to Trump, immigration from Muslim countries. Wilders also advocates closing mosques and Islamic schools, and outlawing the Quran. Zeid also criticized by name the pro-Brexit head of the U.K. Independence Party, Nigel Farage, who appeared with Trump at an August rally; Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico; Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer; French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; and Czech President Milos Zeman.”

Hillary Clinton in Hot Water

Newsmax reported on October 7:

“Hillary Clinton told bankers behind closed doors that she favored ‘open trade and open borders’ and said Wall Street executives were best-positioned to help reform the U.S. financial sector, according to transcripts of her private, paid speeches leaked Friday. The leaks were the result of another email hacking intended to influence the presidential election. Excerpts of the speeches given in the years before her 2016 presidential campaign included some blunt and unguarded remarks to her private audiences which collectively had paid her at least $26.1 million in speaking fees. Clinton had refused to release transcripts of the speeches, despite repeated calls to do so by her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“The excerpts were included in emails exchanged among her political staff, including Campaign Chairman John Podesta, whose email account was hacked. The WikiLeaks organization posted what it said were thousands of Podesta’s emails. It wasn’t immediately clear who had hacked Podesta’s emails, though the breach appeared to cover years of messages, some sent as recently as last month.

“Among the emails was a compilation of excerpts from Clinton’s paid speeches in 2013 and 2014. It appeared campaign staff had read all Clinton’s speeches and identified passages that could be potentially problematic for the candidate if they were to become public.

“One excerpt put Clinton squarely in the free-trade camp, a position she has retreated on significantly during the 2016 election. In a talk to a Brazilian bank in 2013, she said her ‘dream’ is ‘a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders’ and asked her audience to think of what doubling American trade with Latin America ‘would mean for everybody in this room.’

“Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has made opposition to trade deals a cornerstone of his campaign…

“The excerpts include quotes from an October 2013 speech at an event sponsored by Goldman Sachs, in which Clinton conceded that presidential candidates need the financial backing of Wall Street to mount a competitive national campaign…

“In an April 2013 speech to the National Multifamily Housing Council, Clinton said politicians must balance ‘both a public and a private position’ while making deals…”

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