Assim Qansou, a representative of the socialist party in Lebanon’s parliament, told the Lebanese al-Nashrah newspaper that during the battle in al-Qusseir city, the Syrian army has arrested tens of French, British, Belgian, Dutch and Qatari officers. The EU’s anti-terror chief said in April that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s government. Gilles de Kerchove estimated the number in Syria at about 500.Intelligence agencies are concerned some could join groups linked to al-Qaeda and later return to Europe to launch terrorist attacks.The UK, Ireland and France are among the EU countries estimated to have the highest numbers of fighters in Syria.
Income inequality increased by more in the first three years of the crisis to the end of 2010 than it had in the previous twelve years, before factoring in the effect of taxes and transfers on income, according to new OECD report and data. - The analysis says that the welfare state has cushioned the blow for many but warns that further social spending cuts in OECD countries risk causing greater inequality and poverty in the years ahead. After taxes and transfers, the richest 10 per cent of the population in OECD countries earned 9.5 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent in 2010, up from 9 times in 2007. The gap is largest in Chile, Mexico, Turkey, the United States and Israel, and lowest in Iceland, Slovenia, Norway and Denmark.
Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria, a move that illustrates the depth of its support for the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, American officials said Thursday. - Russia has previously provided a version of the missiles, called Yakhonts, to Syria. But those delivered recently are outfitted with an advanced radar that makes them more effective, according to American officials who are familiar with classified intelligence reports and would only discuss the shipment on the basis of anonymity. Unlike Scud and other longer-range surface-to-surface missiles that the Assad government has used against opposition forces, the Yakhont antiship missile system provides the Syrian military a formidable weapon to counter any effort by international forces to reinforce Syrian opposition fighters by imposing a naval embargo, establishing a no-fly zone or carrying out limited airstrikes.
Times of Israel: Netanyahu to Putin: ‘Your missile sales to Assad could trigger war’
Sister Teresa Forcades is one of Catalonia's foremost political figures, but uniquely for a faith-led figure in Spain, her ideology is feminist and left-wing. Against a backdrop of continued economic contraction and austerity, she spoke to the Guardian about the need for an alternative to capitalism and criticised the misogyny of the Catholic church
Ryan Fogle was allegedly caught red-handed late last night trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer for the CIA. - In a dramatic moment right out of the pages of a Cold War thriller, a US diplomat has been arrested in Russia and accused of being a spy. Ryan Fogle was allegedly caught red-handed late last night trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer for the CIA. The Federal Security Service today released pictures of the arrest, saying its officers snared Mr Fogle carrying a large amount of money along with eavesdropping equipment. The FSB – the successor to the feared KGB – said it captured the American in Moscow on his way to meet his intended recruit. Mr Fogle was also allegedly carrying a disguise to be given to the Russian agent and a letter offering £653,000 a year for information requested by the US. Russia declared the diplomat “persona non grata” today and ordered him to leave the country.
University of Freiburg´s refusal to let lecture hall to Cafe Palestine Freiburg found to be illegal.
Last Friday, Cafe Palestine Freiburg won a landmark victory in the Administrative Court, when the refusal by the University of Freiburg to make available to Cafe Palestine a lecture hall for a presentation by Professor Christophe Oberlin of Paris on the topic "Plastic Surgery in Gaza" was found to be illegal. The Court, consisting of three professional and two lay judges determined that the leeway granted to the University in the practice of its authority is limited by the principle of equal treatment and the right to freedom of opinion (though this does not of course include every opinion). The reasons offered by the University in refusing use of a lecture hall were that the event might serve illegal and anti-constitutional aims and might lead to constitutional and legal violations which, according to the administrative regulations of the Ministry of Science (Wissenschaftsministerium) and the University’s own guideline, are grounds for refusal. But the university failed to prove that the event might encourage constitutional and illegal violations and therefore was found to be abusing freedom of opinion.
Gilad Atzmon: Landmark victory For a Change - Cafe Palestine Freiburg won a landmark victory against Freiburg University in the German administrative court last Friday. Six months ago Café Palestine filed a complaint against the University in the Administrative Court following the University´s refusal to let the Palestinian solidarity group use a space for a lecture by Paris University professor Christophe Oberlin. On Friday, the Administrative Court of Freiburg made of five judges found that the University acted illegally. Freiburg University together with Dr. Heinrich Schwendemann, who was the main actor against the Café, were highly criticized by the court. Schwendemann is one of the founders of the German Holocaust memorial site shoa.de. As far as I am aware the University will have to pay a penalty. I guess that Dr. Schwendemann may need to consult with a legal expert soon. Apparently the Shoa expert was lying in court and he may face a further legal humiliation soon.
The Other Site: Gabi Weber: The Truth Will Set Us Free?
An alleged CIA agent has been briefly detained in Moscow for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer, Russian media report. - The man, named as US diplomat Ryan Fogle, was held overnight before being released to US officials, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said. Russia has declared him "persona non grata" and ordered his expulsion, the foreign ministry said on its website. The US ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, had been summoned, it added. Mr Fogle is said to have worked as third political secretary at the US embassy in Moscow, which has issued no comment on the matter so far.
Angry residents of Reyhanli cars owned by FSA refugees in Antaya 'Turkey'. Protesters call for the step down of Erdogan, and their suppport of Assad. The people of Antakya blame Erdogan terrorist supporting foreign policy for the bombings in Reyhanli.
Syria has denied allegations that it was behind two car bombings which killed 46 people in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli. - Syria Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told a news conference on Sunday that his country "did not commit and would never commit such an act because our values would not allow that." He blamed Ankara for the Saturday bombings in Reyhanli as well as the ongoing unrest in Syria by facilitating the flow of arms, explosives, vehicles, militants and money across the border into the Arab country.
Thomas Gaist: Bombings rock Turkish-Syrian border - Zoubi also denounced Turkey’s decision to give arms and safe passage to terrorist opposition forces backed by the US, Europe, and the Persian Gulf states. Turkey has been a crucial support of the US proxy war in Syria, providing bases for staging and logistical support to the opposition’s offensives and terror bombings in nearby northern Syria. “They [the Turkish regime] turned houses of civilian Turks, their farms, their property into a centre and passageway for terrorist groups from all over the world,” Zoubi said. “They facilitated and still are the passage of weapons and explosives and money and murderers to Syria.” Zoubi said that Erdogan should “step down as a killer and a butcher.”
German prosecutors said on Friday they had arrested two Dutch citizens suspected of taking part in a $45 million global cyber heist unveiled the previous day by U.S. authorities. - A 35-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman were caught on February 19 withdrawing 170,000 euros ($220,500) in Düsseldorf using Bank of Muscat credit cards. In total, $2.4 million dollars was withdrawn in seven German cities, the prosecutors said. On Thursday, U.S. prosecutors said an international criminal gang had stolen $45 million from two Middle Eastern banks by hacking into credit card processing firms and withdrawing money from cash machines in 27 countries. The ringleaders of the global operation were believed to be outside the United States but U.S. prosecutors have declined to give details, citing the continuing investigation. Germany is the only other country so far to announce arrests.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond. - Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria. Israeli Debkafile's military sources disclosed that the Russian leader was referring to S-300 anti-air systems and the nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO named SS-26 Stone) surface missiles, which are precise enough to hit a target within a 5-7 meter radius at a distance of 280 kilometers. In his phone call to Netanyahu, the Russian leader advised the prime minister to make sure to keep this in mind.
Physicist pulls out of conference hosted by president Shimon Peres in protest at treatment of Palestinians.
Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president's conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres's 90th birthday. Hawking is in very poor health, but last week he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking's approval described it as "his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there". Hawking's decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions.
Occupied Palestine | فلسطين:
Professor Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel in solidarity with Palestinians (Updated)
UK special forces are being pulled out of Afghanistan ahead of a planned mission to help Syrian rebels. - SAS and SBS commanders are drawing up top secret plans to give the fighters much-needed weapons. A Whitehall source revealed SAS and SBS veterans are being “quietly” withdrawn from Afghanistan to prepare for their new mission. They will be working with guidance from MI6 and their French counterparts, the Directorate-General for External Security, to get a £20million Brit-funded arsenal stockpiled in neighbouring countries into rebel hands.
Britain and its European allies help Zionist regime’s settlements in the occupied West Bank sustain and flourish through buying products produced by settlers. The UK government - on the one hand - condemns settlements as illegal as a majority of EU nations do and on the other they continue to buy products made in the occupied Palestinian territories and thus help sustain those illegal settlements.
■ “Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace, and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible”, said EU High Representative Catherine Ashton in one of many statements made by the EU and its spokespeople over the years on Sept. 27, 2010 in connection with Middle East peace talks. This position is clear and has been consistently upheld. The West Bank colonies were established in violation of Article 49 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, intended to protect civilians in time of war, including when they fall under foreign occupation. The EU maintains that the Geneva Convention provisions continue to apply to the territories Israel occupied in 1967, despite the long duration of the continuing occupation. Opposition to the Israeli settlements should, at the very least, mean doing everything possible to discourage the creation of new settlements, and doing nothing that might serve to legitimize and entrench those that already exist.
■ Yet a recent report indicates that the EU states are importing goods from the settlements, and thereby reinforcing them economically. Moreover, these imports far exceed those from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip-by 15 times. For Israeli settlers living in the occupied territory, this means the EU imports over 100 times more per settler than per Palestinian.”
Norway is taking steps to tackle websites like The Pirate Bay to eliminate online copyright infringement by amending the Copyright Act. The revisions are popular in parliament and if passed will grant authorities the right to block sites at the ISP level. - The proposed amendments make it easier to locate both website owners and end-users of unauthorized material online. Thus, the new legislation would allow rights-holders to take to court site owners involved in illegal content sharing and order the internet service providers (ISPs) to “prevent or impede access” to sites that have “extensively made available material that clearly violates copyrights”, Torrenfreak quotes the amendments. And if the website owner is unknown or cannot be located “the case can be decided without the person concerned being given an opportunity to comment.” This would make it very easy to block off sites whose owners wish to remain anonymous. Also, the introduced amendments exempt pursued individuals in question from the protection of Electronic Communications Act when a legal claim is underway.
The presence of the 86-year-old Queen Elizabeth ll and her 92-year-old husband in former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral may be understood as the Queen’s attachment to the Thatcher era and her controversial policies during her 11-year premiership. Regarding the importance of Thatcher’s position and policies suffice it to say that the old British Queen during her reign of more than sixty years did not attend any funeral ceremony of her Prime Ministers except Thatcher’s.Many ask themselves, isn’t it the case that the Queen should be the guardian of Britain’s national values? So, while most people consider Thatcher era as the worst contemporary political period in their country, how could the Queen pour scorn on people and their values, holding a state-funded funeral and attending the event. The answer is simple. Thatcher was the British Queen’s Prime Minister and the guardian of Her Majesty’s values. War, suppression of social movements, close relations with racist regimes such as South Africa and Israel and many other counter values were basically the Queen’s acceptable values, to which Thatcher remained loyal and this time was the master’s turn to appreciate protection of such values in her servant’s death.
John Pilger: Dance on Thatcher's grave, but remember there has been a coup in Britain - Denying milk to poor kids was one of the first of her many acts to save England...The corruption and inhumanity under Thatcher knew no borders. When she came to power in 1979, Thatcher demanded a total ban on exports of milk to Vietnam. The American invasion had left a third of Vietnamese children malnourished. I witnessed many distressing sights, including infants going blind from a lack of vitamins. "I cannot tolerate this," said an anguished doctor in a Saigon paediatric hospital, as we looked at a dying boy. Oxfam and Save the Children had made clear to the British government the gravity of the emergency. An embargo led by the US had forced up the local price of a kilo of milk up to ten times that of a kilo of meat. Many children could have been restored with milk. Thatcher's ban held.
Thatcher offers one of the most egregious cases in recent history of a sociopath in power. - The legend of Thatcher portrays her as a self-made woman, a greengrocer’s daughter from Grantham. In reality, the emergence of Thatcher was the work of a formidable political syndicate. One of Thatcher’s most important handlers was by any measure Lord Victor Rothschild (1910-1990), the third Baron Rothschild. Lord Vic was nominally a Labour peer in the House of Lords, but much of his influence derived from his work between 1963 and 1970 as worldwide head of “research” - meaning intelligence - for Royal Dutch Shell, the policy flagship of the seven sisters oil cartel. During much of this time, Lord Vic was a key security adviser to Thatcher. For a number of years Lord Vic also ran the Central Policy Review Staff, the de facto think tank of the British government. Lord Vic was also closely associated with Sir Keith Joseph, a Tory government minister and Thatcher’s top political brain truster. Thatcher was for many years elected to parliament from the safe Conservative seat of Finchley. However, intelligence reports from the 1980s sometimes noted that Thatcher’s hold on this rotten borough or pocket borough had been consolidated with decisive help from Lord Vic.
The Irish parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade has sent an appeal to the Irish government from which the original demand of introducing visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials allegedly involved in Sergey Magnitsky’s death has been removed. - The foreign affairs and trade committee passed a resolution urging Irish leadership to express concern over the prison death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, the Irish Times said Thursday. But it dropped its earlier plans to call for an EU-wide blacklist on officials implicated in the case, similar to the one passed in the United States last year. Russian Embassy in Dublin said in March the blacklist could “have a negative influence” on the pending adoption agreement, though it later denied making a direct link between the two issues. Committee head Pat Breen dismissed allegations that the Russian stance amounted to blackmail, while Senator Jim Walsh, who proposed the blacklist, called the resolution a “compromise,” the Irish Times said.
Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_05_02/Irish-parliament-refuses-to-adopt-Magnitsky-List/
A breakthrough in the search for a cure for HIV will come ''within months'', researchers believe. - Danish scientists are expecting results showing that it will be possible to find a cure that is both affordable and can be provided to a large number of people. They are running clinical trials to test a ''novel strategy'' in which the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, is stripped from human DNA and destroyed by the immune system. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests and the scientists are now running human trials.
A lost ancient Egyptian city submerged beneath the sea 1,200 years ago is starting to reveal what life was like in the legendary port of Thonis-Heracleion.
For centuries it was thought to be a legend, a city of extraordinary wealth mentioned in Homer, visited by Helen of Troy and Paris, her lover, but apparently buried under the sea. In fact, Heracleion was true, and a decade after divers began uncovering its treasures, archaeologists have produced a picture of what life was like in the city in the era of the pharaohs. The city, also called Thonis, disappeared beneath the Mediterranean around 1,200 years ago and was found during a survey of the Egyptian shore at the beginning of the last decade. Now its life at the heart of trade routes in classical times are becoming clear, with researchers forming the view that the city was the main customs hub through which all trade from Greece and elsewhere in the Mediterranean entered Egypt.
They have discovered the remains of more than 64 ships buried in the thick clay and sand that now covers the sea bed. Gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone have also been found, hinting at the trade that went on. Giant 16 foot statues have been uncovered and brought to the surface while archaeologists have found hundreds of smaller statues of minor gods on the sea floor. Slabs of stone inscribed in both ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian have also been brought to the surface. Dozens of small limestone sarcophagi were also recently uncovered by divers and are believed to have once contained mummified animals, put there to appease the gods.
Dr Damian Robinson, director of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology at the University of Oxford, who is part of the team working on the site, said: “It is a major city we are excavating. “The site has amazing preservation. We are now starting to look at some of the more interesting areas within it to try to understand life there. “We are getting a rich picture of things like the trade that was going on there and the nature of the maritime economy in the Egyptian late period. There were things were coming in from Greece and the Phoenicians.
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