Daily Archives: October 27, 2016

Honshu, Japan


Honshu, Japan

Pablo Picasso ” Periodo blu ” (Blue-Nude-Oil-Painting)


Pablo Picasso ” Periodo blu ” (Blue-Nude-Oil-Painting)

Cetatea FĂGĂRAŞULUI 


Cetatea FĂGĂRAŞULUI

Today’s Holiday:Czechoslovak Independence Day


Today’s Holiday:
Czechoslovak Independence Day

The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded on October 28, 1918, when the National Committee in Prague proclaimed independence from the Austrian Hapsburg emperors and took over the administration of an independent Czechoslovak state. Independence Day was widely celebrated in Czechoslovakia until the Communists seized power there in 1948, but the day continued to be recognized in the US with special banquets, addresses, religious services, and cultural programs. Communities with large Czech or Slovak populations may also mark the occasion.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday:Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837)


Today’s Birthday:
Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837)

Tokugawa was the 15th and last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. The Tokugawa family held the shogunate and controlled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Beginning at the time of Yoshinobu’s birth, there were numerous peasant uprisings and samurai unrest. Undermined by increasing foreign incursions, the Tokugawa were overthrown by an attack of provincial forces from Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa, who restored the Meiji emperor to power. Yoshinobu resigned in 1867. How did he spend his retirement?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History:Statue of Liberty Is Dedicated (1886)


This Day in History:
Statue of Liberty Is Dedicated (1886)

The Statue of Liberty, originally known as Liberty Enlightening the World, was proposed by French historian Édouard Laboulaye in 1865 to commemorate the alliance of France with the American colonies during the American Revolution. Designed by French sculptor F. A. Bartholdi, the statue is 152 ft (46 m) high and is possibly the tallest metal statue ever made. It was shipped to New York in 1885, assembled, and dedicated in 1886. What New York tradition originated during the dedication?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day:George Eliot


Quote of the Day:
George Eliot

Affection is the broadest basis of good in life.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day:Dry Quicksand


Article of the Day:
Dry Quicksand

Considered a mythic substance until recently, dry quicksand is loose sand that behaves like ordinary quicksand but contains no water and operates in a different manner. Though accounts of whole caravans being swallowed up by the substance have been discounted as folklore, researchers have demonstrated that aerating fine sand reduces its bulk density and creates a dry quicksand that could envelop an entire vehicle. How did fear of dry quicksand affect the planning of the Apollo moon missions?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

word of the day: camion


word of the day: camion

Definition: (noun) A low heavy horse cart without sides; used for haulage.
Synonyms: dray
Usage: An empty camion came bumping down the cobblestone street, pulled by two exhausted horses.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Watch “Meiko | Bad Things” on YouTube


BBC News: Snapchat: Embarrassing parents and social media


Snapchat: Embarrassing parents and social media – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-37772716

BBC News: Hamburg gang rape teenagers’ suspended sentences spark anger


Hamburg gang rape teenagers’ suspended sentences spark anger – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37788377

France 24 : UNESCO approves divisive resolution on Jerusalem


UNESCO approves divisive resolution on Jerusalem

http://f24.my/2eLBBf5

The US ambassador to UNESCO condemned as “inflammatory” a resolution approved Wednesday by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee on the status of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls.

In Wednesday’s secret ballot, the international body agreed to retain the site on the list of endangered world heritage and criticized Israelfor its continuous refusal to let the body’s experts access Jerusalem‘s holy sites to determine their conservation status.

The document refers to the Jerusalem site that Jews called Temple Mount only by its Arab name — a significant semantic decision also adopted by UNESCO’s Executive Board last week that triggered condemnation from Israel and its allies.

“This item should have been defeated … These politicized and one-sided resolutions are damaging the credibility of UNESCO,” US Ambassador Crystal Nix Hines said in a statement to The Associated Press. “These resolutions are continuously one-sided and inflammatory.”

The resolution was passed by the World Heritage Committee’s 21 member countries. Ten countries voted for, two against, 8 abstained and one was absent. Neither Israel, the US nor Palestine is on the World Heritage Committee.

Israel suspended ties with UNESCO earlier this month over a similar resolution.

Elias Sanbar, the Palestinian ambassador to UNESCO, fired back at those upset with the resolution, which was sponsored by his delegation.

“What Israel wants, in fact, is to put politics in religion. This is the most dangerous thing that is happening now in UNESCO,” Sanbar told the AP. “They are politicizing religion and this is very dangerous.”

The resolution is the latest of several measures at UNESCO over decades that Israelis see as evidence of ingrained anti-Israel bias within the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

The site in Jerusalem has been on UNESCO’s endangered list since 1982.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list is known throughout the world for its work in highlighting sites of historic and cultural significance, and endangered global heritage.

(AP)

France 24 : 2016 now deadliest year for migrants in Mediterranean


2016 now deadliest year for migrants in Mediterranean

http://f24.my/2evwHUV

The UN refugee agency said Wednesday that at least 3,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year in an attempt to reach Europe, making 2016 the deadliest year on record.

“We can confirm that at least 3,800 people have been reported dead or missing in theMediterranean Sea so far this year, making the death toll in 2016 the highest ever recorded,” UN refugee agency spokesman William Spindler told AFP in an email, as the figures passed last year’s mark of 3,771.

The sombre milestone was reached despite a significant decline in migrant crossing this year compared to 2015.

Last year, more than a million people reached Europe via the Mediterranean, but crossings so far this year remain below 330,000.

Numbers began dropping dramatically following a March deal between Turkey and the European Union to stem the migrant tide on the Greek islands.

The most dangerous route has been between Libya and Italy, where the United Nations has recorded one death for every 47 arrivals this year.

For the much shorter Turkey to Greece route, the likelihood of perishing was one in 88, UNHCR said.

The agency explained that death rates have spiked despite nearly a two-thirds drop in total migration because smugglers are “often using lower quality vessels — flimsy inflatable rafts that do not last the journey.”

Smugglers also appear to be packing increasing numbers of people on boats, possibly to drive up profits, UNHCR further said.

Shipwrecks involving more people have reduced rescue rates, the agency added, also noting that several disasters this year have been linked to bad weather.

(AFP)

France 24 : National Geographic’s iconic ‘Afghan girl’ arrested with fake papers in Pakistan


National Geographic’s iconic ‘Afghan girl’ arrested with fake papers in Pakistan

http://f24.my/2evJsik

An Afghan woman immortalised on a celebrated National Geographic magazine cover as a green-eyed 12-year-old girl was arrested Wednesday for living in Pakistan on fraudulent identity papers.

The haunting image of Sharbat Gula, taken in aPakistan refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry in the 1980s, became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.

Her arrest highlights the desperate measures many Afghans are willing to take to avoid returning to their war-torn homeland as Pakistan cracks down on undocumented foreigners.

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Gula for fraud following a two-year investigation on her and her husband, who has absconded.

Investigators, who have uncovered thousands of fraud cases over the last decade, launched a probe into her application shortly after she procured the card.

“FIA arrested Sharbat Gula, an Afghan woman, for obtaining a fake ID card,” Shahid Ilyas, an FIA official, told AFP.

Ilyas said the authorities were also seeking three National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) officials found responsible for issuing Pakistan’s national identity card to Gula, who have been at large since the fraud was uncovered.

He said that Gula faces seven to 14 years in prison and a fine of $3,000-$5,000 if convicted.

In reality she is unlikely to serve such a harsh sentence — many Afghans who have been convicted in similar cases have been deported before they could be sent to prison.

Officials say Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in Peshawar in April 2014, using the name Sharbat Bibi.

Thousands of Afghan refugees have managed to dodge Pakistan’s computerised system to get an identity card.

The photo attached to her application featured the same piercing green eyes seen in McCurry’s famous image, only older.

The original photograph was taken in 1984 in a refugee camp in northwest Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

McCurry later tracked her down, after a 17-year search, to a remote Afghan village in 2002 where she was married to a baker, and the mother of three daughters.

Uncertain future

Pakistan has for decades provided safe haven for millions of Afghans who fled their country after the Soviet invasion of 1979.

The country hosts 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, according to UNHCR, making it the third-largest refugee hosting nation in the world.

The agency also estimates a further one million unregistered refugees are in the country.

Since 2009, Islamabad has repeatedly pushed back a deadline for them to return, but fears are growing that the latest cutoff date in March 2017 will be final.

Meanwhile refugees are increasingly worried about their future in Pakistan as the country cracks down on those who have obtained fake ID cards.

Officials say NADRA has so far reverified 91 million ID cards and detected 60,675 fraudulent cards.

A NADRA official told AFP that 2,473 foreigners, mostly Afghans, had voluntarily surrendered their ID cards which were obtained fraudulently.

Some 18 NADRA officials were under investigation for issuing ID cards to foreigners and eight were arrested, the official said.

More than 350,000 Afghan refugees have returned home from Pakistan this year, UN data shows, with the torrent of people crossing the border expected to continue.

They face an uncertain future in an Afghanistan still at war and already overwhelmed by so many internally displaced people fleeing fighting that officials warn of a humanitarian crisis.

(AFP)

France 24 : Protesting police officers converge on French parliament


Protesting police officers converge on French parliament

http://f24.my/2evQUtQ

Hundreds of police officers converged on the National Assembly in central Paris on Wednesday to protest an ever-increasing workload, outdated equipment and rules restricting their ability to defend themselves.

The protest follows almost 10 days of nightly demonstrations in cities across France, spontaneously organised on social media by officers who view both the government and the police hierarchy as “out of touch”.

At the end of the day’s protest, the government promised an extra €250 million, and a review of officers’ rights to defend themselves when under attack. 

Earlier, a small group of protesting officers, off duty from their normal beat in Versailles, told FRANCE 24 they were “at the end of their tether” after “decades of neglect by changing governments that have eroded our ability to function properly in a job we love”.

“We work in filthy, run-down police stations, we have to provide much of our own equipment – business cards and even pens. We don’t have up-to-date communications or radio equipment and we are expected to rely almost completely on our private mobile phones,” said Alexandre Langlois, standing in the crowd of some 600 off-duty officers on the Pont de la Concorde outside the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

“Above all, we are restricted in what we are allowed to do to defend ourselves when we are under attack,” he said.

Molotov cocktails

The wave of protests that began 10 days ago was sparked by an attack on four officers by a gang armed with Molotov cocktails. Two officers were seriously wounded, and one of them remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Langois’ colleague Nicolas explained that under their rules of engagement – identical to civilian rules governing self-defence – the officer had “probably been too afraid to use his weapon”.

“It’s what you would call a Catch-22,” he said. “When someone is holding a petrol bomb and is ready to throw it, if you use your weapon you are in big trouble. If the petrol bomb lands on you before you can use your weapon, you are also in big trouble because you are being burned. So what’s the point of being armed?”

“I have never once used my sidearm in my 10 years on the job, and I hope I never have to,” he added, to vigorous agreement from his colleagues standing on either side of him.

“I don’t want to have the kinds of powers officers have in the US – none of us do. But we serve to protect the public. We need to feel that we too are protected, and that we can protect ourselves.”

Not about the money

Jessy, part of the group gathered on Pont de la Concorde amid some 600 fellow officers, insisted their protest was “not about money; we don’t want a euro more”.

“But I shouldn’t be expected to have to buy my own bullet-proof vest, which I have done, and as a keeper of the peace I should be allowed to protect myself,” he said.

They also insisted that their protest was non-political. The small group of Versailles officers jeered at the few politicians, mostly representing the conservative opposition Les Républicains and far-right National Front parties, milling around with the protesting officers and lining up to speak to journalists covering the event.

Several of these politicians – conspicuous in the red, white and blue sashes that French officials sometimes wear – denied that they were there to gain political capital, with Les Républicains deputy Laure de la Raudière saying she had joined the protests simply to “show my support”. They chimed in enthusiastically as officers sang the Marseillaise national anthem.

Government to speak with unions

The protesting officers were also proud that their protest movement, organised almost entirely on social media, did not have the backing of their trade unions until this week.

“Officers here are fed up with the inactivity of their unions,” Police Brigadier Sébastien Jallamion told FRANCE 24. “The legitimacy of the grievances is all ours.”

Nevertheless, it will be the police unions – who belatedly called for members to join Wednesday’s protest – who will be received by the government this evening.

Late on Wednesday, the protesting officers were vindicated when Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that the police would receive an extra €250 million in funding for updated equipment, and promised an inquiry into police officers’ rights to self defence. 

Unions hailed the announcement as “very significant”, but warned that “concrete measures will have to be made quickly”.

A poll published Wednesday by French daily Le Figaro showed that 90% of French citizens support the police protests.

France 24 : Clashes rock Turkish city after Kurdish mayors’ arrest


Clashes rock Turkish city after Kurdish mayors’ arrest

http://f24.my/2ewgSNY

Turkish police clashed with protesters in Diyarbakir on Wednesday, using tear gas and water cannon to prevent them demonstrating against the detention of the Kurdish-majority city’s co-mayors.

Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli were taken into custody on Tuesday night in a surprise move against the leaders of a city hit by renewed fighting between Turkish forces and members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK).

The two were detained as part of a “terrorism” probe, security officials said. The Diyarbakir prosecutor said in a statement that Kisanak and Anli were accused of having links to the PKK and “inciting violence”.

Hundreds of protesters tried to march to the town hall in Diyarbakir, the largest city in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey. Some threw rocks at police, an AFP correspondent said.

At least 25 protesters were now in custody, security sources told AFP.

Internet access in Diyarbakir has been out of action since the morning, according to the correspondent.

Dogan news agency reported that from 10:30am (0730 GMT), other southeastern and eastern cities like Batman, Van, Elazig, Gaziantep and Kilis also could not access the internet.

‘No to intimidation’

Officers responded using batons, teargas and water cannon to repel the protesters, the correspondent said.

“The pressure will not intimidate us,” demonstrators chanted.

The Diyarbakir governor’s office warned that any demonstrations on Wednesday were “unlawful” and would not be allowed, saying that since August 15, public gatherings and meetings were banned in the city.

Rallies were planned elsewhere in Turkey, including Istanbul — in the city’s popular Istiklal Avenue.

A group of around 50 people tried to hold a sit-in on the avenue as they carried a large banner saying: “Municipalities belong to the people — people cannot be taken over,” an AFP photographer said.

But police refused to allow the protest and threatened to intervene, the photographer said, adding the group chanted: “We are shoulder-to-shoulder against fascism”, and “If you are quiet, you will be next”.

The prosecutor said Kisanak was accused of being a member of the PKK, while both individuals had made speeches in support of the rebel group, they alleged.

They are also alleged to have allowed the use of municipal vehicles for the “funerals of terrorist members”, the prosecutor added, referring to the PKK.

The prosecutor denied the co-mayors access to lawyers for five days, Dogan news agency reported, which is permitted under the state of emergency imposed after the July 15 failed coup.

The pro-Kurdish leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP) described the move against the mayors as “extremely unlawful and arbitrary”.

In a statement, the HDP called on the international community not to remain silent in the face of “groundless and fabricated accusations”.

‘Arms must be laid down’

A spokesman for Council of Europe chief Thorbjorn Jagland said the detentions were a “matter of particular concern” and would be asking Turkey, a member of the rights watchdog, for the “necessary explanations”.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn described their detention as “worrying” in a statement on Wednesday.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK first launched an insurgency in the southeast in 1984.

A two-and-a-half-year ceasefire collapsed last July which led to almost daily attacks by the PKK against security forces while Ankara launched military operations in the southeast to rid urban areas of fighters.

Last month, 24 mayors suspected of links to the PKK were suspended and replaced with officials close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

(AFP)
 

Anti-Maduro protests turn violent in Venezuela


Anti-Maduro protests turn violent in Venezuela

http://f24.my/2eO4YNW

Venezuela’s increasingly militant opposition stepped up its push to oust leftist leader Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday with protests that drew hundreds of thousands but also saw unrest leading to dozens of injuries and arrests.

In an incident sure to inflame the already polarized situation, a policeman died after being shot on Wednesday night in central Miranda state.

The government blamed opposition activists clashing with security forces on a highway out of Caracas. The local police force of Miranda, whose governor is opposition leader Henrique Capriles, confirmed the death but did not link it to protesters.

Enraged by last week’s suspension of their push for a referendum to remove Maduro and determined to end 17 years of socialism in the South American OPEC nation, Venezuela‘s opposition has sharply ramped up its tactics in recent days.

After launching a political trial against Maduro on Tuesday in the National Assembly, the opposition coalition held nationwide marches dubbed “Takeover of Venezuela” on Wednesday.

“This government is going to fall!” crowds chanted, many wearing white and waving national flags as they congregated at nearly 50 sites across the country.

“This needs to keep growing so that the government understands once and for all that we’re doing this for real,” said two-time presidential candidate Capriles, blaming authorities for what he said were over 120 people injured and some 147 protesters detained.

Clashes occurred in several cities outside Caracas, witnesses said, including the Andean city of Merida and the volatile western town of San Cristobal that was an epicenter of violence during 2014 anti-Maduro protests.

Opposition activists and student leaders said there were at least five protesters reportedly struck by bullets in Venezuela’s second-largest city Maracaibo and San Cristobal.

Rights group Penal Forum said there were over 140 people detained nationwide. The government gave no figures on injuries or detentions.

Coalition leaders called for a national strike for Friday, and a Nov. 3 march to the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, unless the election board allows the referendum.

Maduro, the unpopular 53-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez who has presided over an unprecedented economic crisis, accuses the opposition of seeking a coup with U.S. help and has vowed there will be no plebiscite on his rule.

“They are desperate, they have received the order from the north to destroy the Venezuelan revolution,” he told a counter-march of red-shirted government loyalists.

Despite sitting on the world’s biggest oil reserves, Venezuela is in the throes of a punishing recession that has many poor families skipping meals amid scarce food and triple-digit inflation.

Foes say Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who narrowly won election after Chavez’s death in 2013, is an incompetent autocrat who is to blame for the economic problems.

“I’m not scared of protesting. It’s the food lines that scare me, that’s where you see all the misery,” said health worker Auly Gonzalez, 36, as she and hundreds of others in the Punto Fijo city on a Caribbean peninsula marched to a naval base.

Talks plan falters

Maduro says low oil prices and a U.S.-led “economic war” against him are responsible for the recession, and has vowed to stand firm. “Maduro is not leaving!” several thousand supporters chanted at the government rally.

In apparent tactics to impede the opposition demonstrations, authorities set up roadblocks and closed some underground metro stations in Caracas. Reuters journalists in several cities reported big crowds at the opposition rallies, especially in the capital, collectively numbering hundreds of thousands.

Wary of trouble, many businesses stayed shut and some parents kept children away from school. In San Cristobal, masked protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs in clashes with security forces and attacked the local headquarters of the electoral council in an attempt to burn it down, the body said.

Just back from a tour of major oil-producing countries plus meetings with the Pope and U.N. Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres, Maduro said his opponents were trying to reprise a brief 2002 putsch against Chavez.

“In Venezuela there will neither be a coup d’etat nor a gringo intervention,” Maduro roared to supporters.

With Venezuela’s key oil sector under government control and the economy in a tailspin anyway, the opposition’s planned strike would be unlikely to have a major financial impact.

Opposition protests two years ago led to 43 deaths, including among security officials and government and opposition supporters. As a result, some Venezuelans are wary of demonstrations or see them as futile.

Venezuela’s poor have to prioritize the all-consuming task of finding affordable food, while many remain skeptical of the opposition, which has a reputation for elitism and whose internal squabbles have for years been a boon for “Chavismo.”

Maduro convened a special Committee for the Defense of the Nation at the presidential palace to analyze the National Assembly’s actions against him and a tentatively scheduled dialogue with the opposition this weekend.

National Assembly head Henry Ramos, a veteran politician who swaps insults with Maduro almost daily, declined an invitation to attend. “Here’s his chair, empty again,” said Maduro, urging participation in talks supported by the Vatican, regional bloc Unasur and various ex-heads of state.

Opposition leaders, however, said they would not attend talks until the government allowed the referendum to proceed.

(REUTERS)
 

France 24 : The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought and expression to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, two women from Iraq’s Yazidi community who suffered attack and persecution by the Islamic State group.


Yazidi women enslaved by IS group awarded EU human rights prize

http://f24.my/2eyza0G

The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought and expression to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, two women from Iraq’s Yazidi community who suffered attack and persecution by the Islamic State group.

Murad and Bashar were among thousands of women and girls abducted and held as sexual slaves by Islamic State group fighters after they rounded up Yazidis in their village of Kocho, near Sinjar in northwest Iraq, in the summer of 2014.

Murad has also called for the recognition of the massacre of Yazidis as genocide.

>> Watch more FRANCE24.com: ‘Yazidi former sex slave recalls IS group hell in Iraq’

The Yazidi are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. The Islamic State group considers the minority as devil-worshippers.

IS insurgents overran Sinjar in August 2014, systematically killing, capturing and enslaving thousands of Yazidi inhabitants.

Several mass Yazidi graves have been uncovered in the area north of Sinjar mountain, which was taken from IS in Dec. 2014 Kurdish forces retook Sinjar town in November 2014 in a two-day offensive backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition.

U.N. investigators said in a report in June that Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the religious community of 400,000 people through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

Such a designation, rare under international law, would mark the first recognized genocide carried out by non-state actors, rather than a state or paramilitaries acting on its behalf.

(REUTERS)

Mosul offensive kills up to 900 jihadists, US says


Mosul offensive kills up to 900 jihadists, US says

http://f24.my/2eQgcRZ

The United States said Thursday that up to 900 Islamic State group jihadists have been killed in the offensive to retake Iraq’s Mosul, as camps around the city filled with fleeing civilians.

Iraqis who fled their homes expressed joy at escaping the IS group’s brutal rule as they were given shelter and assistance, in some cases reuniting with relatives they had not seen in more than two years.

The offensive, launched on October 17, is seeing tens of thousands of Iraqi fighters advancing on Mosul from the south, east and north in a bid to retake the last major Iraqi city under IS group control.

Backed with air and ground support from a US-led coalition, federal forces allied with Kurdish peshmerga fighters have taken a string of towns and villages in a cautious but steady advance.

General Joseph Votel, who heads the US military’s Central Command, told AFP on Thursday that the offensive was inflicting a heavy toll on the jihadists.

“Just in the operations over the last week and a half associated with Mosul, we estimate they’ve probably killed about 800-900 Islamic State fighters,” Votel said in an interview.

There are between 3,500 and 5,000 IS jihadists in Mosul and up to another 2,000 in the broader area, according to US estimates.

The offensive has so far been concentrated in towns and villages around Mosul, with Iraqi forces later expected to breach city limits and engage the jihadists in street-to-street fighting.

Families reunited

Aid workers have warned of a major humanitarian crisis when fighting begins in earnest for Mosul, which is home to more than a million people, but thousands have already been fleeing surrounding areas.

Iraq’s ministry of displacement and migration said Thursday that more than 11,700 people had been displaced since the operation began.

“There’s been quite a dramatic upturn in the last few days. As the Iraqi troops get closer to Mosul, more people are getting displaced, there are more populated areas,” said Karl Schembri, regional media adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

At a camp in Khazir, about mid-way between Mosul and the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil, Massud Ismail Hassan peered through a chainlink fence, looking for family members as peshmerga fighters registered the displaced.

“Once all these procedures are finished we will be able to give them food and drink and blankets we brought with us,” he said.

Other families had already found each other, and tearful relatives clutched hands through the links of the fence.

Saddam Dahham, who lived under IS control in a village near Mosul for more than two years, fled to Khazir with his wife and their three children.

“We were not allowed to smoke, to use phones, not allowed to watch TV and we had to let our beards grow long,” the 36-year-old said.

One of the first things he did after arriving at the camp was joyfully shave the “heavy thing dangling from my chin,” Dahham said.

“I’m finally going to resume a normal life,” the former truck driver said.

Not enough room at camps

Schembri said the Norwegian Refugee Council, other aid agencies and the United Nations were planning for 200,000 people to be displaced in the next few days, though it may not reach that figure.

If anything close to 200,000 people are displaced in the immediate future, there will be a major shortage of places in camps.

“In terms of… camp facilities, there are only spaces available for 60,000” people, Schembri said.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused Kurdish authorities of arbitrarily detaining fleeing men and boys over 15 for indefinite periods as they checked them for possible ties to IS.

Kurdish authorities “are ignoring basic due process guarantees,” said Lama Fakih, HRW’s deputy Middle East director. “No one should be detained unless there is reason to suspect them personally of criminal activity.”

After seizing control of large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in mid-2014, IS declared a cross-border “caliphate”, imposed its harsh interpretation of Islamic law and committed widespread atrocities.

Its rule was especially harsh for religious minorities and on Thursday two Yazidi women activists who survived a nightmare ordeal at the hands of IS won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize.

Nadia Murad and Lamia Haji Bashar have become figureheads for the effort to protect the Yazidis, against whom IS pursued a brutal campaign of massacres as well as enslavement and rape.

(AFP)

BBC News: Italy earthquakes: Widespread damage in historic towns


Italy earthquakes: Widespread damage in historic towns – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37785853

Today’s Holiday:St. Vincent and the Grenadines 


Today’s Holiday:
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 

Independence and Thanksgiving Day
A group of islands in the West Indies, St. Vincent and the Grenadines gained independence from Britain on October 27, 1979, and its citizens celebrate their freedom with this national holiday.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday:Sylvia Plath (1932)


Today’s Birthday:
Sylvia Plath (1932)

American poet Sylvia Plath excelled as a writer from an early age and published her first poem at eight. She attempted suicide while in college but underwent electroshock treatment and seemingly recovered from her breakdown. In 1956, she wed poet Ted Hughes, whom she met while attending Cambridge on a Fulbright grant. Shortly after they separated in 1962, Plath committed suicide. Her literary reputation grew rapidly after her death, and she became the first poet to win what prize posthumously?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History:Italian Public Administrator Enrico Mattei Dies in Plane Crash (1962)


This Day in History:
Italian Public Administrator Enrico Mattei Dies in Plane Crash (1962)

After World War II, Mattei was given the task of dismantling the Italian Petroleum Agency, a Fascist state enterprise. Instead, Mattei enlarged and reorganized it into the Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI), or National Fuel Trust. Under his direction, ENI developed large deposits of natural gas in Italy and negotiated important oil concessions in the Middle East. Mattei became a powerful figure in Italy before he died in a plane crash in 1962. What conspiracy theories exist about his death?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Quote of the Day:George Eliot


Quote of the Day:
George Eliot

All the learnin’ my father ever paid for was a bit o’ birch at one end and the alphabet at th’ other.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day:Liver-Eating Johnson


Article of the Day:
Liver-Eating Johnson

John “Liver-Eating” Johnson was a so-called “mountain man” of the 19th-century American West. After fighting in the Mexican-American War, the hunter and trapper traveled west to Wyoming, where he became a legend. According to some accounts, Johnson’s Native American wife was killed by members of the Crow tribe in 1847. He spent the next 20 years exacting his revenge, earning his nickname by supposedly cutting out and eating the liver of each man he killed. Did he ever make peace with the Crow?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day:calumny


Word of the Day:
calumny

Definition: (noun) A false statement maliciously made to injure another’s reputation.
Synonyms: aspersion, defamation, denigration, slander
Usage: When it became clear that he could not win the election any other way, the candidate resorted to calumny and dirty tricks.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Image

The Wattled Jacana, a wader who is a resident breeder from western Panama and Trinidad south through most of South America east of the Andes (Photo by Ozan Kilic Wikimedia Commons)


“Poo-wish-ke-ja-le-kiss.” Navajo. Painted Desert, Arizona. ca 1900. Photo by Frederick Monsen.


“Poo-wish-ke-ja-le-kiss.” Navajo. Painted Desert, Arizona. ca 1900. Photo by Frederick Monsen.

Two Feathers. Flathead. Montana. 1915.


Two Feathers. Flathead. Montana. 1915.

Vincent Van Gogh – Seine with moored boats, spring (1887)


Vincent Van Gogh – Seine with moored boats, spring (1887)

Wisdom comes around so rarely!


Wisdom comes around so rarely!