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So Great Britain has withdrawn from the European Union, David Cameron will resign by October, and stocks tumbled. I have no opinion right now, just some questions, as I'm just now hearing about it.
First, is this really an earth-shattering event? What changes?
In principle, nothing changes immediately. Britons remain EU citizens and business continues as before. In practice, many believe trade, investment and political decisions will quickly anticipate British departure from the bloc. The EU could also face a Britain breaking apart as europhile Scots plan another push for independence and seek to join the EU on their own.
EU leaders and the heads of EU institutions in Brussels have delivered statements that broadly stress a mantra of Three Rs: Regret - at losing nearly a fifth of the EU economy and more of its military and global clout; Respect - for the will of the British people; and Resolve - to keep the other 27 together. They also reminded Britain that it remains a full member for the time being, with all the rights and obligations that entails.
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Ten of at least 15 convicts facing the firing squad at the Nusakambangan prison island in Central Java’s Cilacap regency are foreign citizens. ....In a rare move, police have revealed that among the foreign citizens are four Chinese, one Pakistani, two Nigerians, two Senegalese and one Zimbabwean.
Not on the list: Filipino drug convict Mary Jane Veloso and Frenchman Serge Areski Atlaoui, both of whom got temporary reprieves at the 11th hour last year, and British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford. [More...]
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Brussels was virtually shut down on Tuesday after explosions rocked its main airport and a subway station in the heart of the city. The attacks occurred four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected to be directly involved in the Paris attacks on Nov. 13.
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The Somalian Government has banned Christmas and New Years' celebrations on the ground they have nothing to do with Islam.
"We warn against celebration of Christmas, which is only for Christians," Sheikh Mohamed Kheyrow, director of Somalia’s ministry of religion, said on state radio. "This is a matter of faith. The Christmas holiday and its drum beatings have nothing to with Islam."
He said the ministry has sent letters to the police, national security intelligence and officials in the capital Mogadishu instructing them to "prevent Christmas celebrations."
al-Shabab, which controlled Mogadishu until 2011, used to do the same thing. Since Somalia is almost entirely Muslim, what's behind the new ban? It's not entirely clear, but one theory: Fear of attacks.[More...]
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Indonesia wants to build a prison for condemned drug traffickers on an island surrounded and guarded by crocodiles.
The proposal is the pet project of anti-drugs chief Budi Waseso, who plans to visit various parts of the archipelago in his search for reptiles to guard the jail.
"We will place as many crocodiles as we can there. I will search for the most ferocious type of crocodile,” he was quoted as saying by local news website Tempo.
Waseso said that crocodiles would be better at preventing drug traffickers from escaping prison as they could not be bribed – unlike human guards. “You can’t bribe crocodiles. You can’t convince them to let inmates escape,” he said.
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A group of 20 tourists, from Britain, South Africa, India and other places have been deported from China for watching video clips promoting terrorism in their hotel room. China says they were terrorism clips.
The group, which included a 68 and 74 year old couple from London were on day 30 of a 47 day tour. They had visited the Genghis Kahn mauseleum in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. The next day they went to the airport to fly to the next leg of their trip (Xian), when they were detained and ultimately deported.
"The group is a mixture of multi-faith men and women from Islamic, Christian and Hindu religions who knew each other well and had travelled the world together in the past, including Israel and the USA.
What they had actually watched (not that it should make a difference what they watch in the privacy of their hotel room): a documentary on Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. [More...]
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Lebanon's Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi has announced the arrest of five members of the Internal Security Forces allegedly responsible for the torture of Islamist prisoners at Roumieh prison. Videos of the torture were leaked Saturday, enraging the world.
Families of the inmates have been protesting conditions and treatment of the inmates for months. A Lebanese political leader said in April Romieh was worse than Abu Ghraib.
ISIS fanboys on Twitter are very upset about the torture. They urge retaliation and have posted the photos and names of the guards allegedly responsible.
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Convicted drug offender Frenchman Serge Atlaoui has lost his appeal challenging the denial of clemency. He was scheduled to be executed with Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan and six others in April, but the date was pushed back because of his pending appeal.
Indonesia says it will schedule his execution after Ramadan is over in mid July. [More...]
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A court in Ireland has refused to extradite accused terrorist Ali Charaf Damache to the United States finding that the conditions of Supermax are overly harsh and would violate his rights under Ireland's constitution. The Court ordered him freed.
Damache was allegedly part of the 2009 plot to kill Danish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had negatively depicted the prophet Muhammad. He is also the guy who enticed Jamie Paulin-Ramirez to marry him and travel from Colorado to Ireland. She is serving 8 years for providing material support to terrorists. She also allowed him to train her 10 year old son. [More...]
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Saudi Arabia is seeking to hire executioners for the implementation of Shariah Law. Here's the application (use google translate). It refers to them as "Perpetrators of Retribution."
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Facing mounting criticism for helping Indonesia execute Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police held a press conference today to discuss the AFP's role in the arrest of the Bali Nine. [More....]
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Indonesia President Joko Widodo, already getting justly raked over the coals of international opinion, isn't doing any better at home. The editorial in the Jakarta Globe yesterday, hours before the executions, concludes he was hoodwinked by his aides (which doesn't say much for his leadership ability) and that the executions are not in Indonesia's best interest:
With regards to the planned executions, we doubt that such action is really aimed at creating deterrence. We are afraid that it was born out of political strategy of people surrounding Joko, and the president might be only a victim of his aides who provided him with false data and arguments.
It goes on to oppose the executions and say they have nothing to do with the problem of drugs in Indonesia: [More...]
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Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Noer Ali says Indonesia used 1,400 police personnel to secure the executions of the 8 non-violent drug offenders yesterday. This doesn't include military personnel who were also involved.
As I've written before, Indonesia was obsessed with security, to the point where they used four fighter jets armed with sidewinder missiles and a fully equipped navy warship to move the two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from one island to another. [More...]
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Indonesia President Joko Widodo is in the doghouse. Leaders all over the world are condemning Indonesia's executions today.
Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott has recalled their Ambassador to Indonesia. [More...]
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Update: Thumbing its nose at the world, Indonesia executed eight drug offenders tonight, including two models of rehabilitation, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso was spared, but only temporarily, after the woman who recruited her to act as a drug courier gave herself up to police in the Philippines. Her government said she was the victim of human trafficking and today said she is needed as a witness against her recruiter. Indonesia says her execution has been temporarily delayed so she can testify against the trafficker. [More...]
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