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Showing posts from September 4, 2014

Russian Food Import Ban Could Cost EU 5 Billion Euros a Year

Maxim Zmeyev / ReutersThe Russian food import ban announced in early August has left European exporters struggling to find new markets.

Russia's ban on imports of food from Europe, part of its response to EU sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis, could cost the European Union 5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) a year, according to an internal EU document.

Russia, which is the EU's second biggest food market after the United States, decreed the one-year ban on Aug. 6. on European fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meat, accounting for almost half of the bloc's food exports to Russia.

Big fruit and vegetable exporters such as Poland and the Netherlands are already feeling the impact of the embargo and the European Commission, the EU executive, is seeking ways to compensate farmers or find new markets for the food.

Germany, which has led the EU's decision to impose sanctions on Russia, is also suffering as one of the bloc's main meat and dairy exporters.

"The o…

Islamic Militants Killed 770 Iraqi Troops: Rights Group

Militants from the Islamic State group carried out a mass killing of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers captured when the extremists overran a military base north of Baghdad in June, a leading international watchdog said today.

The incident at Camp Speicher, an air base that previously served as a U.S. Military facility, was one of the worst atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State group in its lightning offensive that seized large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

According to Human Rights Watch, new evidence indicates the Islamic State fighters killed between 560 and 770 men captured at Camp Speicher, near the city of Tikrit a figure several times higher than what was initially reported.

"These are horrific and massive abuses, atrocities by the Islamic State, and on a scale that clearly rises to the crimes against humanity," Fred Abrahams, special HRW advisor, told media in Irbil today.

The al-Qaida-breakaway claimed in mid-June that it had "executed" about 1,700 soldi…

Jihadism and How it Could be Isolated, Contained and Defeated

By Alan Hart

 I must start by saying that Jihadism is my necessary headline shorthand for violent Islamic fundamentalism in all of its manifestations. In this article I'm going to ask and offer answers to two main questions. The first is - Where does this madness come from? I mean what is it, really, that gives birth and life to violent Islamic fundamentalism?

 In my analysis it is essentially the product of Muslim hurt, humiliation and anger plus, for many Muslims, the misery and despair of poverty (the absence of some or even all of the basic necessities for life with dignity).

 In that light those of our so-called leaders who believe violent Islamic fundamentalism can be eradicated with bombs and bullets either lack commonsense or are stupid.

 The hurt, humiliation and anger that gives birth and life to violent Islamic fundamentalism have two main causes.

One is the authoritarianism and corruption of regimes throughout the Arab and wider Muslim world plus their complicity by default…

The Ultima Irratio: On Germany’s decision to arm Iraqi Kurds

Mark Bergfeld is a writer and activist based in Cologne, Germany and London, UK.

In Germany, every school child knows that September 1, 1939 marks the date of Hitler’s invasion of Poland. It is also the day that peace activists and campaigners celebrate World Peace Day, with demonstrations all over Germany.

This year the German parliament ‘commemorated’ the beginning of World War II by debating whether to send armor-piercing weaponry to a battalion of 4000 Iraqi Kurds fighting ISIS.

This is not a historic coincidence. This is the logical conclusion of the continuous militarization of German foreign policy since the invasion of Kosovo in 1999, and the war in Afghanistan in 2001. As former chancellor Willy Brandt would have put it: The ultima irratio!

Merkel and four of her ministers had already decided to send weapons to Peshmerga fighters ahead of the parliamentary debate on Sunday evening. For this, she did not require approval from the German Bundestag. Seemingly, Merkel and co. did …

Canadians involved in kidnappings, torture of US journalists – report

Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra members gesture while posing on a tank on Al-Khazan frontline of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province (Reuters / Hamid Khatib)

At least three Canadian nationals, who joined an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group in Syria, were responsible for holding and brutally interrogating US journalists Theo Curtis and Matt Schrier, CBC reported.

 The identities of the three are not known, nor have they been captured, according to Canadian media.

Citing sources, CBC said the three Canadians interrogated the US journalists to obtain computer passwords and PINs. The captors stole from the journalists’ banking accounts and wrote cruel letters to family members pretending to be the hostages.

They also used credit cards to buy electronic equipment on eBay.

Curtis and Schrier were held in captivity between 2011 and 2013. Schrier escaped from his kidnappers last year, while Curtis was released by the jihadist Al-Nusra Front group last month.

The Canadian govern…