2015 Film

A poignant film directed by 36-year-old Yared Zeleke and Ethiopia’s first entry in France’s prestigious Cannes International Film Festival, warmly received at its première, was shot in the highlands and forests of northern and central Ethiopia. Lamb tells the story of nine-year-old Ephraim (Rediat Amare) and his beloved pet, a sheep named Chuni. The animal follows Ephraim around like a devoted dog, and plays the role of best friend, albeit one who can only say “ba-ah”.

Being  raised by strong and beautiful Ethiopian women, such as 36-year-old Yared Zeleke his grandmother, the film is dedicated to the director’s grandmother, and women are portrayed sympathetically.

In 2015 there were no films which could get me to drive many kilometres to go to a cinema. At home I was pleased to find some very good films, edited and distributed before 2015.

Thomas Vinterberg who made his name in 1998 with Festen (aka The Celebration), one of those family reunion dramas that culminate in savage blood-letting, with his 2nd film, made in 2012, screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and competed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival where Mads Mikkelsen (le Chiffre, Casino Royale, Hannibal series) won the Best Actor Award for his role, got many caught to the screen. In an idyllic rural Denmark, in a small tight-knit, lower middle-class community a man becomes the target of mass hysteria after being wrongly accused of sexually abusing a child in his kindergarten class. With good reason Jagten (the Hunt) won also the 2013 Nordic Council Film Prize and was selected as the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards making the final nomination, and was nominated in the same category at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards.

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Monsieur lazhar.jpgAn other film about a teacher is the one were teacher and novelist François Bégaudeau plays a version of himself in a very touching film where at a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.

The 2011 Canadian French-language drama film directed by Philippe Falardeau “Monsieur Lazhar” or “the Teacher” brings the clashes between culture and between the way people can cope with trauma’s. Developed from Bashir Lazhar, a one-character play by Évelyne de la Chenelière Mohamed Saïd Fellag as Bachir Lazhar has a marvelous cast around him who managed in  28 days of shooting, a marvelous product which for the first time in the history of Canadian cinema brought, alongside the Polish-Canadian co-production In Darkness, two films with Canadian connections as finalists for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in the same year, at the 84th Academy Awards.

Monsieur Lazhar was the most rewarded film at Quebec’s own Jutra Film Awards, winning seven out of nine categories for which it was nominated, a finalist in the most categories at the Jutra awards. It also won the City of Toronto Award as the Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

At Canada’s Genie Awards it gained six Genie Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Achievement in Direction, and Achievement in Editing).

Philippe Falardeau won the UPS Audience Award at the 2012 Rotterdam International Film Festival.

This nearly perfect gem is a film you may not miss.

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Adapting an award-winning play by Évelyne de la Chenelière, acclaimed Québécois writer-director Philippe Falardeau has crafted an indelible and universal story of compassion that earns every one of its extraordinary moments through insight, empathy and eloquence.

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An other film about death and how a person manages with a trauma (or not) is the 2004 English-language Spanish-American dark psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar which I only came to see in 2015. Again this is a movie which I would recommend to see.

Bale lost more than 28 kilograms (62 lb) for his role.

Christian Bale who dieted for over four months prior to filming, puts down an incredible performance as Trevor Reznik a machinist whose insomnia and psychological problems lead to a serious workplace accident involving a co-worker (Ironside).

The Route 66 driving and the scenes at the police station bring many answers in very well dramatically staged scenes.

The director Brad Anderson, working from a screenplay by Scott Kosar, wants to convey a state of mind, and he and Bale do that with disturbing effectiveness. The photography by Xavi Gimenez and Charlie Jiminez creates very well an intriguing mysterious atmosphere of despair but also of a search to find loving kindness. The loneliness and the way of hiding what really happened is shown along the way by Trevor’s world through his eyes and distorted mind.

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Winter on Fire.pngA very interesting theme is the way how people cope with suppression and how a revolution sometimes get them where they did not want to end up. Ukraine‘s Fight for Freedom is nicely documented in Winter on Fire, where the unrest in Ukraine during 2013 and 2014 is shown, as student demonstrations supporting European integration grew into a violent revolution calling for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich. In a gripping way is shown how Maidan is the voice of that nation. It is a co-production of Ukraine, United States, and United Kingdom, shown on several television channels and able to get the won the Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival,.

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The Walk (2015 film) poster.jpgLife might sometimes be like walking on a high cable, for young dreamer Philippe Petit and a band of unlikely recruits it is a reality which brings us goose pimps, though sometimes the voice over distracts and makes it too much an banal American movie, aiming at a sensation eager public. Together they achieve the impossible with an illegal wire walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. With little more than nerve and blind ambition, Petit and his ragtag crew overcome daunting physical obstacles, betrayals, countless close calls and overwhelming odds to beat the system and execute their mad plan.

Philippe Petit personally trained Gordon-Levitt how to walk on wire. He optimistically predicted that the actor would be able to walk on the wire alone after an elaborate workshop of eight days, which the actor did.

The madman’s dream who looked for the most perfect place to hang his wire and to walk without a safety line is sometimes presented in a sometimes shot too dark 3D biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Christopher Browne and Zemeckis. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit had no formal high-wire experience but got a quick training directly with Petit. Along with a stunt double, the actor shot the climactic wire-walking scenes on a soundstage; it had reconstructions of the top two stories of the tower and a wire approximately twelve feet off the ground, which was connected out across a green abyss and was anchored on a pole. Charlotte Le Bon as Annie Allix helped him to speak French fluently, perfecting a Parisian accent.

 

The film “The Walk” premiered at the New York Film Festival on September 26, 2015 and was released by TriStar Pictures on September 30, 2015, in the United States in IMAX 3D, and on October 9 in regular 2D and 3D.  Attempting a tricky balancing act between thrilling visuals and fact-based drama – the film was dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

About this French dare devil, Philippe Petit, magician from the age of six and former street juggler, I watched in 2015 a nice documentary where he performed in 1999 a 1,200-foot walk over a Little Colorado River branch of the Grand Canyon. This time, 1,600 feet separated the man on wire from the earth, where most of us can only stand and gape.

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On February 22, 2015 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) looked at the best films of 2014 presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories.

Robert Duvall 2014 (cropped).jpg

Duvall at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and The Grand Budapest Hotel tied for the most nominations with nine each and got four awards, with the former film earning the Best Picture honour. At age 84, Robert Duvall [Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird (196); The Twilight Zone (1963),  The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974), The Conversation (1974), Network (1976), Apocalypse Now (1979)] was the oldest male acting nominee in Oscar history for his role in The Judge (2014).

Selma poster.jpgI did not have the chance to see the American historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb “Selma“, which received four Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Actor, and won for Best Original Song. Also at the 87th Academy Awards it was nominated for Best Picture and won Best Original Song.

The theme is close to my heart, bringing in the picture the matter of discrimination in the United States of America, Martin Luther King, Lyndon Baines Johnson and the civil rights marches that changed America.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“That’s why Rosa sat on a bus. That’s why we walked through Ferguson with our hands up.”

Being it an American movie I am very curious to see if the makers were willing to be historically accurate, something which seems to be very very difficult for the American film and television industry.

But such films should be made and the American youths do have to learn about the segregation, gender, race and class and how people had to come up for their rights and how politics often can be a dirty game.

When we look at the news and often see what happens in the U.S.A. we in Europe think they still have to walk a long distance and should be ashamed still discriminating so much on skin colour and on culture and race. Unwarranted police brutality on blacks seems still to be of daily concern. Civil Rights are still and always will be an ongoing issue with no foreseeable conclusion, and because it still being an ongoing issue today such sorts of films should be made and screened.

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A little-bit connected with film is photography where on EyeEm Photography Awards Finalists, National Geographic Daily Travel Photo: Best of 2015 and in the Winners of the 2015 First Annual ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’ you may find some smashing photographs. some of them you also may find in my selection on my Pinterest site.

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In the review of 2015 Preceding articles

2015 In the Picture

2015 Economy

2015 Technology and development

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Please do find additional background information

  1. Ethiopia’s First Film at Cannes Gives Moving View of Childhood, Gender
  2. The Hunt (Danish title “Jagten,” 2012)
  3. The Hunt (Jagten) (2012)
  4. Movie: The Hunt (Jagten)
  5. The Hunt
  6. The Hunt – review
  7. The Hunt — January 17, 2016
  8. Best of Netflix – The Hunt
  9. Monsieur Lazhar
  10. In ‘Monsieur Lazhar,’ Grief Lingers In The Classroom
  11. Review: Monsieur Lazhar
  12. Philippe Falardeau casts a vote for political comedy with Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre
  13. Monsieur Lazhar
  14. The Machinist review
  15. The Machinist
  16. Trevor Reznik
  17. The Machinist / John Wick
  18. Movies To Help You Survive Valentine’s Day
  19. Quick Take: Winter on Fire (2015)
  20. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom — Capsule Review
  21. ‘Winter on Fire’ Director Awarded by Ukrainian President
  22. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015) Review
  23. Documentary Review: Winter on Fire
  24. Daily Dose. Opening Titles “Winter On Fire”
  25. “Winter on Fire” review. Oscar documentary series
  26. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)
  27. Winter on Fire
  28. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)
  29. Review: Winter on Fire
  30. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom — Capsule Review
  31. 2016 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Documentary
  32. The Heartbreaking Irony of ‘Winter on Fire’
  33. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015) – 5/5
  34. The Walk review: twin towers tight-rope drama topples when subtlety in sight
  35. Walking ‘The Walk’: The True Story Behind the Movie
  36. Oneida County Historical Society to Screen ‘Selma’, Host Guest Speaker
  37. The Duality of Non-Violence: An Analysis of Selma
  38. Selma
  39. Glory – The war isn’t won… yet.
  40. 4 more movies that celebrate African American culture
  41. Feature: Awards Special: #BlackFilmsMatter, especially at the Oscars
  42. Jonathan C. on Selma
  43. Thoughts on Selma, the Oscars, and the “Race Card”
  44. Selma Movie Screening with the WGSS Department
  45. Thoughts on Selma
  46. Today is the Anniversary of Historic Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery
  47. Troy C. on Selma
  48. Kim E. on Selma
  49. Leslie H. on Selma
  50. Hannah K. on Selma
  51. Jordyn L. on Selma
  52. Austin L. on Selma
  53. Abigail S. on Selma
  54. Cameron S. on Selma
  55. Da Zhané S. on Selma
  56. Tom S. on Selma
  57. Max T. on Selma
  58. Ali V. on Selma
  59. DeJa’ W. on Selma
  60. Film Review: Colonia 2015
  61. Veteran – Film Review
  62. Mustang (2015)
  63. The Best Films of 2015
  64. TOP 10: A film student’s look at 2015 cinema
  65. The Peanuts Movie: Review

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2015 Technology and development

Green Tech Aircraft (GTA), a new industry-leading innovator that develops and produces next generation, sustainable sport aircraft, based itself in Leuven and announced the development of an innovative electrically powered airplane called Ypselon GT.

The Ypselon GT presented at the beginning of April, at the Aero Expo 2015 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. GTA said that it wants to provide a solution for the biggest challenge facing owners and pilots of recreational airplanes: keeping operational costs at a reasonable level.

GTA’s mission is to revolutionise the new class of electric sport aircraft and to provide an optimised solution for existing general aviation challenges, and to offer a high added-value aircraft at a significantly lower total cost of ownership.

By combining the best of both worlds – high performance and sustainability – it promises a unique, united experience.

Their unique and game-changing electrically propelled sport aircraft, initially aims at the kit-built aircraft market. Meant for flying enthusiasts, the air-plane comes with a high performance capacity but is also sustainable because of its electric motor and low operational cost.

“The power consumption will only cost about €8 per hour in the air,”

said David De Ridder, GTA founder and managing director.

“That is unique because for current similar recreational airplanes this cost can easily be more than tenfold.”

The Brussels-based cyber-security company Ticto was recognised at the RSA Conference in San Francisco where the industry’s annual pow-wow crowned Ticto the second-most innovative company of 2015, behind Dublin’s Waratek.They received the award for the first smart badge to boast a new feature called “visual crowd authentication”. The concept is modelled on electronic ID and bank cards.

Ticto founder and CEO Johan Vinckier also had a hand in the development of the Mobib pass, which has become the bedrock of Brussels’ public transport system.

Engineer in materials science at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) Yves Van Ingelgem won the first MIT Innovator Under 35 of the Year award in May, for Zensor, a digital sensor that turns raw industrial data into practical information.

In June, nineteen Flemish companies and organisations launched MedTech Flanders, a platform to boost the medical technology industry in the region. The sector develops software and devices for medical imaging and the development of implants. The ambition is to double Flanders’ production and export of medical technology over five years.
The goal of MedTech Flanders is to support the growth of existing companies, start up new activities –by bringing together doctors, technology experts and entrepreneurs – and make sure that the technology effectively reaches patients.

Supercomputers have allowed scientists to take their research to the next level, enabling them to carry out projects that used to be unaffordable because of the huge computing power and data storage capacity they required.

Flanders got its first supercomputer installed: Tier-1, housed at Ghent University (UGent). The supercomputer Tier-1 has been helping scientists in Flanders to achieve the unimaginable, from predicting weather patterns in deep space to solving complex mathematical equations, but the powerful machine is underused by industry, say analysts.

For every one of her 700 virtual worlds, postdoctoral researcher Ludmila Carone, built advanced 3D models, each with over 1,000 years of climate history – just long enough to identify average weather patterns.

In Belgium we find that most youngsters are not so much interested anymore in watching television. They prefer to see what they want to see at their laptop, i-pad or tablet.

In the states 24% of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones, in Belgium that is more than 80%. Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smartphones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,”

In the United States of America,  nearly three-quarters of teens have or have access to a smartphone and 30% have a basic phone, while just 12% of teens 13 to 17 say they have no cell phone of any type. African-American teens are the most likely of any group of teens to have a smartphone, with 85% having access to one, compared with 71% of both white and Hispanic teens. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often. By comparison, teens who don’t access the internet via mobile devices tend to go online less frequently. Some 68% go online at least daily.

Nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social networking sites, up from 7% when Pew Research Center began systematically tracking social media usage in 2005. Pew Research reports have documented in great detail how the rise of social media has affected such things as work, politics and political deliberation, communications patterns around the globe, as well as the way people get and share information about health, civic life, news consumption, communities, teenage life, parenting, dating and even people’s level of stress.

Digital technology is racing across the world.

Six out of every seven people are armed with mobile phones – and more than three billion, out of the world’s 7.1 billion people, have access to the Internet.

More and more apps are taking their place. We already can find restaurants where there are no waiters taking orders but where you just give your order in the computer when you enter (like in McDonalds) or at the app at the table.

While advanced technologies are accelerating progress, there are also emerging threats. Extremist groups made total use of social networks to spread their hateful ideologies and to get their ideologies to lure lots of youngsters in a terrible war.

The world’s terror networks have been more adept at spreading their politically-loaded messages of hatred and religious extremism through the use of modern communication technologies – and keeping one step ahead of the governments pursuing them.

Islamic State fighters pictured here in a 2014 propaganda video shot in Iraq's Anbar province.

Islamic State fighters pictured here in a 2014 propaganda video shot in Iraq’s Anbar province.

Closing the gap between developed and developing countries depends on first closing investment gaps in international science, technology and innovation, says a report released in July.

“If countries wish to break the poverty cycle and achieve (post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals), they will have to set up ambitious national minimum target investments for STI, including special allotments for the promotion of basic science and science education and literacy.”

In many countries the digital era also entered the classrooms and museums. Though the computer doesn’t replace the direct experience of a museum, it indirectly allows access to historical and scientific sources, images, films, not only purely educational but with educational content. Lots of youngsters got a huge quantity of information at their fingertips.

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Preceding articles

2010-2015 words delivering a Sunshine Award

2015 In the Picture

2015 Economy

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Additional background reading:

  1. Flanders’ supercomputer makes “unthinkable” research a reality
  2. Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015
  3. Terror Groups May Be Winning Digital War on Extremist Ideology
  4. Science and Technology a Game Changer for Post-2015 Development Agenda

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Posted in Economy, Environment and Ecology, News and Politics, Welfare and Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A one word country name, Czechia back in the running

Bohemia (westernmost area) within Czechoslovak...

Bohemia (westernmost area) within Czechoslovakia between 1928–38 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With many languages spoken it is often difficult to have the same name when two or more words are used to indicate a region or country.

In several parts of Europe (a.o. Belgium) in the previous century spoke about Czechia and Czechoslovakia. Now the old name Czechia may come back in use.

Unlike most European countries, the Czech Republic has lacked a one-word version of its name in foreign languages.

Czech leaders, including President Milos Zeman, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, speakers of both chambers of Parliament and the foreign and defense ministers met on Thursday the 14th of April and endorsed the new name “Cesko” or Czechia.

Now, the country is set to use the name Czechia in English, Tschechien in German or Tchequie in French,” translations of “Cesko” in Czech.

The Foreign Ministry said a one-word name is more practical and flexible for various uses.

Moravia (green and red) in relation to the cur...

Moravia (green and red) in relation to the current regions of the Czech Republic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those against that name say it doesn’t properly represent two parts of the country historically known as Moravia and Silesia, only the Czech part, known as Bohemia.

Neighbouring Slovakia is officially the Slovak Republic. Similarly, Russia is used for the Russian Federation.

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English: Map of the Czech republic showing the...

Map of the Czech republic showing the borders of its historical lands and the borders of the current administrative regions (kraje). Česky: Mapa České republiky s vyznačenými hranicemi krajů a historických zemí. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find also to read:

People of Czechia, Turn Back! It’s Not Too Late

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2015 Economy

English: EU-27 cartogram: Do you trust the Eur...

EU-27 cartogram: Do you trust the European Commission? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aid to the Most Deprived

In the second half of December, the European Commission approved the operational programmes for eight EU countries to use the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), including a €560 million package for Spain. This includes Italy‘s €670 million programme, the largest of all FEAD allocations across the EU.

The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Malta and Slovakia will receive a total of €850 million to provide food and basic material assistance to those most in need.

They join the ten EU countries that saw their national programmes approved in the last weeks and France, the first to have its national FEAD programme adopted in July.

This made an opening for 2015 having after Spain, Greece receiving the most funds (€280 million) of this batch followed by Portugal, Croatia, Ireland, Finland, Luxembourg and Denmark, which was allocated an amount of €3,9 million. They joined the seventeen EU countries that saw their national programmes approved since July, with France, being the first to have its national FEAD programme adopted.

According to research conducted by the Vlaams Minderhedenforum (Flemish Minority Forum) in the service cheques sector it showed that 67% of service cheques agencies will not send a foreign worker if they are asked not to.

Normally they had to exclude black market work and to provide jobs and give people the chance to earn some money, but now it turned out that it had the opposite effect.

“This means that the government is in effect subsidising discrimination.”

said Wouter Van Bellingen of the Minderhedenforum.

Minister Muyters said he condemned discrimination but rejected a request to introduce anonymous calls to monitor companies. The consumer program of the Flemish Television did the work and clearly showed how companies are willing to follow the discriminatory wishes of their clients, without giving them some advice and trying to show them how wrong they are to be prejudiced.

The most contestable measure for older workers who were unemployed or who took early retirement was that they had to be again available for work and were expected to follow training courses to prepare themselves for the job market

Kristof Calvo of Groen said companies should not be allowed to discriminate against older people.

“A lot of job applications from older workers are never answered,”

he said.

“The government has to tackle this problem of age discrimination.”

Brussels airport

A power outage in May forced the grounding of all flights for four hours. More than 23,000 passengers have been affected.

The incident took place during a routine test of emergency generators at 9.45 on the 27th of May in the morning. Both the normal system and the emergency system collapsed in the ATC centre CANAC2 in Steenokkerzeel. The airspace was partly opened again at about 14.00, with a new emergency generator providing 20% of capacity.

When the power outage occurred, a defence spokesperson explained, thousands of aircraft were in the airspace, and the military stepped in to “deconflict” the skies and prevent accidents. Later, incoming flights were re-routed and departing flights were grounded.

A few weeks later a gas leak was detected at about 7.30 in one of the airport’s technical buildings, located on a road that adjoins the A201. The road was closed, leading to traffic backed up on the A201 and the Brussels ring road. Further tailbacks followed when drivers tried to find alternative routes via Woluwelaan and the centre of Zaventem. Power company Eandis closed off the leak, caused by digging works, at about 8.30, and the road was re-opened, but effects were felt on traffic for hours.

The existence of only one approach road for road traffic to Brussels Airport is “unworkable,” according to the Flemish chamber of commerce (Voka).

“The second most important economic gateway to our country, the national airport, can only be reached by one route,”

complained Paul Hegge, director-general of Voka Halle-Vilvoorde, whilst everybody could see how an incident on that route immediately lead to major problems.

Several groups demanded that the government would look in to the matter to provide an other way to the National airport.

About a dozen flights were delayed as they chose to wait for passengers to arrive, according to airport spokesperson Florence Muls. Another 50 people who missed their flights were offered free transfers.

“After the A201 was closed, we got in touch with passengers immediately and asked them to leave on time and to take the train to the airport,”

she said.

“A number of airlines decided to wait for passengers and let the flight depart a little later than scheduled. The impact on flights all in all was limited.”

Some passengers abandoned their vehicles on approach roads in an attempt to get to the airport on foot, though they had to face fines when they returned from their travels.

The Brussels Airport-based charter airline Jetairfly, part of the German TUI group, in October announced it is seeking 23 additional aircraft to develop its activities over the coming years. The company, which employs 1,100 people, is recruiting an additional 120 air hosts for 2016.

Trains

More than 20,000 passengers have signed on to a class-action suit filed by consumer organisation Test-Aankoop against NMBS for the number of strikes that have taken place from October 2014 until May 2015.

Food

Kaprijke, East Flanders, biscuit maker Lotus, famous for its speculoos, has taken over energy bar producer Natural Balance Foods, a British company that makes snacks under the Trek and Nākd brands.

Having several million internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout the Middle East like those in northern Pakistan, forced out of their towns and villages first by militant groups and later by armed forces from the different sites, fighting with or against ISIS or against certain faith groups, many have a shortages of daily nutriciens.

In Pakistan, an estimated 900,000 people were displaced last year, nearly all of whom took refuge in Bannu, an ancient city of the KP province where ‘tent cities’ were erected to house some 90,000 families.

Each fresh wave of displacement has put more pressure on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to feed, heal and shelter thousands of newly uprooted citizens, while simultaneously tending to some 2.1 million ‘permanent’ refugees who have fled the various agencies of FATA since the Taliban and other militant groups claimed the region as a base of operations in 2001.

Meeting the needs of such an enormous refugee population has put tremendous strain on the government.

Provincial Disaster Management Authority Spokesman Adil Khan says that each family receives a monthly allocation of 90 kg of wheat, one kg of tea leaves, five kg of sugar, two kg of rice and two litres of oil in order to alleviate extreme hunger. But most households in camps across the northern province, say this isn’t enough for families comprised, on average, of 10 or more people.

Army officers stand opposite displaced families as they collect their monthly allocation of food supplies in northern Pakistan. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

Army officers stand opposite displaced families as they collect their monthly allocation of food supplies in northern Pakistan. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

Rural women make major contributions to rural economies by producing and processing food, feeding and caring for families, generating income and contributing to the overall well-being of their households – but, in many countries, they face discrimination in access to agricultural assets, education, healthcare and employment, among others, preventing them from fully enjoying their basic rights.

Artificial meat. Indoor aquaculture. Vertical farms. Irrigation drones. Once the realm of science fiction, these things are now fact. Food production is going high tech – at least, in some places.

But the vast majority of the world’s farmers still face that old and fundamental fact: their crops, their very livelihoods, depend on how Mother Nature treats them. Over 80 percent of world agriculture today remains dependent on the rains, just as it did 10,000 years ago.

At the centre of Expo 2015 there was the central theme, and a huge challenge for cities, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ .

More than 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas – a proportion that is projected to increase to 66 percent by 2050 – and ensuring the right to food for all citizens, especially the urban poor, is key to promoting sustainable and equitable development.

As the city hosting Expo 2015, Milan has great visibility and an extraordinary political opportunity for working to build more resilient urban food systems. This is a vision that the City of Milan has decided to fulfil by formulating its own Food Policy, and by bringing together as many cities as possible to subscribe to an Urban Food Policy Pact: a global engagement to “feed cities” in a more just and sustainable way.

The food policy, which will be implemented by Milan’s city government over the next five years, is being drafted through a wide participatory process, starting with an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the city’s food system.

This is a complex picture with some bright spots and some shadows highlighting several thematic areas that the food policy should take into consideration: from access to food to the environmental and social impact of food production and distribution, from food waste to education.

Milan has more than 1.3 million inhabitants, but almost two million people come to the city every day for work, study, leisure or, health care.

Through its public catering company Milano Ristorazione, the City of Milan prepares and delivers more than 80,000 meals each day for schools, retirement homes and reception centres. Thus, there is a lot the City can do to enhance and spread good practices – for example, by tackling food waste and improving the sustainability of the food supply chain.

Many projects are already in place. More than one-third of the fruit and vegetables served by Milano Ristorazione is organic, 57 percent is supplied from short distance, and children at school are encouraged to take home a doggie bag with leftovers of non-perishable food.

Every year, families in Milan still waste the equivalent of one month of food consumption, but several non-profit organisations are saving the food surplus from supermarkets and cafeterias and delivering it to more than one hundred of the city’s charities.

Meanwhile, with poverty on the rise as a result of the prolonged economic crisis, civil society and public institutions are working actively to help those in need. Soup kitchens offer around two million meals each year and the City of Milan itself delivers almost 250,000 meals to the elderly and the disabled.

The Office of the Mayor asked citizens, civil society organisations, scholars, innovative entrepreneurs and chefs, among others, to have their say on the issues that the city’s food policy should address, to draw up a strategic document that was discussed in a town meeting in May, when a number of planning panels (Food Malls) were launched.

Many cities have expressed their interest in subscribing to the Urban Food Policy Pact – to be signed in October this year on the occasion of World Food Day – and its proponents expect it to be one of the most significant legacies of Expo 2015.

Agriculture and food production are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and our ability to produce food will be highly affected by climate change – building a more resilient world, where the right to food is ensured for everyone, is a process that need to start from cities, and from their ability to develop sustainable policies.

In the world

During the 2011 famine in Somalia, British Somalis saved hundreds of thousands of lives by remitting money … reaching family members before aid agencies could mobilise. Government aid agencies then used the same informal banking system – the hawala – to send money to 1.5 million people, saving hundreds of thousands more. Today, roughly 3 million of Somalia’s 7 million people are short of food. Shut off the funds and the results are likely to be terrible. Hawala is one of Africa’s great success stories, wrote Monbiot.

“But it can’t work unless banks in donor nations are permitted to transfer funds to Somalia.”

In Latin America and the Caribbean income poverty reduction stagnated somewhat and the number of poor has risen bringing three million women and men in the region who fell into poverty between 2013 and 2014 desperate looking for some progress and better opportunities.

The gap between quality education and employment suggests that, alone, more economic growth is not enough to build “resilience”, or the ability to absorb external shocks, such as financial crisis or natural disasters, without major social and economic losses. We need to invest in the skills and assets of the poor and vulnerable — tasks that may take years, and in many cases, an entire generation.

Fundamentally, progress is a multidimensional concept and cannot simply reflect the idea of living with less or more than four or 10 dollars a day. Well-being means more than income, not a consumerist standard of what a “good life” entails.

The growing economic inequalities between rich and poor – and the lopsided concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the world’s one percent – are undermining international efforts to fight global poverty, environmental degradation and social injustice, according to a civil society alliance.

Comprising ActionAid, Greenpeace, Oxfam and Civicus, the group of widely-known non-governmental organisations (NGO) and global charities warn about the widening gap and imbalance of power between the world’s richest and the rest of the population, which they say, is “warping the rules and policies that affect society, creating a vicious circle of ever growing and harmful undue influence.”

The concentration of wealth and power is now a critical and binding factor that must be challenged

“if we are to create lasting solutions to poverty and climate change.”

People’s mobilisation and active citizenship are crucial to change the power inequalities that are leading to worsening rights violations and inequality, the group says.

However, in all regions of the world, the more people mobilise to defend their rights, the more the civic and political space is being curtailed by repressive action defending the privileged.

“Inequality is about more than economics and growth – it is now at such high levels that we risk a return to the oligarchy of the gilded age. We need to shift power away from the one percent and towards the rest of society, to prevent all decisions being made in the narrow interests of a privileged few,”

Ben Phillips, campaigns and policy director at ActionAid International said.

Predictions of a sharp slowdown in Latin America’s economic growth in 2015 made it even more necessary for the region’s leaders to make commitments to boost prosperity with equality during the Seventh Summit of the Americas, which took place in April in the Panamanian capital where heads of state and government, and parallel civil society, academic, youth and business forums, were meeting in Panama City to debate the central theme “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas”.

There is a lack of coordination at the government level to reduce regional disparities but work has to be made of it and several countries, including Brazil, Cuba or Venezuela, have regional cooperation programmes in areas such as scientific research, productivity, post-disaster recovery, health and education, despite their internal limitations.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff with her counterparts from Mexico (left), Panama and the United States, during a panel at the Second CEO Summit of the Americas, Friday Apr. 10 in Panama City. Credit: Courtesy of the IDB

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff with her counterparts from Mexico (left), Panama and the United States, during a panel at the Second CEO Summit of the Americas, Friday Apr. 10 in Panama City. Credit: Courtesy of the IDB

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal in April, and the numerous aftershocks that followed, left the country with losses amounting to a third of its economy.

As this South Asian nation of 27 million people struggled to get back on its feet.

Nepal Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat has called this the worst disaster in Nepal’s history. Over 8,000 lives were lost, 22,000 people were injured and over 1,000 health facilities were destroyed, according to government data.

“One in three Nepali people have been affected by the earthquakes. One in 10 has been rendered homeless,”

the foreign minister said.

“Half a million households have lost their livelihoods, mostly poor, subsistence farmers.”

An additional three percent of the population, which amounts to roughly a million people, has been pushed into poverty because of this disaster, according to the World Bank.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on its website that 8.1 million people are in need of humanitarian support and 1.9 million require food assistance.

Only 129 million dollars of the 422-million-dollar humanitarian appeal by United Nations have been raised.

Nepal, a developing country saddled with debts up to 30 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and dependent on external aid, had nonetheless been making developmental and economic gains before the disaster struck.

A family stands beside a damaged house near Naglebhare, Nepal. The housing sector bore the brunt of the April earthquake, accounting for three-fifths of all damages. Credit: Asian Development Bank/CC-BY-2.0

A family stands beside a damaged house near Naglebhare, Nepal. The housing sector bore the brunt of the April earthquake, accounting for three-fifths of all damages. Credit: Asian Development Bank/CC-BY-2.0

In this world we still can see that women are economically differently treated than men. The total payout for the Women’s World Cup was 15 million dollars, compared with 576 million dollars for the last men’s World Cup—40 times less.

The winning women’s team received two million dollars in prize money, whereas the winning men’s team took away 35 million dollars. The losing U.S. men’s team was still awarded 8 million dollars—four times as much as the champion U.S. women’s team.

In September finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 major economies, accounting for 66 percent of world population, have pledged to

“promote an enabling global economic environment for developing countries as they pursue their sustainable development agendas”.

The Climate Finance Study Group (CFSG) will continue its work in 2016 by following the principles, provisions and objectives of the UNFCCC.

The UN General Assembly adopted the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a global summit of world leaders in September. They agreed on 17 new universal goals, and 169 targets that will provide the framework for economic and political policies of UN Member States over the next 15 years to make the world a better place for humanity.

The targets, assiduously refined by the negotiators, have given substance to the SDGs. A target under goal one, for example, includes reducing by at least half the number of people living in poverty by 2030, and eradicating extreme poverty (people living on less than $1.25 a day).

The enormous cost of meeting these goals has not begun to be fully absorbed yet. Even if the world will eventually pat itself on the back for achieving some of the goals, the cost of reaching them is simply mind boggling.

Rough calculations made by the intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing have put the cost of providing a social safety net to eradicate extreme poverty at 66 billion dollars a year, while annual investments to improve infrastructure (water, agriculture, transport, power) could be up to 7.0 trillion dollars globally.

As the spreading refugee crisis threatens to destabilize national budgets of donor nations in Western Europe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in November appealed to the international community not to forsake its longstanding commitment for development assistance to the world’s poorer nations.

Ban’s appeal comes two days after a UN pledging conference reported a “dramatic decline” in donor commitments: from 560 million dollars in 2014 to 77 million dollars in the most recent pledges, largely covering 2015.

The secretary-general said that with the world facing the largest crisis of forced displacement since the Second World War, the international community should meet this immense challenge without lessening its commitment to vitally needed official development assistance. (ODA)

He underscored the importance of fully funding both efforts to care for refugees and asylum seekers in host countries as well as longer-term development efforts.

The Secretary-General said he recognized the financial demands faced by host communities and partner governments as they seek to support the international response.

He expressed his “sincere gratitude to governments and their citizens for their generosity.”

Nick Hartmann, Director of the Partnerships Group at UN Development Programme (UNDP) told delegates Monday the important agreements that Member States had come to in 2015 called for increased policy support.

To deliver that, adequate and predictable resources were required.

Markets and World news

In January Japanese stocks hit fresh 7-year highs when there was the talk of a snap election and a delay in planned tax hike continued to feed equity bulls.

‘Capital in the 21st century’ provoked a fierce debate over inequality and Amnesty accused state of inadequate response to alleged abuses ahead of world cup.

The European Union continued struggling to respond to a surge of desperate migrants that has resulted in more than 3,000 deaths, many perishing or missing in the Mediterranean, since the beginning of the year. The flood of migrants and refugees, the largest movement of people Europe has seen since 1945, has raised doubt about open-borders and provoked a dispute over sharing the burden. That refugee crisis made certain neo-fascist and right wing movements stronger and created the growing movement of people asking for their country to opt out of the European Union, having England and the Netherlands calling for such an exit whilst Scotland seeing in the Brexit an opportunity to get more independence and leave Great-Britain to stay in the European Union.
In the domestic setting many Germans came also calling for a more active foreign policy and the German chancellor’s rating took a sharp drop in the December opinion polls. Though the German iron lady Angela Merkel stands by refugees decision despite polls.

Relocation quota and the proposed scheme’s implications are far-reaching but for moths it seemed something which could only work on paper, many countries putting up borders and not keeping to the agreement. In this climate of proposed naval “pushbacks” and proposals for extraterritorial asylum processing, forced relocation of this nature and on this scale would be a major challenge to the existing global refugee regime. Rights of migrants and asylum seekers themselves were put at risk with the increased tendency to treat migration and asylum as security issues.

In spring 2010, the European sovereign debt crisis was still seen as a liquidity issue and a banking crisis. As Brussels launched its €770 billion “shock and awe” rescue package, it was expected to stabilise the Eurozone.

However, Brussels and the core economies failed to provide adequate fiscal adjustment, which made mass unemployment a lot worse and continues to penalise confidence, demand and investment.  Some governments, like the Belgian one, telling lies to the voters, once they got in parliament took every change to squeeze the population further and make them even more afraid to spend money, which paralysed the market further.

Getting to the end of 2015, unemployment had decreased to 10.3% in the Eurozone (and to 8.9% in the EU, respectively). Whilst the small crisis economies (Greece, Portugal) were seen as “exceptions” because they were each less than 3% of the Eurozone GDP everywhere in the union underemployment remained prohibitively high and youth unemployment amounted to 23% in the Eurozone and is far higher in those crisis countries, such as Greece (48%), Spain (45%) and Italy (39%). In the future, Europe must cope with a “lost generation.”

The Eurozone real GDP growth came at barely 0.3% and inflation close to zero. After half a decade of economic pain, the region will struggle for 1.5% growth. In the coming decade, that will slow close to 1%.

The German car-industry had other kittens to scourge with the exhaustion fraud and emission scandal worldwide.The carmaker warned fresh, independent figures were needed to restore credibility.

Entering 2016 economists said acceptance of negative deposit rate means 10bp cut to deposit rate has been priced in, whilst balance of power between borrowers and lenders is shifting and US private equity deals exceeded the 6-times ratio guideline set by the Fed.

Fourth-quarter crude oil prices remained low compared to end 2014 levels, which could continue to pressure profits, cash flow, and investment.

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Preceding articles

2010-2015 words delivering a Sunshine Award

2015 In the Picture

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Find more about the subjects:

  1. Eight additional operational programmes recently approved to help the most deprived, including a €560 million package for Spain
  2. Six new national programmes to help the most deprived approved, including Italy’s €670 million plan
  3. Flemish biscuit producer Lotus takes over UK makers of Trek
  4. First the Taliban, then the Army, now Hunger: The Woes of Pakistan’s Displaced
  5. World’s Richest One Percent Undermine Fight Against Economic Inequalities
  6. Donor Conference to Tackle Nepal Reconstruction
  7. G20 Finance Ministers Committed to Sustainable Development
  8. Opinion: Will We Find the Resources to Create a Better World?
  9. Refugee Crisis May Threaten Development Aid to World’s Poor

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Brexit clashes and reasons to consider to bring out the right vote

On May the 9th David Cameron, prime minister, raised the spectre of European wars in making the case for staying in the EU. It followed George Osborne, chancellor, on Sunday appealing to the darkest British psychoses with a warning that Brexit would sink house prices.

Europe needs people coming out to say why it is necessary we should have a strong Union. the Netherlands and Great-Britain are a thorn in the eyes and the Greek crisis is undermining the European Union as well.

The Australian analyst Sir Lynton Crosby has said supporters of leaving the European Union are more motivated to turn out on referendum day and could give Brexit the edge. He said Brexit backers were more likely to turn out on June 23 – turning a knife edge two point lead for Leave into a much more significant seven point advantage. In analysis for the Daily Telegraph, Sir Lynton said the final result remained ‘in the balance’. 

We can notice an ungrounded fear of uncontrolled immigration as the main reason for not immediately backing ‘Remain’. Though we should seriously reconsider if this refugee crisis is really so much bringing Europe in unbalance.

All European governments should realise that the strength of Europe can only be insured by making clear that the citizens will have enough stability by having enough funds to live reasonably well and not to be squeezed out by the greedy parliaments of the individual countries, like Belgium is trying to squeeze its inhabitants as far as they can and those citizens seem to be reluctant to accept it or not to go into the counter-attack.

Whether Britain and the Netherlands will remain in the Union depend on how much that assembly of countries is willing to look at a reformed Europe enjoying all the benefits that brings, like lower prices in the shops, more jobs and safer streets, or whether those benefits are put at risk by leaving. And for sure the citizens should know they are putting them more at risk by leaving the union and such exit shall exclude them form the market advances of a strong union and giving them less voice and lesser opportunities to press for their own advantage.

Mr Cameron knows that

‘Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe. Families across the country have more security and greater opportunity as part of the European Union.’

but it is to the government of Great Britain and the European Union to proof this.

Geert Wilders casts his vote

A man votes

Dutch people reject the deal and crushes expansionist Brussels, looking forward to a Brexit and a Nexit

Last month stunning rejecting of a plan by EU bureaucrats to bring Ukraine into the bloc’s sphere of influence was a fair sign showing many Dutch citizens do not see the use of such a greater Union. 61.1% of the Dutch people who voted to block the deal, compared to just 38.1% who want it to go ahead, has also to be seen in the light that for many Dutch people this referendum was more a vote against than for the European Union, the referendum effectively acting as a barometer for anti-EU feeling in the country.

Eurosceptic MP Joram van Klaveren rubbed his hands declaring:

”The Netherlands is overwhelmingly against this.”

The Dutch Anti-EU campaigners in the country urge Britons to take their chance to leave the undemocratic bloc by voting for Brexit in their June referendum.

The proposed deal with Ukraine, which has been signed off by David Cameron, proposes a huge shift in political, trade and defence cooperation between Brussels and Kiev which is seen as the first step towards Ukraine becoming a full EU member.But it has gone down like a lead balloon with the Dutch public, who are increasingly turning against the EU as calls for a Brexit continue to gather pace.

The ‘no’ vote is yet another disaster for beleaguered Brussels and will only add to the rising anti-EU sentiment sweeping Europe. The pressure of the refugee crisis is not helping either to get people to see that we all need each other to stand strong against the upcoming new powers, like China and to protect ourselves against incoming goods form the United States and other Great Powers.

Already in 2005 Dutch voters broke from a pro-European tradition and rejected controversial plans for an all-encompassing EU constitution.

Their overwhelming no vote followed a similar verdict from French electorate just days earlier and led to the plan being scrapped, although Eurosceptics fear it is only a matter of time before Brussels revives it.

Meanwhile Michael Gove, justice secretary, confirmed that a vote to leave the EU will also mean a vote to leave the single market  – arguing that the Germans would continue to trade with the Brits regardless. Jürgen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK, shot back that Gove’s remarks are “unbelievable” and lack “any understanding of what the single market is all about”. {Financial Times}

Ipsos has conducted a Brexit-related poll in nine leading EU states, and the results are worth a look. There are widespread fears of a contagion effect and other countries seeking their own referendums. The nation that seems closest to follow Britain out the door – should it go – is Italy. Some 58 per cent of Italians want a referendum, according to Ipsos. Then the vote would be on a knife-edge, with 48 per cent saying that they would want to quit the bloc.

The British Government believes that voting to remain in the EU is the best decision for the UK. British citizens should take the opportunity on the 23rd of June to decide their own future and the future of the UK. It is important that they vote. In a certain way they should also recognise how they are so privileged, the UK still having a special status in a reformed EU. It has kept the pound, will not join the euro and has kept control of the UK border. The UK Government has negotiated a new settlement with the EU ahead of the referendum. The Government believes this deal gives the UK within the EU the best of both worlds.

The deal gives the UK the best of both worlds. The UK is stronger, safer and better off in a reformed EU. We have access to the Single Market and play a leading role in determining the rules that govern it.

EU membership contributes to the attractiveness of the UK for international investment. It also gives us access to trade deals with over 50 countries around the world. EU membership means opportunities, jobs, and greater economic security for the people of the UK.

This special status means that it is the Government’s view that the UK’s national interest – the interests of every family, household, business, community, region and nation within the United Kingdom – is best served by their country remaining in a reformed EU.

The citizens of the UK should be aware that if they decide to leave the EU they will stand on their own having less speaking partners to regulate prizes with the different countries at the European continent.

Some British  argue that the UK could strike a good deal quickly with the EU because they want to keep access to their market. But they can be very mistaken, having to face it that now England shall need the continental products so shall have to pay more for them, because the continent do need them not any more. Government’s judgement is that it would be much harder than that – less than 8% of EU exports come to the UK while 44% of UK exports go to the EU.

Funny that the Brits do not see that until know they had a privileged position, no other country having managed to secure significant access to the Single Market, without having to: follow EU rules over which they have no real say; pay into the EU; accept EU citizens living and working in their country.

A more limited trade deal with the EU would give the UK less access to the Single Market than they have now – including for services, which make up almost 80% of the UK economy. For example, Canada’s deal with the EU will provide limited access for services like air travel, broadcasting and banking. The deal has been seven years in the making, and is still not in force.

The European Union shall continue to make good trade agreements with outside countries, but will know that the UK is not such a trustworthy partner any more. The UK herself would seek to renegotiate trade agreements with more than 50 countries outside the EU which would take years without any guarantee that the UK would manage to negotiate terms as good as those they can enjoy today under EU arrangements. A vote to leave would damage the economy, certainly in the short term and probably in the long run.

The benefits of the trade deals currently being negotiated by the EU, including with the US and Japan shall be of no profit to England, which also risks loosing the connection with Scotland that shall have a stronger reason to ask (demand) for independence it staying in the EU.

Hopefully enough Britons shall understand that 82% of total UK exports is at risk and that after after 15 years this could mean:

  • a cost per year equivalent to £4,300 per household in the UK
  • a hit to tax receipts of £36 billion a year
  • this is the equivalent of an extra 8p on the basic rate of income tax

In April, speaking in the German city of Hanover ahead of a summit with Mr Cameron and other EU leaders, the American leader Barack Obama acknowledged that European unity involved “frustrating compromise”, but hailed the multinational union as

“one of the greatest political and economic achievements of modern times”.

Though with a Brexit Europe shall be hit in the kidneys. It would uncouple the world’s fifth-largest economy from its biggest market, making it also weaker and to be reliant on the balancing forces of America and Europe and having the EU giving a strong sign what shall happen when an other country wants to leave the union. The EU would have a strong incentive to impose a harsh settlement to discourage other countries from leaving.

Our world is so caught up in a globalist system that power is necessarily pooled and traded. Those going to vote, or not going to vote, should wonder if it shall be worth it  Britain giving up sovereignty in exchange for clout through its memberships of NATO, the IMF and countless other power-sharing, rule-setting institutions. Signing up to treaties on trade, nuclear power or the environment involves submitting to regulations set jointly with foreigners, in return for greater gains. Britain outside the EU would be on the sidelines: notionally independent from, but in fact still constrained by, rules it would have no role in formulating. It would be a purer but rather powerless sort of sovereignty. Shall they be happy with that and shall it bring them further in easier living circumstances?

I think they shall be come more isolated and after some years having to rethink their situation of solo slim parader.

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Register to vote on GOV.UK

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Find also to read:

UK Politicians willing to tear up decades of environmental protections

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Continuing Greek telenovella

Last April it was clear that European Union Council President Donald Tusk had good reasons to sound skeptical, arguing the finance ministers should make more progress before the leaders intervene for Greece.

Greece’s lenders, especially the IMF, want the Greek parliament to adopt a €3.6 billion package of austerity measures that would be implemented only if Greece missed its primary surplus target for 2018, set at 3.5 percent of GDP by the bailout memorandum signed last year.

Already for months now Greece and its creditors — its European partners and the International Monetary Fund — have been struggling to agree on the reforms and cutbacks the country must agree to as part of its ongoing bailout program.

Yesterday again many Greeks were on the streets to let their voice sound for the deaf ears of their parliament.

Tsipras “wants to secure that the terms of the July bailout agreement will be respected” (Photo: Consillium)

Having opened a two-day debate on tough new pension and tax measures demanded by bailout creditors amid a wave of unannounced strikes that shut down local media outlets, public transport and ferries to the Aegean islands, the Greek parliament in the 300-member house, where the leftwing Syriza party of Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, and his coalition partner, Independent Greeks, together control a fragile two-seat majority, voted contentious pension cuts and income tax increases, covering the bulk of a €5.4bn package of austerity measures demanded by creditors. That sets the scene for a meeting of the Eurogroup today to decide how much more the Greeks still need to do.

Despite the successful vote, Greece is far from in the clear. Before closing its review of Greece’s bailout and providing Athens much-needed aid, the IMF and the German government are insisting Athens go a step further an legislate an additional by many so called  “fruitless  €3bn in “contingency measures,” in case the agreed cuts prove insufficient to meet budget surplus targets.

Greece seems now committed to completing a first review of its €86bn bailout after six months of foot-dragging over details of the reforms.

A senior Greek official said:

“It’s a positive development for Greece after weeks of fighting hard against the contingency measures.”

Though despite weeks of intensive talks, negotiators are no closer to a deal then they were when they were sent back to Athens two months ago.

The International Monetary Fund chief, Christine Lagarde, on Friday the 6th of May, sent a letter to all 19 finance ministers ahead of today’s meeting in Brussels, with her demands

Dear minister:

Program discussions between Greece and the institutions have made progress in recent weeks, but significant gaps remain to be bridged before an agreement can be reached that would include the IMF under one of our program facilities. I think it is time for me to clarify our position, and to explain the reasons why we believe that specific measures, debt restructuring, and financing must now be discussed simultaneously.

She does not seem to believe in a sequential handling of the matter. For her the eurozone must agree to grant sweeping debt relief to Greece before she can commit to the programme. Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, does not like that at all.

The long-running soap shows that the size of its debt has outgrown Greece. It is still not clear if the population got convinced that the major problem plaguing the Greek economy is not only the continuing corruption of the ‘bankster puppet government’, which keeps using austerity packages to target tax increases at the productive sectors of the economy instead of cutting generous upper tier supplementary pension and other government waste, but also the fault of all those people who do not seem to see any harm to fraud the government and its security system.

Germany, Finland, and the Netherlands, are not very eager give Greece debt relief. Greek left-wing Greek economist and current Greek Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos said some form of debt relief was crucial to give a

“vote of confidence in the Greek economy and the Greek polity”.

He also needs something to bring home to his electorate, where print media went on strike at the end of April against pension reforms.

The Belgium government also could learn some lessons from what could happen to their citizens when they continue like the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras which refuses to cut the higher end pensions of the bureaucratic and technocratic elite. When the  parliamentarians of European countries  keep cutting on the ordinary people their income, by continuing bringing new and higher taxes they get them more dissatisfied, frustrated  and shall have them not interested in those politicians who promise a lot but do not keep their promises. The loss of credibility will undermine the values of the European Union and create more hate against any newcomer in the country, this at a time when Europe is over-flooded with refugees.

By making the common people having less money to buy products, the revenue shall decrease and the country will be worse of than by not pampering the multinationals and those who have already enough money. Always targeting on the ordinary citizens will have the younger generation warned for the ‘crooks’ of politicians by their parents. The youngsters nothing left, no jobs, no savings, no business opportunities, no property and the pensioners not able to help them, also not having left much over to provide in their own living. as such a very frustrated population shall continue to grow until the balloon burst and the bomb under Europe explodes.

The Economist rightly warns:

With a referendum on Britain’s EU membership in June and a possible flare-up of the refugee crisis as summer approaches, the last thing Europe needs is another Greek drama. The European Commission is thus in a mood for compromise. It emphasises that negotiations are “99%’’ complete. But the other creditor, the IMF, is less forgiving. With tax arrears in Greece rising and reforms constantly delayed, the fund has little faith that the programme’s target of a 3.5% primary budget surplus by 2018 can be achieved. It wants Greece to make a contingency plan to raise more money or cut spending further before it approves the next instalment of the bail-out.

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Please also find to read:

Greece debt no longer unsustainable

Greece’s medical and engineering associations threaten to expel MPs who vote for Tispras’ “scorched earth” tax package

and look out for my view on a Brexit.
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Not everything has to be reciprocated with money

We not always have to say it with money or have to recompense with currency or money.

Last weekend we had the most important weekend of the year. We looked at the liberation of the Jewish people from the slavery and Egyptian bondage as well as the liberation of the people their chains of death, broken by the offering as a lamb by rabbi Jeshua (Jesus Christ).

Where the Money Is

Where the Money Is (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many centuries later, today lots of people love to be bounded by lots of money. Many think the more they can gather, the free-er they would be. Strongly mistaken many people have become slaves of money. The greed of the human beings and their wish to gather as much as they can for themselves, has put a lot of pressure on their environment.

Lots of people do think they own the world and can use everything as they like it for their benefit.

At my ecclesia and on my lifestyle magazines we take the time to look at our boundaries we have chosen ourselves. How we ourselves made that we became a slave of money and how we are used by commerce to be an instrument of production, without taking in account the human side.

We have come to a situation where we sincerely have to consider how we want to continue. Though many do not want to see how much human beings damaged nature and what for sort consequences it has for our children, if we continue to live this way we shall bring unrecoverable damage to the eco system. Already too many species are gone for ever. We also shall bring man in much more danger as well, having no unlimited sources, like water and fresh air.

It would not be bad if people start thinking about an other way of living together and about putting selfishness aside coming to a system where much more is shared and lots of things are considered common goods for use of all in our society.

We have to make it that more people would come out of the dessert or wilderness they are living in ad shall get out of the dark corners of this world, finding a society where people love each other, meaning not having envy, so much that they are not concerned about how they look like, which colour their skin is, how intelligently they are, what they believe or what faith they want to have. A society where everybody is willing to share everything around them with each other.

Please continue reading about it, in my article on From Guestwriters:

A charter for a truly free world and why we need it

and do find my previous article on a money free society:

Inequality, Injustice, Sustainability and the Free World Charter

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Preceding articles:

Angry at the greedy state

Intellectual servility a curse of mankind

Time to consider how to care for our common home

Capitalism

Coming closer to the end of 2015 and the end for Donald Trump as presidential candidate

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Additional reading

  1. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  2. Most important weekend of the year 2016
  3. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  4. Self inflicted misery #1 The root by man
  5. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  6. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  7. Living in the Wilderness
  8. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  9. The son of David and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread
  10. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  11. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  12. Observance of a day to Remember
  13. After darkness a moment of life renewal
  14. Passover and Liberation Theology
  15. Good to make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy
  16. Poverty and conservative role patterns
  17. Greed more common than generosity
  18. Home-stayers and their to do list
  19. The Greatest of These is Love
  20. The Question is this…
  21. Chasing all our life..
  22. Spring playing hide and seek
  23. True riches
  24. Count your blessings
  25. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  26. Are Christianity and Capitalism Compatible?
  27. How we think shows through in how we act
  28. Be holy
  29. Love envieth not
  30. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  31. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart
  32. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  33. Human beings and creation

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Further reading:

  1. We’ll Get There
  2. It’s time to build a new system
  3. Human Reasons To Work
  4. Vamos tornar tudo gratuito e livre – Carta do Mundo Livre (The Free World Charter)

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Posted in B4Peace, Dagboek = Diary, Economy, Environment and Ecology, News and Politics, Poverty, Reflection, Religion, Warning, Welfare and Health, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Silence, devotion, Salafists, quietists, weaponry, bombings, books, writers and terrorists

Trouble-spots across the globe

Bob Van Laerhoven seems to have survived life among the Doomed.

The full-time Belgian/Flemish author debuted in 1977 as a short story writer, and in 1985 as a literary novelist. More than 30 novels followed, some of them cross over between literature and the suspense novel.

English: Gravestones at the Potočari genocide ...

Gravestones at the Potočari genocide memorial near Srebrenica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He explored trouble-spots across the globe from 1990 to 2003: Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Mozambique, Lebanon, Burundi…to name but a few. During the Bosnian war, he was in besieged Sarajevo, and in 1995 working for AZG-MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings when the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, he was the first writer from the Low Countries who had the opportunity to speak with the refugees. These conversations resulted in a travel book: Srebrenica – getuigen van massamoord (Srebrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder). The book denounces the murder and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. He concluded that mass murders took place, a notion that was questioned at the time but later was proven accurate.

Books in personal library and Chronicle of Suicide Attacks Foretold

Yesterday watching a news-debate program on Canvas (the 2nd channel of the Flemish state television): Terzake, with Kathleen Cools, and De Afspraak with Bart Schols, they mentioned certain books were found in the hiding places of the terrorists which would mean they were Salafist terrorists. Though I noticed I had these same books in my library, so if the police would swoop down my house I also could be considered a terrorist.

45 kilometers from where Bob Van Laerhoven lives, suicide-bombers in Brussels Airport and, quickly afterwards, in the metro of Maelbeek, squarely in the middle of the “European quarter” of Brussels, had detonated three bombs.
Looking at images of the victims who were dragged from the entrance-hall of the airport and from the tube tunnel, gaping at the formidable debris the powerful bombs, loaded with nails to cause ghastly wounds, had created, the Flemish writer couldn’t help but thinking that this was a dreadful Chronicle of Suicide Attacks Foretold.

He writes:

In the margin of the euphoria in the world press when Salah Abdeslam, one of the instigators of the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015, was captured in Brussels, I had read disturbing analyzes of the complex Jihadist network linking Brussels with Paris. Experts concluded that Brussels was no longer only the “diplomatic capital of the world,” but also the capital of Jihadist activity in Europe. The name Molenbeek, one of the municipalities of Brussels, went around the world as a hotbed for Islam fanatics. It became quickly known that Belgium had, relatively speaking, the highest number of Syria warriors in Europe. Suddenly, frantic articles were published about some districts of our capital in which, during the last twenty to thirty years, a way of life has evolved that has nothing in common with ours, that doesn’t want to integrate, that scorns and belittles us, and likes to see us destroyed.

A twisted perspective

Big problem seemed also that lots of people suddenly started seeing Islam fundamentalists rising up everywhere and considering Muslims a danger to our society. All the Kafkajan surrealist ideas became realistic in this tiny country where everything is possible.

Bob Van Laerhoven, (Jeff for his friends), formulates it this way

In short, all the caricatures of Belgium as an absurd hotchpotch of surrealistic political structures, as a beehive of Walloons, Flemings and Bruxellois who can barely tolerate each other, and prefer to guzzle chocolate and beer instead of countering Muslim terror, seemed to become true.

But is it really so bad that Walloons, Flemings and Bruxellois do not like each other and oppose each other at every occasion they can get. To me in this period of after-shock they seemed very united and coming together to share their tears for Brussels. I also have no impression at all that real lovers of Allah can agree with what those criminals have done. For sure they have done like ISIS does a lot of acts which are totally against Koran/Quran teaching.

Though Van Laerhoven warns

Although Hamas’ violence at that time was mostly directed against Israel and at Palestinians who were suspected to be collaborators, it was made clear to me that the ultimate goal of the organization was world dominance for Islam.

“Like any good Muslim aspires,”

one of them said.

Islam and Christianity for all over the world

It can well be true that lots of Muslims would like to see the Islam being shared with most people in the world. The same can be said about certain Christians. Me too as a Christian would love to see more Christians everywhere in the world. I too preach the Word of God. I also, love non-believers and other believers to show, how Allah, the Al Lah or El or Elohim, Who has to be praised, is the Most High and Only True God.

Too many people keep forgetting that “Allah” is a tittle, meaning god or high person, like there have been many gods described in the Quran, Messianic Scriptures or New Testament and in the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. The Bible speaks as such about angels, Moses, Pharaoh, Apollo, Zeus, Baal and other gods but as indicated in the Torah there is only One True God, the God of Israel, Who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jeshua (Jesus), Christ’s apostles and of the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Only by several Christians there is the problem, lots of them also worshipping a false three-headed god or Trinity, which makes so many Muslims cross.

Kuffar and Parties for or of God

Groups like the Lebanese-Iranian Islamic militia Hezbollah (Party of God) look at the entire West as “The Great Satan” because they know that many of those living there or either Trinitarian or kafars/kafirs/kuffar or unbelievers living totally in a way which is an abomination in the eyes of God. The West should know that this know indecent way of life is a thorn in their eyes. The immoral way of life for sure is something God does not like and does not approve. But it does not give any human being the right to take it in their own hands and to do immoral acts themselves, to justify their so called war on obscenity.

Those fighters who say they are doing a war for God, do forget that that God is strong enough to have His own heavenly armies to do His Work if He wants so. But according to the Holy Scriptures God has given the right to govern the world in the hands of man. This is all about what happened in the very early beginnings in the Garden of Eden.

Beginnings of Islamic terror and fear

Van Laerhoven comments:

In 1995, we had a series of bomb attacks in France by the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, but that was about it. In that period, the US had much more to endure: the bombing of the World Trade Center, shootings at the CIA headquarters in Langley, and several attacks on US embassies throughout the world.

Nevertheless, the hatred for Europe, perceived as an ally to Israel, was there. I asked a particular fiery member of Hezbollah, who had refused to shake my hand during a “press-gathering” as they called it – I was the only “press” in the room – why they hated the West so much. The standard answer usually was a flared statement about Western exploitation of Eastern treasures – be it gold, spices, and at long last ‘black gold’ – beginning with the Crusades, followed by the queen of all insults – the establishment of the Israeli State – and at long last Western colonization. Normally, there was further dwelling on the “crimes against humanity” the US had committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, a generalized statement condemning the contemptuous treatment of Muslim immigrant workers in Europe.

It is just that silence from the West not willing enough to come to help the protesters in Egypt, Libya and Syria which made the rebel groups so stronger and having so many Syrians losing faith in the West.

Searching for the roots

The Salafists going back to the roots, for them being the Quran and the Sunna/Sunnah, not accepting human interpretations and as such rejecting the religious innovations, or bid’ah, the Hanbali, Malekites or Maliki, Hanafi and Shafi’i, and support the implementation of sharia (Islamic law)

Joas Wagemakers, who wrote The Dynamics of Islam: Piety and Fun among Muslims in the Netherlands and Elsewhere, told the viewers the Salafists try to imitate the first three generations of Muslims.
His research has concentrated on Salafism and particularly Salafi ideology; the Muslim Brotherhood; citizenship, women’s rights and Shiites’ rights in Saudi Arabia; and Hamas. He is currently working on a post-doctoral (Veni) project on Islamic activism in Jordan, which focuses on the intellectual history of quietist Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood in that country.

For Wagemakers the Gaza-based jihadist organization Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade, which might have ties to ISIS, which itself also makes the occasional threat, got the ball rolling.

He is also convinced that ISIS tanks won’t be rolling into the Holy Land anytime soon.

Overthrowing the Israeli government is not a pressing priority for the ISIS high command. It’s more interested in taking over Sunni lands where state authority has broken down. Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language magazine, summarizes its strategy:

weaken Muslim governments through terrorism, thereby creating security vacuums (literally, “chaos” or tawahhush).

ISIS fighters will move in and  establish new state-like structures (idarat). So far, ISIS has stuck to this plan; its fighters are most active and successful in areas where there is a security void. Israel, which has one of the mightiest militaries in the Middle East, is the opposite of a security void. {Joas Wagemakers}

Israel in the theological picture

Theologically, the defeat of Israel is also a low priority because we should remember that Jerusalem is going to be the capital of the renewed world. From that city the returned prophet Jeshua (Isi of Jesus Christ) is going to govern the Kingdom of God.

Unusual for a Sunni group, ISIS is motivated by Islamic prophecies of the End Times — or at least pays a lot of lip service to them. Those prophecies envisage the conquest of Jerusalem and a war with the Jews as the final act in the End Times drama. ISIS is still in the first act, the reestablishment of the caliphate. It still has to spread the caliphate throughout the world and defeat the Christian infidels. {Joas Wagemakers}

Christians who do know the prophesies also clearly see what is going on in the Middle East as foretold in the Holy Books and is something which we should see as the signs of the End-times or Last days coming to this world or this system of things.

So despite its combative messaging, ISIS’s threats to storm Israel are empty, meant to recruit Muslims angry about the occupation rather than signal an invasion. ISIS is focused on consolidating its state and expanding it into Sunni Muslim lands; its gaze will remained fixed on Jerusalem but it won’t try to plant its flag there anytime soon. {Joas Wagemakers}

Effective use of Propaganda

For us it looks strange that the secret services could not react better to the effective and successful professional use of social media where it is able to be stronger than any attempt to deploy “counter-narratives” (or: “alternative narratives”) against them.

IS publishes videos on an almost daily basis: from gruesome execution videos the group is notorious for to movies showing the “statehood” and reconstruction of infrastructure, IS deploys a rich blend of narratives that are conveyed in pictures and related to a corpus of writings of thirty years of jihadism. By establishing a “state” (Arabic: dawla) and by rendering the borders between Syria and Iraq as irrelevant, IS has realized what AQ has pledged for decades: to erode the borders of Sykes-Picot and establish a “state” on the very theological grounds of extremist interpretation.

File:Jielbeaumadier marche contre daesh 2 paris 2014.jpeg

Demonstration at the World Day against Daesh, for Kobanê, for Humanity, conducted by the Kurdish democratic council of France and other organizations, 1 November 2014, Beaumarchais boulevard in Paris.

Daesh or the “Islamic State” has taken the lead in producing mainly Arabic language videos to incite a global Arab audience by popularizing their fighters, ideologues and preachers as ultimate role models, modern day Islamic warriors, or simply as defenders of Sunni communities in time of suffering. Many very conservative teachings are going around in Europe.

Will McCants in Islamic State of Iraq, Israel, writes

Sympathizers and media operatives use key words strategically alike with the aim to widen the appeal of the jihadist ideology, while assuming a monopoly over the mainly Qur’anic terminology in by extremist definitions. Deriving from the original Arabic, the key words are transcribed in Latin letters and are the most integral part of any non-Arabic language production. The use of these key words is significant to grade and understand what impact the Arabic dominated ideology has on non-Arab majority societies, expressed both on- and offline, whereas non-Arab foreign fighters project influence and the extremist hegemony of what it means being a ‘true’ Sunni Muslim by injecting such keywords into their target audiences. The interaction of social media platforms calls on the sympathizers to engage with such videos and role models, hence popularizing specific key words and having a potential impact on the local non-Arab milieus within non-majority Islamic societies such as in Europe and beyond.

Strangers preaching conservative ideology

From the preacher at a meeting, the reviewers of ‘de Redactie’ and Canvas get to know that in the book (Quran) all the basics of life (from beginning to end) and the way of life are given. In the episode we also get to hear how advise is given for matter how to behave or what to do in our society, to be able to have work, etc.. We also come to see how narrow-minded those Salafi’s look at things like giving a hand, or interpret having body contact being the same as to desire or to crave.

According to Wagemakers Salafists keep very strongly to their faith but fence off all those who  belief differently. For him they consider themselves always as ‘strangers’, which they do find an honour to be so.

The fact they are different from society can be seen as a sign that they are doing it good. {Free translation from my viewing yesterday}

As a s “a path, a way, a manner of life”; “all the traditions and practices” of the Islamic prophet that “have become models to be followed” by Muslims is the purity presented to the world, mankind has to follow.

Welcoming non-Arab Muslim foreign fighters

People in the West should come to see that Arab movement fighting for independence, wanting to have an Islamic State (hence IS) is welcoming non-Arab Muslim foreign fighters into their ranks, but those coming in the ranks should be very careful how they might be used. Because we can see that IS loves to use them as canon meat balls. Having them to become martyrs saves on ‘pure Muslims’.

Practical is also that non-Arab foreign fighters can be used to address the ‘heathen world’ in their own language. Those European fighters can be seen in special videos with Arabic and non-Arabic titles. This accounts for Brits, Germans, Austrians, French, Russians, and so on, while the overwhelming majority of IS and AQ videos are in Arabic featuring native Arabs.

Imitating the prophet

All those who come to that group shall have to face a burn-out at a certain time because of them trying so hard imitating the prophet and noticing how hard it is or nearly impossible in this or any world.

With all the trouble and attention being drawn to the Salafi community it may well be that too many people think that all those conservative Muslims belong to the other revolutionary group. We should remind them that some Salafis engage in parliamentary politics and some engage in revolution (“jihadis” in their parlance). But most Salafis don’t engage in direct political action — earning them the appellation of “quietist” from Western academics.

Because quietist Salafis speak the same theological language as the jihadis but reject their violent activism, Graeme Wood thinks they offer

“an Islamic antidote to Baghdadi-style jihadism” (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi runs the Islamic State).

Misunderstanding nature of Islamic State

According to Wood the West has misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. He writes

First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership. {What ISIS really wants}

Bergen, Peter (2007) crop.jpg

American print and broadcast journalist, author, documentary producer, and CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohamed Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.  {What ISIS really wants}

Committed to purifying the world

People in the west should know that by following the takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people, according to their interpretation. Also by the Ummah or Muslim community having been too long along the silent site, they could imprint their terrorist view as a Muslim view by the Western spectators.

The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute. {What ISIS really wants}

File:Anti takfiri congross in iran - all muslim brother toghether.jpg

Iran – all muslim brother toghether:Anti takfiri congress in Iran – Source Moslempress.com Author Moslempress 18 February 2015

Obfuscating the minds of the general public

From the United States of America very conservative  Christians and in West Europe extreme right wing people love to obfuscate the minds of the general public.

Organisations like The Oyl want people to believe that Christianity and Islam, the two largest religions in the world, their teachings are negations of each other. They write

In a very real sense, they are Spiritual photo negatives.  This matters to us because these two religions cannot coexist, and now that they are clashing, there must be a victor.  If the Western world wants to survive, it must come to grips with this issue — then act accordingly. {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other – I have taken away the shouting, or capitals, in their title}

For the writers of the blog The Oyl

Christianity is inherent to the Western mind.  Westerners don’t understand this because it is inherent: it is in everything they know from the moment they are born.  But the Western way of thinking is alien to that of the Middle East.  In the West, we tend to think in terms of the abstract:  in the Middle East, people think in more concrete, more literal terms.  It may not seem like a big difference, but it is. {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other}

It is not because we inherited the Greco-Roman culture, which is where we get our tendency to think in the abstract we would not have any feeling with Eastern thinking.  Originally, Christianity was a Middle eastern faith, with everything that entails.

Christianity its schism into Christendom and the few real followers of Christ

It is very good that the writers of that blog understand that when Christianity moved beyond Israel’s borders, Christ’s Gospel message was conformed to fit the culture in which it was being preached.  That has become the problem in Christendom. Centuries ago several leaders found it better to agree and go with the Roman leaders and allowed heathen elements in the faithgroup.

Opposite to what the writers of that blog want people to believe this meant the teachings were changed to fit a given culture. They write

It means the people who were preaching the Gospel made every attempt to do so in terms that the people of a given culture could understand. {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other}

Contrary to what those Trinitarians want people to believe it where the false teachings which troubled the apostles and not so much Paul being an instrument in adapting the Gospel to the culture.

Never has it been the idea of the apostle Paul to adapt Jesus his teachings to the sensitives of a given people. The same can be said of the different groups in Islam, where certain teachers never intended to bring a schism in the Ummah.

In the two religious groups, Christians and Muslims it was never the intention to have their converts to become Jews or having them under all the old Mosaic Laws. In both groups it was understood a new era had begun and new laws were given by God.

We wonder why some think,

though heavily influenced by Christian thinking, the West retained national and cultural identities.  The same cannot be said for Muslims. {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other}

A Body of believers

In Christianity, ‘The Body of Christ‘ is the term used to refer to this Spiritual family of all believers (also called Spiritual Israel). Though several conservative Christians and evangelicals say

The Bible teaches that all people can keep their cultural and national identities, yet they can still be a member of The Body of Christ/Spiritual Israel.

they themselves exclude a great part of Christians. Very often they are also very rude against non-trinitarians and even undertake terrorist acts against them.

Those Christians also not comprehend the vision of the Body of Christ, in which all should be brothers and sisters of or ‘in‘ Christ and have no preferences for culture, nationality, skin colour or race. Many of them are very racist and do not mind shooting at people.

In Islam we can find a similar term as that Body of faithful believers. They too should form one community of believers, being called the Umma. The word has various uses in the Qurʾān, but it is in the Islamic books used in the same way as in the Messianic books, especially in contrast to the social divisions of humanity. While the Qurʾān required Muḥammad to establish an Arab ʿumma out of the disunited tribes, it also envisaged the creation of a single ʿumma transcending the continuing divisions in the world.

In the philosophy of Jesus also all believers in God should come to be united, not being of this world, not bounded by labels of countries or states, but being partakers of God’s promise and of the body of Christ, believing in one unified world, where God is the Most High Ruler and Jesus the mediator between God and man.

The same as in the Body of Christ, according to Muhammad, there can be no cultural or national differences between Muslims. Muhammad commanded that all of Islam is one: culturally and nationally. This should also be so for all followers of Christ in that Body of Christ.

Therefore why should any one object to

Muhammad said this is a material reality for Muslims, not just a spiritual identity.

and continue

Therefore, where Christianity allows for many Peoples and nations, Islam demands that people become Muslim in every way. {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other}

That would be the same as those who say that others have to become Christian or even worse, do have to become a member of their church, because they often consider their church the only right one, even going so fart that they tell people have to belong to them or they would burn for ever in a place called hell.

Living or not living together

Christianity also allows for non-believers to coexist with Christians.  In fact, the Bible commands that non-believers must be cared for in the same way as believers.

Too many Christians do forget that though there are differences between believers and non-believers, the Bible Commands that they are to be treated fairly, justly — especially under the law.  Several conservative Christians go hard against those who do not think as they. They too go, like their fundamentalist counterparts in Islam, harm others who do not want to think like them.

Christianity commands that believers obey civil laws as long as they do not go against the law of God.

This means the Christian must disobey civil laws that contradict God’s moral law, but the Christian is not to resist the civil penalty for doing so.  {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other}

The same as Christians, Muslims can use the local system against itself. I would like to see those verses where is told that Muslims

are not limited to such means: they are also permitted to use force.  {Truth: The Teachings of Christianity and Islam are Negations of Each Other}

When living in this system of times we have to take into account that God’s desire for mankind is individual liberty matched with individual responsibility, so that our faith in His existence and His Word can bring us to be living according God’s Laws in God’s Kingdom.

Willingly distorting texts of Islam

today we do find lots of Christians and atheists who fall in the trap of Islamic State which has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through wilful ignorance.

There are enough Muslims who like Christians acknowledge the terrible atrocious acts of the crusaders, recognise that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time, and that today we have similar crusaders from the Muslim site as there have been from the Christian site in previous centuries. Those crusaders where often vigilantes and people going on a campaign of conquest. Many Christians seem to forget who those Knights Templars where and what they did or what happened at the inquest and Spanish prosecution. ISIS actions can be compared to the 11-13 century crusades of those who called themselves Christian.

In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day. {What ISIS really wants}

 

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Find also the episode of Terzake: http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/videozone/programmas/terzake/2.43781

Preceding articles

Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp

2014 Politics all over the world

Funding of ISIS

Daesh hits heart of Europe

A Black day for Belgium – Brussels Airport ravage

Knife-trust in democratic sore back

Terrorist attacks in Brussels

Tears for Belgium

What Associated Press released on Wednesday 23 March 2016

Iranian media implicitly accuse Erdogan to have known of the Bruxelles’s attacks in advance

Hard questions

Social media, sympathy & shocks

Belgian Muslims Refusing to Aid Police in Finding Terrorists

Europe unites to defeat terror

Reaction from U.S.A. President Barack Obama

Find also the English short by my article:

Koran tegenover veel oudere Heilige Geschriften

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Read also

  1. Gaza in Bible Prophecy
  2. Two State Solution
  3. Egypt in the picture
  4. Hamas the modern Philistines
  5. Quran versus older Holy Writings of Divine Creator
  6. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  7. Christians at War? Christians using violence?
  8. Listening for the Language of Peace
  9. Israel not building up their weaponry for nothing
  10. Safe Distance program entire communities being evacuated to pre-determined locations
  11. Silence of the world about rocket attacks on Israel
  12. Syria peace talks in doubt over ‘credible partners’
  13. Tears for Belgium (on From Guestwriters)
  14. Bruxelles Ma Belle
  15. A darker and stranger place
  16. Bringers of agony, Trained in Belgium and Syria
  17. Il terrorismo è l’urlo di un bambino al buio
  18. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  19. Signs of the the last days when difficult times will come
  20. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ

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Further reading

  1. The Hadiths and Sunna
  2. From Bida to Sunna: The Wilaya of Ali in the Shii Adhan
  3. Philosophy and Religion-Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought
  4. With All This Talk of the Sharia, What Is It Really?

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Europe unites to defeat terror

The Commission on Wednesday 23 March honoured the victims of the attacks in Brussels by holding a minute’s silence with the King and Queen of Belgium as well as the Belgian and French Prime Ministers. The Commission later had a working meeting with the French Prime Minister.

“We remain concerned, overwhelmed, touched by what happened yesterday in Brussels,”

said Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, following Wednesday’s meetings.

We believe that a European security union is necessary.

The President together with the Belgian and French Prime Ministers, Charles Michel and Manuel Valls, laid a wreath at Maelbeek metro station to honour the victims of the attack which took place there.

President Juncker and Prime Minister Valls called on the European Parliament and the Council to urgently agree new anti-terror measures that the Commission has proposed in recent months. These measures target terrorist groups and organised crime, and include new rules to make it more difficult to acquire firearms. The Council has already reached agreement on the EU Passenger Name Record, with the Parliament soon to do the same.

The working meeting between the College and the French Prime Minister focused on the attacks of 22 March in Brussels, and agreed to take forward the European Agenda on Security – a comprehensive strategy to deepen cooperation between Member States’ security and intelligence services, and to counter the threat of radicalisation.

To strengthen the EU’s external border, the Commission has also adopted a targeted revision of the Schengen Borders Code to introduce systematic checks against relevant databases for all people entering or exiting the Schengen area, as well as a proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard. Both proposals are moving forward in the Parliament and the Council.

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Posted in Crisis, News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Belgian Muslims Refusing to Aid Police in Finding Terrorists

A new report coming out of Belgium is stating the local Muslim population is refusing to cooperate with police to help find terrorists in the country.

From Truth Revolt:

The MailOnline reports that police in Molenbeek — a district known for spawning jihadis like the France and Brussels attackers — have pleaded with local Muslims for help in finding the terror suspects only to have their pleas rebuffed:

The seeds of the terror blasts that shook Europe were planted by a brotherhood of childhood friends who grew up just a few doors away from each other in a part of Brussels dubbed the ‘crucible of terror’.

Police following the trail of the terrorist murderers behind the atrocities in France and Belgium have repeatedly arrived at a single block of housing in Molenbeek, a district of Brussels known as a hotbed of jihadism.

The centre of the deadly network is the Abdeslam family home, a first floor apartment on Gemeenteplaats, behind the local police station – and just round the corner from the home of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the brains behind the Paris attacks. Abaaoud, the linchpin of the terror cell, was killed in a furious shootout with police in Saint-Denis, Paris, in the aftermath of the November massacres. He has emerged as the group’s ringleader, along with Salah Abdeslam.

Brothers Salah and Brahim Abdeslam were involved in the carnage in Paris, in which Brahim, 31, was killed in a suicide attack on the Comptoir Voltaire restaurant. It is understood that Salah, 26, went on the run without detonating his suicide vest.

Salah, who is accused of making the bombs used in the attacks, was arrested last week round the corner from the family home in a frantic police raid after four months on the run. He is also thought to have been involved in the Brussels attacks with a ‘new network’ of fanatics.

Just a few doors down from the Abdeslam and Abaaoud apartments is the family home of Mohamed Abrini, 30, who drove the Abdeslam brothers to Paris to carry out the attacks and is accused of being involved with the Brussels plot. He remains at large, and police are desperately trying to track him down.

This certainly isn’t helping to improve the reputation of the Muslim population living in Belgium, but at the same time, it’s a tricky situation to unearth terrorists. Especially here in America.

We must walk a careful line when it comes to finding terrorists, because its easy to justify unconstitutional measures — like NSA spying — to find these folks in the name of security.

Often times when the government is given greater authority under the guise of safety, that power is abused and turned on the very citizens it’s supposed to protect.

Anyway, if Muslims would cooperate, perhaps some of these measures wouldn’t be needed?

What are your thoughts?

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Preceding article: Social media, sympathy & shocks

Muslims, praying with closed hands

Muslims, praying with closed hands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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