Greece Reaches Deal With EU

After months of wrangling, Greece finally worked out a bailout agreement with its European creditors on Monday that will, if implemented, secure the country’s place in the euro and avoid financial collapse, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The terms of the deal, however, will be difficult both for Greeks and their radical left-led government, which since its election in January had vowed to stand up to the creditors and reject the budget cuts they have been demanding.

Before it can get 85 billion euros ($95.07 billion) in bailout cash and support for its banks to reopen, the Greek government will have to pass a raft of “austerity” measures (budget cuts / tax increases). These include sales tax increases, reforms to pensions, and labor market reforms.

Under the deal struck with creditors during an all-night meeting in Brussels, the Greek parliament must approve by Wednesday key reforms,” writes the Associated Press.

They include VAT tax increases and pension cuts, and protecting the independence of Greece’s statistics service, which at the start of the crisis in 2009 was found to have greatly miscalculated the country’s finances for years.

The Greek leader – Alexis Tsipras – and his left-wing government were elected in January to stand up to budget demands.

For them, the payoff of the negotiations in Brussels was clear: about 85 billion euros ($95.07 billion) in loans and financial support over three years, preserving Greek membership in the euro, and helping their country stave off financial collapse.

“We managed to avoid the most extreme measures,” Tsipras said after the summit, and he said he successfully got creditors to drop a demand that Greek assets be transferred abroad as a form of collateral, according to U.S. News and World Report.

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/07/13/greece-talks-drag-beyond-deadline-amid-warnings-of-euro-exit

Does Hillary Clinton Support Benjamin Netanyahu?

Recently, a couple of articles have come out assessing Hillary Clinton’s position on Israel and the Prime Minister there, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Bustle magazine takes a look at the situation.  They claim that Hillary “has a lot more faith in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than the Obama administration, whose patience with Bibi is wearing thin.”

Bustle:

“Clinton has reaffirmed her support for a two-state solution on multiple occasions, and she does not want Israel to be a ‘partisan issue.'”

Apparently, if the Democrats had a different view on the situation in Israel, that would make Israel a ” partisan issue.”

Hillary Clinton also made comments about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seemed inaccurate.  BDS is a global movement to boycott, divest, and sanction companies that are involved with the occupation of Palestinian lands.

For example, some governments or churches refuse to invest in Ford, Caterpillar, or Hewlett Packard, because those companies provide security systems and equipment to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Border Patrol Units.  A BDS movement was reportedly also used against Apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

On July 2nd, Clinton sent a letter to Israeli American businessman / campaign donor Haim Saban, writing that “I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority” in order to “fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”  She sent a similar letter to Jewish communal leader Malcolm Hoenlein, according to The Times of Israel.

In the letters, former Secretary Clinton also mentioned Palestinian efforts to “unilaterally declare statehood” at the U.N. — efforts that she is proud to have blocked, according to Bustle. However, more than 130 countries officially recognize Palestine as a state, writes Bustle, including The Vatican.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/clinton-issues-missives-against-israel-boycott-movement/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/94522-what-do-the-2016-presidential-candidates-think-about-israel-palestine

Strange ‘ISIS Beheading Video’ From HSBC Bank


The Young Turks

Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world.

Recently, HSBC has been ordered to pay a record 40 million Swiss francs and been given a final warning by the Geneva authorities for “organizational deficiencies” which allowed money laundering to take place in the bank’s Swiss subsidiary.

The settlement means the Swiss will not prosecute HSBC or publish the findings of their investigation into alleged aggravated money laundering. However, Geneva’s chief prosecutor, Olivier Jornot, cautioned that the bank was on notice, saying: “This is an excuse which will only apply once,” writes the British newspaper The Guardian.

Recently (and defiantly?) a group of HSBC bankers decided to do a fake ISIS beheading video which has been leaked to the public.

What Is MERS ?

South Korea recently announced a 13-billion-dollar-plus economic stimulus package to help combat the disease MERS.

What is MERS ?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), MERS – Middle East respiratory syndrome – is a viral respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause diseases from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Where can MERS be found?

The following 26 countries have reported cases of MERS: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (Middle East); Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (UK) (Europe); Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt (Africa); China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, the Philippines and Thailand (Asia); and the United States of America (Americas).

The vast majority of these cases have so far occurred in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to WHO.

180 cases – including 29 deaths – have been reported in South Korea due to MERS, writes the International Business Times.

http://www.ibtimes.com/mers-outbreak-south-korea-plans-stimulus-package-135b-tackle-economic-impact-viral-1982933

Was Saddam Hussein’s Body Stabbed On The Day Of His Death?

Sources claim that Talal Misrab – the head guard at Saddam Hussein’s tomb who helped in the burial – stated that Hussein’s body had stab wounds after he was executed.

Wikipedia states that the (late) head of Saddam’s tribe (the Albu Nasir tribe) and governor of Salaheddin, Sheikh Hasan al-Neda, denied this claim. According to The Independent, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s security advisor, stated, “I oversaw the whole process from A-Z and Saddam Hussein’s body was not stabbed or mutilated, and he was not humiliated before execution.”

Saddam’s body was buried in his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, near family members, including his two sons Uday and Qusay Hussein, on December 31st, 2006 at 04:00 local time (01:00 GMT).  His body was transported to Tikrit by a U.S. military helicopter.

“He was buried about three kilometers (two miles) from his two sons in the same cemetery,” states The Independent (Irish edition).

The Independent (Irish edition) also writes that the head guard at Hussein’s tomb – Misrab – said that the body had six stab wounds.  Much of the information on the story comes from The London Times.

Mr. Misrab said that four of the wounds were in the late President’s front and two in his back. The guard alleged that 300 other people witnessed the injuries when the body was buried in the early hours of the morning, the day after Hussein was hanged.

The Independent also confirms that Saddam’s body was handed over from Iraqi Government possession to Sheikh Ali al-Nida, to be buried.

Saddam’s eldest daughter Raghad Hussein, under asylum in Jordan, had asked that “his body be buried in Yemen temporarily until Iraq is liberated and it can be reburied in Iraq”, said a family spokesperson to one of the sources. 

The family also said his body might be buried in Ramadi, citing safety concerns, though there are no plans to do this.

The Iraqi government also denies that any mutilation took place after the dictator was hanged on December 30, 2006, for crimes against humanity.

Another tribesman said that he had been told by Sheikh Ali al-Neda (the former head of Hussein’s tribe) that the body had stab wounds.

Sheikh Hasan al-Neda, the leader of Hussein’s tribe, also dismissed the suggestion that anyone had interfered with the body.

The circumstances of Hussein’s death are not in dispute, however.  His execution caused international outrage after leaked video footage showed that he was taunted by guards who chanted Shia Muslim slogans as the noose was placed around his neck, writes The Independent.

There was another amateur video that purports to show Saddam Hussein in an autopsy room on a gurney after his death.

An autopsy photo on the internet shows a gaping wound on the outer neck of Saddam.  It can be seen below:

Saddam Hussein hanged, December 2006

The home-made video supposedly taken at Hussein’s autopsy is also on the internet and can be seen at the link below:

https://reasonablyliberal.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/saddam-autopsy-footage/

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/11/01/Guard-says-Saddam-Husseins-body-stabbed/UPI-19981225553550/

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/middle-east/saddams-body-stabbed-six-times-after-execution-26488924.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Execution_of_Saddam_Hussein

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/multimedia/slideshows/2007/09/Phone-News.html

(Updated article)

Recent Spate Of Violence In Nigeria

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Two bombs blamed on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram exploded at a crowded mosque and a Muslim restaurant in Nigeria’s central city of Jos, killing 44 people, officials said on Monday.

The blasts on Sunday night came hours after a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a crowded evangelical Christian church service in the north-eastern city of Potiskum, killing at least five people, writes the British newspaper The Guardian.

Also on Sunday, extremists returned to north-eastern villages attacked three days earlier, killing nine villagers and burning down 32 churches and about 300 homes, according to the chairman of a self-defence group in Borno state.

The violence comes at the end of a week in which suspected Boko Haram insurgents killed more than 200 people, according to Reuters.

The spate of bloodshed prompted outrage and French President Francois Hollande said he was ready to hold a summit with regional leaders to coordinate the fight against Boko Haram.

The blast in Potiskum in the state of Yobe on Sunday came after an attack on the capital of neighboring Borno state on Friday, deadly raids in three towns during the week and suicide bombings along a highway.

The president, Muhammadu Buhari, said a slaughter of up to 150 Kukawa residents near Lake Chad on Wednesday by Boko Haram was a “heinous atrocity”. Several people who attended burials there, including a senior government official, said 147 bodies, including 22 children, had been interred.

Also last week in Borno, about 50 people were shot dead in nearby Monguno, 12 men were killed in a raid on Miringa and two suicide bombers killed another 10 alongside a highway.

The Defence Ministry said six suicide bombers had blown themselves up during the attack on the outskirts of Maiduguri on Friday, killing a soldier and “scores” of civilians, writes Reuters.

http://time.com/3946134/terrorism-boko-haram-nigeria-radical-islam-caliphate-suicide-bombing/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/05/us-nigeria-boko-haram-idUSKCN0PF0D120150705

Greek Police, Military On High Alert Due To ‘Austerity’ Talks, Referendum

Riot police stand guard during a bailout protest in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Police leave has been cancelled and the army put on standby as the Greek authorities take steps to preserve order, writes The Times of London.

Security was increased at key locations including foreign embassies, utilities, and warehouses stocking goods that are in danger of running out, notably pharmaceuticals, Yiannis Panousis, the public order minister, said.

The country is approaching one of the most important votes in its modern history on Sunday — one that could redefine its place in Europe — yet many people acknowledge they barely have a clue as to what, exactly, they are voting on.

Erika Papamichalopoulou, 27, a resident of Athens, said “No one is saying what will happen to us if we say yes, or what will happen to us if we say no,” writes The New York Times.

Greece missed a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund, and without new financial aid it is likely to default on other debts this month. Most European nations are in no rush to help, and in fact seem content to watch the Greeks dangle for a bit.  Greek banks have shut down, according to The New York Times.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who called for the referendum, has vacillated from bitter confrontation with the country’s creditors and conciliatory outreach. Even as he signaled on Wednesday that he would accept many of the demands made by the creditors, he pressed ahead with the referendum urging Greeks to reject the proposal containing those demands.

The proposal that Greeks are voting on is no longer on the table, writes The New York Times, and was made around the framework of a bailout package that expired at midnight on Tuesday.

Mr. Tsipras’s unexpected decision to call the referendum was the equivalent of a frustrated chess player trying to break open a stalemated match with a daring last-minute move that his opponent considered to be against the rules.

The Greeks and their creditors — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the other 18 eurozone countries — had spent months making moves and countermoves in largely fruitless negotiations over a deal that would unlock frozen funds for Greece in exchange for pension cuts, fiscal reforms and other measures demanded by creditors.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Tsipras then appeared on television early Saturday morning and announced that he would hold a national referendum five days after the Tuesday deadline for the debt payment to the I.M.F. and the extension of its existing bailout.

He said creditors were demanding more of the same austerity policies he and his party blame for wrecking the Greek economy since 2010. He said that his government had no mandate to approve such a deal but that he would let voters decide.

Analysts agree that a “yes” vote would mean the end for Mr. Tsipras. His government would likely step down next week, and the Greek president – a largely ceremonial figure, though not in moments of collapsing government – would need to assemble a “unity” government from different parties.

According to The Times of London, there is currently a movement towards a “yes” vote in Greece.

(Updated photo)

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article4484196.ece

ISIS Attacks In Egypt?

Early Morning ISIS Attacks Leave Dozens of Egyptian Soldiers Dead

Update: The Times of Israel now puts the number at “over 70” people dead. 

A wave of attacks on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt left at least 38 dead and dozens more injured this morning, writes Gawker.  The attacks were at Egyptian army checkpoints.

The New York Times puts the number of dead at 64 Egyptian troops.

According to the AP, the terrorist group ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the attacks on Facebook.

Also over the weekend, the Egyptian state prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed at point blank range with a roadside bomb tied to an ISIS group.  The name of the ISIS group is the Sinai Province, writes Gawker.

Yesterday, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi publicly promised to step up efforts against the group, apparently prompting a “swift response.”

The morning assault was reportedly launched by around 70 ISIS operatives, who used mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and car bombs in “near simultaneous assaults” on several army checkpoints.

According to the an Associated Press report:

“An Islamic State affiliate in Egypt claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks, saying its fighters targeted a total of 15 army and police positions and staged three suicide bombings, two of which targeted checkpoints and one that hit an officers’ club in the nearby city of el-Arish.

“The authenticity of the claim could not be immediately verified but it was posted on a Facebook page associated with the group.

“Except for the attack at the officers’ club, the rest took place in the town of Sheikh Zuweid and targeted at least six military checkpoints, the officials said. The militants also took soldiers captive and seized weapons and several armored vehicles, they added, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.”

(Updated article)

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/07/01/world/middleeast/ap-ml-egypt.html?_r=0

Hitler Didn’t Have Any (Known) Children. What About Mussolini?

National Alliance deputy Alessandra Mussolini (R) with her husband Mauro Floriani in 1997 (EPA)

The grand-daughter of Benito Mussolini, Alessandra Mussolini, has been in the news recently (she is apparently famous).   The 52-year-old woman and her husband are in the middle of a sex scandal of sorts.  Her husband is reportedly on trial for allegedly paying for sex with schoolgirl prostitutes in Rome, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph.

Mauro Floriani is an ex-police officer and the husband of the Minister of Parliament and former topless model Alessandra Mussolini.  He is accused of having several encounters with the under age escorts, who were aged just 14 and 15, according to The Telegraph.

Mussolini is a former Playboy model, writes the U.K. Daily Mail.

In a scandal that shocked Italians when it first broke two years ago, it came out that at least 50 men paid for sex with two schoolgirls, including middle-aged professionals and the son of a senator with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.

They were working out of an apartment building in the upmarket district of Parioli in Rome, Italy.  Prosecutors have asked that Mr. Floriani be sent to trial for the alleged offenses.

Paying for sex with a woman under the age of 18 is a crime under Italian law and if found guilty, Mr Floriani faces up to six years in prison.

(Updated article)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3137975/From-Playboy-model-Berlusconi-crony-Revealed-colourful-life-Mussolini-s-granddaughter-Sophia-Loren-s-favourite-niece-husband-accused-paying-schoolgirl-prostitute-sex.html