Mid-Week International News

What Others Are Saying

Germany: Neo-Nazis Attack Children On School Trip

A teenage boy is in intensive care after neo-Nazis attacked a group of pupils on a school trip in east Germany, German’s The Local reported. The 87 pupils from Hamburg were on a trip in rural Saxony, east Germany, when the attack took place, the Welt newspaper reported. A group of the pupils aged 14 to 15 from Goethe Grammar school snuck out of their hostel to go to a nearby village party on Friday night. The fete itself, celebrating the hamlet of Ostrau’s 888th birthday, was advertised around the area and caught the eye of some of the pupils. But the party was a hotbed of far right activity with the number 88 being significant in Nazi circles as H is the eighth number in the alphabet – 88 stands for HH, Heil Hitler. Despite teachers banning them from going, the group, mostly aged around 15, were stopped by 12 men in a car park at around 3am, after enjoying the festivities, the Welt reported. They then followed the schoolchildren through the town, until they had reached the youth hostel where they were staying. According to the teachers, three of the men came into the building with the children. One pupil, who has not been named, told the Welt that he had woken up to use the toilet, when he heard a commotion downstairs. He entered the toilets, where the three men followed him, throwing him into a urinal. One boy, a 15-year-old of Chinese descent, was reportedly beaten so badly that they broke his eye socket and jawbone. He was taken to hospital and has been in intensive care since Sunday. – In Serbia Independent News

Mr Obama, Take Your ‘Brothers’ And Leave!

The United States of America needed more than one month to understand that what happened in Egypt against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood was a civil revolution, not a military coup. During this period, Washington ‘fueled’ the Brotherhood through its indecision. This has prompted the group to take advantage of America’s vague position to carry out their terrorism operations. Due to its position, the American administration has proven, once again, that it has no clear strategy for its relationship with countries in the region; leading to several catastrophes in Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and Afghanistan. Therefore, we tell this administration: “Leave us alone. Let us pluck out our own thorns. We do not need your scalpel to remove our thorns; because whenever we use your scalpel, it ends up causing more blood spilt. – Arab Times, Kuwait

Syria can deter Israeli aggression without chemical weapons: PM

Syria has other means of inflicting pain on its enemies, especially the Zionist regime of Israel, even without the use of chemical weapons, Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi warned on Tuesday. “The fact that the government agreed to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile does not mean that it could not reach a strategic balance in other ways,” said al-Halqi in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper al-Ahd on Tuesday. Al-Halqi added, “If you have means better suited for your purpose than chemical weapons, why is there a need for (chemical) weapons?” According to the prime minister, Syria’s decision to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenal, in agreement with the U.S.-Russia brokered deal, in no way damages Syria’s ability to hurt its enemies. He noted that Syria can neutralize any enemy threat with advanced aerial weapons systems and advanced missile systems. When the Russian-U.S. deal on Syria’s chemical weapons was announced Saturday, al-Halqi said the Syrian government accepted the proposal “to spare Syrian blood.” On Monday, UN inspectors said there was “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people — over 1,400 according to the U.S. The findings represent the first official confirmation by scientific experts that chemical weapons were used in Syria’s civil war, but the report left the key question of who launched the attack unanswered. Syria has strongly rejected the allegations that it used chemical weapons against Takfiri militants, saying the accusations were fabricated to distract the visiting team of UN chemical weapons experts and blamed foreign terrorist for the heinous crime. Tehran Times, Iran

Questions raised over Hungary’s bid to hold football contest as fans celebrate Nazi war criminal

On the heels of yet another antisemitic incident at a football match in Hungary, the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) has announced that it is bidding to host Euro 2020. The announcement on Tuesday came a month after a Hungarian fans displayed a banner paying tribute to a suspected Nazi war criminal, allegedly responsible for helping to deport over 15,000 Jews to concentration camps during the Second World War. László Csatáry — a former Hungarian police officer who topped the Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most wanted war criminals — died aged 98 just days before a banner reading “In memoriam Csatáry László” was displayed by fans of the most popular football club in Hungary, Ferencváros. The opposing team at that match, MTK, is perceived as a Jewish club and comes up against antisemitism on a regular basis. Ferencváros was fined £2,200 over the incident. . . Earlier this month, UEFA ordered a Budapest team to play a match behind closed doors as punishment for “racist behaviour and racist chanting” by fans. In March, the Hungarian national team was also forced to play in an empty stadium after fans shouted racist slogans and displayed offensive symbols during a match against Israel. -The Jewish Chronicle, UK

Lebanese Forces head says dialogue with Hezbollah useless

Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea said Tuesday dialogue with Hezbollah was useless and that Speaker Nabih Berri’s initiative would not lead to tangible results. “Our experience with dialogue since 2005 has been a waste of time,” Geagea told reporters after meeting with a delegation from Berri’s bloc,, referring to the speaker’s dialogue initiative. “No one can be against dialogue in principle but we do not support useless talks [using up time] better used for other purposes,” he added… “Dialogue with a party that ties everything to a certain ideology and strategies which extend beyond Lebanon will not lead to anything,” Geagea said, referring to Hezbollah. The Daily Star, Lebanon

Stay out of politics, Rowhani tells Iran Revolutionary Guards

Iran President Hassan Rowhani told the powerful Revolutionary Guards on Monday not to get involved in politics, in a carefully worded speech that sought to avoid antagonizing the elite military force. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which answers directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rather than to the president, has become more assertive in politics in recent years, with increasing numbers of veterans in parliament. Rowhani’s speech, which included praise for the IRGC’s increasing economic might, could be an attempt to maintain its support, something that might be in doubt if the Guards see their interests threatened by the new president who has pledged more moderation in Iran’s foreign and domestic policies… “The IRGC is above and beyond political currents, not beside them or within them,” Rowhani said, according to the ISNA news agency. “The IRGC has a higher status, which is that of the whole nation.” – Arab News, Saudi Arabia

Nearly 100 Philippine Muslim guerrillas killed or captured

Philippine forces have killed or captured nearly 100 of the Muslim guerrillas who have held scores of hostages for a week in a southern city, as the government pushes ahead with an offensive to retake rebel-held coastal communities, officials said Sunday. Army troops and police special forces have regained rebel-held grounds and are pressing an assault deeper into communities in the coastal outskirts of Zamboanga city, where more than 100 Moro National Liberation Front guerrillas are holding hostages, military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said. Several hostages have escaped or were freed, but it was unclear how many were still in rebel custody. Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the rebels were still holding up to 40 hostages in one community alone. Zagala said troops taking part in the offensive were calibrating their firepower to avoid harming civilians. “We’re gaining ground, we’re pushing forward,” he said. At least 51 rebels have been killed and 42 others captured, most while trying to escape along the coast after discarding their camouflage uniforms for ordinary clothes, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said, adding that the gunmen would face criminal charges. The bodies of two rebels, a man and a woman, were found Sunday by advancing troops. – Asharaq Al-Awsat, London

Bangladesh: Execution for war crimes convict

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court has sentenced a leader of an opposition political party to death for committing crimes against humanity during the nation’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971. The Jamaat-e-Islami party leader, Abdul Quader Mollah, was found guilty in February and sentenced to life in prison. That sentence was appealed by both the defence and prosecution. On Tuesday, a five-member panel headed by Chief Justice M. Muzammel Hossain ruled that Mollah be put to death. The earlier sentence led to protests across the country as by those who said it was too lenient. Mollah and his supporters say the case against him is politically motivated. Bangladesh says 3 million people were killed and 200,000 women were raped during the 1971 war by Pakistani soldiers aided by local collaborators. – Khaleej Times,  UAE

Hamas prevents Gaza students from entering Egypt

Hamas security forces on Wednesday suppressed a gathering of students hoping to cross the Rafah terminal into Egypt to reach their universities, the official Wafa news agency reported. Around 200 students were waiting at the main gate to cross into Egypt. Hamas security forces assaulted students at the crossing with batons and forcibly dispersed them with police vehicles, Wafa said. Hamas denied the students access to Egypt because they had obtained permission to travel from the PA embassy in Cairo, Wafa said.  On Monday, the Egyptians notified the Palestinian Authority that the crossing would operate four hours a day to allow patients and students to leave. The move came in response to a request by President Mahmoud Abbas, they said. The Rafah crossing has been closed since last Wednesday for security reasons after the Egyptian army started a crackdown against militants in the Sinai peninsula. – Ma’an News Agency, Palestinian Territories

Egypt destroying Gaza tunnels to tighten blockade: Hamas

Gaza rulers Hamas and residents of the Palestinian territory fear Egypt’s destruction of tunnels used to smuggle goods across the border is part of a plan to tighten a blockade of the Strip. “The Egyptian army has destroyed 95% of the tunnels with the aim of setting up a security buffer zone,” Sobhi Ridwan, head of the Palestinian municipality in the border town of Rafah, told AFP. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum echoed the concern. “We have big fears of a buffer zone being set up and the tunnels all being shut down,” Barhum said. Egypt’s army has destroyed many of the tunnels on the Egyptian side of Rafah which are used to smuggle goods, including building material and fuel, into the blockaded Palestinian territory. Egypt says it is part of a crackdown against Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula who have links to extremists in Gaza. Daily News, Egypt

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