Tag Archives: France

Suspect’s status as failed asylum-seeker stuns Stockholm

stockholm terrorist attack

The “truck attack” in Stockholm

I don’t know why this is a shock to anyone. Guess they have been living under a rock.

From AP: Much like the flags on the Stockholm skyline — some still flying half-staff, others at their peak — people here were divided over their country’s friendly immigration policies two days after an asylum-seeker from Uzbekistan allegedly killed four people in the city’s deadliest extremist attack in years.

The Swedish capital was slowly, but resolutely, regaining its normal rhythm Sunday as details about the 39-year-old suspect emerged. Police said he had been ordered to leave Sweden in December after his request for a residence permit was rejected six months earlier.

Instead, he allegedly went underground, eluding authorities’ attempts to track down and deport him until a hijacked beer truck raced down a pedestrian street and rammed into an upscale department store on Friday.

“It makes me frustrated,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Swedish news agency TT on Sunday. The suspect, who has been detained on suspicion of terrorist offenses, was known known for having “been sympathetic to extremist organizations,” Jonas Hysing of Sweden’s national police said.

A second person was arrested on the same potential charge Sunday, and four others were being held by police. None of them have been identified.

Security officials in neighboring Norway, where a 17-year-old asylum-seeker from Russia was detained early Sunday in connection with an explosive device found near a busy subway station, spoke of the alarming potential for a copycat effect.

Norwegian’s security agency said it wasn’t clear if the teen planned to carry out an attack with the primitive homemade device police defused without any injuries. Agency head Benedicte Bjornland said it was likely the youth had been inspired by recent attacks in Stockholm, France, Germany, Britain and Russia.

“The attacks demonstrate how easy such attacks can be carried out, and prove to others that it is possible to make something similar,” Bjornland said.

Sweden has long been known for its open-door policy toward migrants and refugees. But after the Scandinavian country of 10 million took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015 — the highest per-capita rate in Europe — the government has tried to be more selective about which newcomers it allows to stay.

Swedish police said Sunday they had received roughly 12,500 referrals from the Swedish Migration Board of people who, like the suspect in the truck attack, had overstayed their welcome. The suspect eluded authorities by giving police a wrong address after his residency request was rejected in June 2016, said Hysing, the operative head of the attack investigation. “The efforts to locate (these people) is both time-consuming and resource-intensive,” he said.

National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism Anna Carlstedt, who used to lead the Red Cross in Sweden, said Friday’s attack and the background of the suspect posed “difficult questions.”

“Do we somehow need a more repressive policy?” Carlstedt said. “I think it is very important now not to rush into something, to see how we can safeguard this open society and still be able to protect ourselves.”

The range of mixed emotions — fear and fraternity, anger and openness, — also surfaced at memorial services and rallies held in Stockholm on Sunday to honor the attack victims.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Death over a pronoun? Berkeley killing renews debate over gender pronouns

Protest against the return of Sujit Choudhry to campus and reaction to editorial by him.

Pablo Gomez Jr. in the center, protesting, as usual.

Now the narrative is that the incorrect usage of a pronoun is the cause of a murder? I call BS.

From Sacramento Bee: Pablo Gomez Jr. was a University of California, Berkeley, senior majoring in Latino studies and a prominent campus activist when authorities say he stabbed to death a popular elementary-school teacher.

Soon, the crime that police described as “very brutal and unusual” in a city that reported just two homicides last year was sucked up into the debate over gender identity when it was reported that Gomez preferred to be called “they” rather than “he.”

Even in famously liberal Berkeley, with its long history of protest, the uproar came as a surprise, overwhelming the online news site, http://www.berkeleyside.com, that first reported on Gomez’s preference. “I didn’t see it as something that would anger anyone,” reporter Emilie Raguso said.

After Raguso’s report, conservative commentator Ann Coulter ridiculed the pronoun change and mocked Gomez’s activist background. Breitbart.com and other conservative political websites picked up the story.

On the university campus, where the debate over nontraditional pronouns has simmered, some students said Gomez’s case is different. “I think you give away your right to make a demand like that when you are arrested for killing somebody,” said junior Jonothan Chow, a member of the College Republicans.

Representatives of UC Berkeley’s Gender Equity Resource Center, where Gomez was a member, declined requests to comment on the controversy, as did other gay rights activist groups in Berkeley.

Victim Emile Inman, a 27-year-old native of France, was found in her home in January with a “We Stand with Standing Rock” sign in the front window she shared with other young roommates a few miles from campus. Hours earlier on Jan. 6, police found Kiana Schmitt, 24, seriously injured outside an apartment just north of campus. Police have declined to say how Schmitt was connected to Gomez.

Gomez was arrested Jan. 7 at a Burbank hospital near the Southern California home of Gomez’s parents. Gomez is being held in jail and is accused of killing Inman and assaulting Schmitt.

A young woman who answered the door this week at Inman’s home declined to comment, and her family also has refused requests from The Associated Press and other media to comment on her death.

Gomez’s attorney, George Arroyo, declined to comment and Gomez’s parents did not respond to email requests for comment. Their telephone listing in Los Angeles appears disconnected.

The judge in the case ordered a mental health evaluation after Gomez was removed from a Feb. 1 court hearing to enter a plea to charges of murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Deputies led a kicking and screaming Gomez from the courtroom after a brief meeting with Arroyo.

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Roman Polanski agrees to return to the US if he’s guaranteed no jail time

polanski

Roman Polanski

Meryl Streep and Lena Dunham are no doubt ecstatic about this development.

From Yahoo: 39 years after fleeing the US in the face of rape charges, Roman Polanski has at last agreed to return, but with one somewhat unbelievable caveat.

Deadline report that the 83-year old French-Polish director’s legal representation has told the Los Angeles Superior Court that their client will come back to LA and face his charges so long as he is given the guarantee that he will serve no jail time.

The motion filed by attorney Harland Braun declares, “Mr. Polanski asks this Court to acknowledge that he was promised a specific custody portion of his sentence by Judge Rittenband and he has more than fulfilled the custody portion of his sentence under the principle of comity, California law and the admissions by the District Attorney to the Polish Court. With such assurance by this current Court, Mr. Polanski will return to Los Angeles to be sentenced.”

It seems doubtful this audacious demand will go down well in all corners, given Polanski is charged with the rape of a 13-year old girl in 1977.

The initial deal offered by Judge Laurence Rittenband in 1978 decreed that Polanski would serve only 90 days in a psychiatric hospital – again, somewhat audacious under the circumstances. However, after being informed that the Judge had changed his mind and would push for the maximum sentence, Polanski fled the country.

Polanski has been a controversial figure in the four decades since. More than once the US courts have attempted to extradite him to face charges, whilst Polanski’s own legal representation has more than once failed to get the charges dropped out of court.

None of this has stopped Polanski from continuing with his career as a filmmaker, however, and at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003 he was awarded the Best Director Oscar for ‘The Pianist.’

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Muslim “human rights activist” to Le Pen: “I am going to slit your throat Muslim-style”

marine-le-pen-death-threat-blogger-mehdi-meklat-threatened-kill-770823

It was just words of his “fictional character.” Um, yeah, riiiiiiiight.

From Express UK: For years, Mehdi Meklat, a 24-year-old human rights activist and former Bondy Blog journalist – who, until last week, was hailed as one of France’s rising media stars – published “sickening” tweets under the pseudonym ‘Marcelin Deschamps’, a “provocative” but “fictional” character who, according to the young writer, “does not reflect his personal beliefs, values and morals”.

On Twitter, Mr. Meklat – writing as Marcelin Deschamps – threatened to kill Marine Le Pen. He wrote: “I am going to slit your throat Muslim-style.”

The journalist is also guilty of apologising terrorism and anti-Semitism: hiding behind his ‘fictional’ character, he praised Islamic terrorist Mohammed Merah, said that he “really missed Osama bin Laden” and that we should “bring back Hitler”.

He also said that he wanted to “rape” former Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief, Charb – one of the victims of the January 2015 terrorist attacks – with a “Laguiole knife”.

On Saturday, Mr. Meklat cleaned his Twitter account – he went from 50,000 to 503 tweets – and issued a public apology, branding his hateful tweets as “obsolete” and “irrelevant”.

He tweeted: “I’m sorry if some of you were shocked by my tweets. They are obsolete… The words of my fictional character do not reflect my own personal thoughts and beliefs, quite the opposite. Via Marcelin Deschamps, a provocative character, I was trying to encourage critical thinking.”

His apology, however, has largely fallen on deaf ears.

On Sunday, Marion Marechal Le Pen, Mrs. Le Pen’s niece, tweeted: “Praising Merah, threats, homophobia, hate and anti-Semitism. Why is the press protecting @mehdi_meklat?”

Members of the Printemps républicain, a left-wing organisation explicitly formed to promote and protect secularism in France, bitterly condemned Mr. Meklat’s tweets in a press release and said that, had he been a member of France’s far-right, he would have been excoriated and denounced by the press “a very long time ago”.

They wrote: “For years, Mr. Meklat published racist, sexist and hate-filled tweets. And yet, editors and newspapers continued to hire and support him. If a far-right journalist had tweeted what Mr. Meklat tweeted, he would have been lynched by the press and would probably have ended up in court.”

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George Clooney gives anti-Trump speech at César Awards: ‘Don’t let hate win’

clooney

Trump won. Get over it.

Via Yahoo: While he’s not nominated for an Oscar this year, George Clooney did take home the French equivalent of the Academy’s golden statue at the César ceremony.

Touted beforehand as “the most charismatic actor of his generation,” the Ocean’s Eleven star and his wife Amal, pregnant with their twins, brought Hollywood glamor to Paris at the Salle Pleyel on Friday. Dressed in his signature black Armani tuxedo and bow tie, Clooney looked dashing next to his wife, who showed off her baby bump in a fitted white gown tapered with an ombré of ostrich feathers.

The father-to-be was honored with a career award at the ceremony, along with French film legend Jean Paul Belmondo, who also received a Lifetime Tribute during the evening.

After a lengthy clip real of his greatest hits, Clooney was called onstage by host Jerome Commandeur. Greeted with a standing ovation, Clooney thanked the crowd saying, “Merci, merci” several times. Commandeur then invited Oscar winner Jean Dujardin, Clooney’s Monuments Men costar, to present him with the César d’Honneur. The former costars embraced, and Clooney, excusing himself to the audience for his “horrible” French, asked Dujardin to translate for him.

The duo proceeded to bring down the house, as his former costar gently ribbed him by purposefully mistranslating his speech, adding words like “handsome” to Clooney’s description of himself. The speech also got political, with Clooney cautioning the audience, “As we stand here today the world is going through some pretty momentous changes, not all for the best.” He added, “As citizens of the world we’re going to have to work harder and harder not to let hate win.” At some point during Clooney’s measured words, Dujardin added on his own, “Donald Trump is a dangerous for the world.”

As for his expectant wife, Clooney gushed, “To my wife Amal, there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not proud to be your husband. And I am excited about the years to come, and particularly the months to come. I love you very much.”

Clooney was in France last May for the world premiere of Money Monster at the Cannes Film Festival. His next directing project, Suburbicon, is slated for release later this year.

The César Awards is an annual ceremony recognizing the top achievements in the French film industry and is comparable to the American Oscars. Last year’s honorary César — an award named after the French sculptor who designed it — went to  Michael Douglas. Past honorees have included Scarlett Johansson, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Sylvester Stallone.

See also:

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France should take more refugees in to help with migrant crisis, says Presidential hopeful

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French Presidential candidate Benoit Hamon

Apparently Hamon believes this is a successful strategy to winning.

From Express UK: Left-winger Benoît Hamon urged EU leaders – including Socialist president François Hollande – to treat Europe-bound refugees fleeing war and persecution in a “humane and just” way. 

Speaking at a rally in Bordeaux on Wednesday, he said: “Government officials have given France-bound refugees the cold shoulder when in fact, they should be doing a lot more to protect them.”  Most immigrants undertake “incredibly perilous journeys” to reach European soil, he warned, before adding that France could take in “more refugees”.

He said: “We must renegotiate the Dublin rules that dictate that asylum seekers must stay in the first European country they step foot in.  They are unnecessary and counterproductive. We must also issue more humanitarian visas so that vulnerable refugees can travel to Europe in safe and decent conditions.”

At the beginning of the EU migrant crisis in 2015, Mr. Hollande pledged to offer sanctuary to 24,000 migrants, but has failed to live up to this promise: since then, no more than 10,000 refugees have been granted asylum in France.

He said: “I’m not saying that we have to find beds for one million refugees overnight. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people. France is the world’s fifth most powerful country, it can afford to take in a handful of desperate refugees.”

Mr. Hamon also shone a harsh spotlight on France’s “poor and inhumane” migrant integration policy, which he says is “not up to scratch”. He said: “Refugees should be able to work within three months of arriving in France. We need to help them take a shot at a new life, but first, we must help them integrate into society. The only solution to the migrant crisis is solidarity.

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Uncle in Germany cleared to have sex with his niece

As proggies like to proclaim, “#LoveIsLove.”

messed up

From NY Post: A teen’s sexual relationship with her uncle is not verboten, a German court ruled this week.

In its ruling, the judges reasoned that the 15-year-old girl, identified as Josephine, risked “serious damage in her social-emotional and mental development” if she and her non-blood uncle, 47-year-old Gerrit Haager, were denied contact.

The loving uncle/CEN Photo

The loving uncle/CEN Photo

In Germany, as in many European countries, the legal age of sexual consent is 14. Since there is no law in Germany prohibiting the relationship, it may continue to blossom, the court ruled.

“The court does not offer any opinion on the non-judicial question of whether a 47-year-old married man should return the love of a 14-year-old fired by adolescent affection and enthusiasm,” it wrote, the Telegraph reported.

“The relationship may be socially undesirable and unacceptable, but it is not covered by criminal law, and not categorically forbidden.”

The girl from Schildow, a town in the German state of Brandenburg, ditched school and ran off with her uncle a year ago — to the dismay of her worried parents, who alerted police.

The pair were later found in southern France, and the teen was brought back to Germany, where her parents forbade her from seeing her uncle. The parents got the court involved in a bid to keep the two apart. The red-haired teen revolted, stopped attending school, and tried to stay in a government shelter.

The teen, whom the court described as of “above average intelligence,” has said her relationship with her uncle is “goal-oriented and stable,” according to CEN.

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