Tag Archives: Germany

Merkel deputy: Flogging case strains Saudi-German relations


Flogging. Really? Total and absolute imbecility. When is the rest of the civilized world going to see these Muslims for what they truly are and Islam for what it truly is. When are religions, and its adherents, going to stop getting a free ride? TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

Associated Press

In this Saturday March 7, 2015 picture activists of the global civic movement Avaaz hand over signatures of an online petition to Germany's Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy,  Sigmar Gabriel, left, during a demonstration in front of the military airport of Tegel Berlin.  Gabriel, stopped on his way to board a plane to Saudi Arabia. The  petition wants to help free the Saudi Blogger  Raif Badawi, Shortly before meeting with the Saudi king on Sunday, German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticized a court-ordered punishment against the  Saudi blogger who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam on a liberal blog.   (AP Photo/dpa, Bernd von Jutrczenka)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Shortly before meeting with the Saudi king on Sunday, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticized a court-ordered punishment against a Saudi blogger who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam on a liberal blog.

The German news agency dpa quoted Gabriel as saying “the harshness of this sentence, especially the corporal punishment, is something unimaginable for us, and of course it weighs on our relations (with Saudi Arabia).”

Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 after writing articles critical of Saudi Arabia’s clerics on a liberal blog he created, which has since been shut down. He was found guilty of breaking Saudi Arabia’s technology laws and insulting religious figures through his blog. In addition to the flogging and prison sentence, he was ordered to pay a fine of about $266,600.

His lawyer, prominent human rights defender Waleed Abul-Khair, is serving a 15-year sentence for insulting the judiciary, among other charges related to his political activism.

Badawi received 50 lashes in a public square in the western coastal city of Jiddah in January, but authorities have since delayed further rounds of flogging after widespread criticism from human rights groups and the kingdom’s Western allies. The U.S. called on Saudi authorities to rescind the punishment and Sweden’s Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s charge d’affaires to protest the flogging.

Saudi Arabia made its first official comments on the case on Saturday, saying that it “expresses its intense surprise and dismay” at international media coverage of the case.

The statement, made by an unnamed Foreign Ministry official whose remarks were carried in the state-owned Saudi Press Agency, said the kingdom “does not accept any interference in its internal affairs” and said its judiciary is impartial and independent. The statement added that the kingdom’s constitution, based in Islamic law, ensures human rights.

Activist group Avaaz had organized a protest in front of Berlin’s Tegel airport before Gabriel’s departure Saturday to the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Protesters handed Gabriel a petition urging him to help secure Badawi’s release and a letter from Badawi’s wife, who lives with their three children in Canada.

Gabriel told protesters that the German government has been working for weeks to secure Badawi’s release.

Rights groups argue that the case against Badawi is part of a wider crackdown on freedom of speech and dissent in Saudi Arabia since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Criticism of prominent clerics is seen as a red line because of their prestige in the kingdom, as well as their influential role in supporting government policies.

Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, who met Gabriel on Saturday, was quoted by state-linked media as saying that trade between the two countries reached $12.4 billion in 2013, with Saudi exports to Germany accounting for $418 million.

___

Jordans reported from Berlin.

German anti-Muslim protesters rally despite Merkel plea


All of these lousy politicians are the same. They continue to suck up to Islam, as they don’t have to deal with them. They live in plush neighborhoods, drive around in limos and frequent the most exclusive restaurants and venues. Meanwhile, the average Joe has to live with these religious fanatics, and all the rest of the baggage they bring, day after day after day. Yeap, politicians are all the same. First and foremost, they’re hypocrites of the highest order. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters

DRESDEN, Germany Mon Jan 5, 2015 

Participants of an alternative rally use brooms as they protest against a demonstration called by anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West', in Dresden January 5, 2015.   REUTERS-Fabrizio Bensch

DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) – Protesters marched in several German cities onMonday against higher levels of immigration and what they see as the growing influence of Islam, in defiance of an appeal from Chancellor Angela Merkel to spurn rallies she views as racist.

The rallies, organized by a new grassroots movement known as PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have become an almost weekly event in the east German city of Dresden in recent months.

Some 18,000 people, the biggest number so far, turned out in Dresden on Monday but similar rallies in Berlin and the western city of Cologne were heavily outnumbered by counter-protesters who accuse PEGIDA of fanning racism and intolerance.

The PEGIDA protesters waved Germany’s black, red and gold flag and brandished posters bearing slogans such as “Against religious fanaticism and every kind of radicalism”.

One poster in Cologne called for “potatoes rather than doner kebabs”, a swipe at ethnic Turks who at around three million represent Germany’s largest immigrant community.

Germany has some of the world’s most liberal asylum rules, partly due to its Nazi past. The number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany, many from the Middle East, jumped to around 200,000 last year — four times as many as in 2012.

In her New Year address last week, Merkel urged Germans to shun the anti-Muslim protesters, saying their hearts were full of hatred.

“We need to … say that right-wing extremism, hostility towards foreigners and anti-Semitism should not be allowed any place in our society,” Merkel said on Monday in the eastern town of Neustrelitz.

In Cologne, home to a large Muslim population, there were 10 times as many counter-demonstrators as PEGIDA protesters. In similarly multi-ethnic Berlin, some 5,000 counter-demonstrators swamped around 400 anti-Muslim protesters, local police said.

“Germany is a country where refugees are welcome and the silent majority must not remain silent but rather go out onto the streets and show itself,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said at the Berlin counter-demonstration.

Cologne Cathedral, one of Germany’s most famous landmarks, switched its lights off to protest against the anti-Muslim rallies. Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate turned off its floodlights in a similar gesture of solidarity.

PEGIDA has unsettled Germany’s political establishment and at first looked likely to help the Euroskeptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD). But the party, already suffering an internal power struggle, is split over how to deal with the movement.

(Reporting by Oliver Barth in Dresden; additional reporting by Boris Berner and Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin; Writing by Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Gareth Jones)

 

Why America isn’t the Greatest Country in the World Anymore


How do you feel about the allegations made in this video? TGO

Video: YouTube

FBI: US girls may have tried to join jihadis


What do parents do with kids, especially girls, who have somehow become so twisted that they would actually fly to Germany in an attempt to join IS fighters?

What could possibly influence three teenage girls to do this? The answer is unknown, at least for now. I’m just glad I’m not one of the parents of these girls. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

Associated Press

IS 1

DENVER (AP) — Three teenage girls from suburban Denver may have been trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria after stealing their parents’ money and flying to Germany, authorities said Tuesday.

The girls — two sisters, ages 17 and 15, and their 16-year-old friend — were reported missing after they skipped school Friday, but the families had no indication of where they might have gone, said Glenn Thompson, bureau chief of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department.

They were stopped at the Frankfurt, Germany, airport over the weekend by FBI agents and returned to Colorado where they were reunited with their families, FBI spokeswoman Suzie Payne said.

A U.S. official said the girls were headed toward Turkey en route to Syria and that investigators were now reviewing evidence, including the girls’ computers.

Another U.S. official called the case “concerning” both to the community and to the country in general. The official said the evidence gathered so far made it clear that the girls were headed to Syria, though the official said investigators were still determining what sort of contacts they had in that country. The official said investigators would be trying to figure out whether there were “like-minded” friends and acquaintances in the girls’ social circle.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name.

The Arapahoe County missing person’s report contains details of the girls’ movements.

They said they stayed in the Frankfurt airport for an entire day before being detained, questioned and returned to Denver, where they were further questioned by the FBI and sent home.

They told authorities they had gone to Germany for “family” but wouldn’t elaborate.

Suspicion arose when the sisters’ father realized his daughters were gone, along with $2,000 and their passports.

The 16-year-old girl’s father became concerned when he got a call from her high school saying she hadn’t reported to class, according to the police reports.

The families reported no prior problems with the girls.

Deputies closed the missing person’s case Monday after they learned the girls had been returned.

A man who answered the door at the sisters’ home in the Denver suburb of Aurora identified himself as a family member but said he had no comment.

The announcement comes one month after 19-year-old Shannon Conley of Arvada, Colorado, pleaded guilty to charges that she conspired to help militants in Syria.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver declined to comment on the latest cases. It’s unclear whether the girls will face charges.

Crimes committed by juveniles are treated as acts of “delinquency” in the federal system and are not handled the same way as crimes committed by adults.

Authorities have not said how they think the girls became interested in helping the Islamic State militants. In Conley’s case, she told agents she wanted to marry a suitor she met online who said he was a Tunisian man fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria.

Conley said she wanted to use her American military training with the U.S. Army Explorers to fight a holy war overseas, authorities said. If she could not fight with the extremists, she told agents, she would use her training as a nurse’s aide.

Agents, who had been overtly trying to stop Conley, arrested her in April as she boarded a flight she hoped would ultimately get her to Syria. She could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced in January.

Foreign fighters from dozens of nations are pouring into the Middle East to join the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations. U.S. officials are putting new energy into trying to understand what radicalizes people far removed from the fight, and into trying to prod countries to do a better job of keeping them from joining up.

____

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington and P. Solomon Banda in Aurora contributed to this report.

Scientists pinpoint exotic new particle called quantum droplet


Interesting stuff… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters

By Will Dunham 

Droplet

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the field of quantum physics, you could call this a droplet in the bucket.

Physicists in Germany and the United States said on Wednesday they have discovered an exotic new type of particle that they call a quantum droplet, or dropleton.

Writing in the journal Nature, they said it behaves a bit like a liquid droplet and described it as a quasiparticle – an amalgamation of smaller types of particles.

The discovery, they added, could be useful in the development of nanotechnology, including the design of optoelectronic devices. These include things like the semiconductor lasers used in Blu-ray disc players.

The microscopic quantum droplet does not dawdle. In the physicists’ experiments using an ultra-fast laser emitting about 100 million pulses per second, the quantum droplet appeared for only about 2.5 billionths of a second.

That does not sound like much, but the scientists said it is stable enough for research on how light interacts with certain types of matter.

A previously known example of a quasiparticle is the exciton, a pairing of an electron and a “hole” – a place in the material’s energy structure where an electron could be located but is not.

The quantum droplet is made up of roughly five electrons and five holes. It possesses some characteristics of a liquid, like having ripples, the scientists said.

Quantum physics is a branch of physics that relates to events taking place on the tiniest scale. It is essential in describing the structure of atoms.

Particles are the basic building blocks of matter. They include things like subatomic entities such as electrons, protons, neutrons and quarks. Only rarely are new ones found.

The scientists in Germany worked with a team led by physicist Steven Cundiff at JILA, a joint physics institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

It was in Boulder where the laser experiments were performed using a semiconductor of the elements gallium and arsenic, revealing the new particle, albeit fleetingly.

“Even though this happens so rapidly, it is still useful to understand that it does happen,” Cundiff said by email.

The scientists foresee practical value in the discovery.

“The effects that give rise to the formation of dropletons also influence the electrons in optoelectronic devices such as laser diodes,” physicist Mackillo Kira of the University of Marburg in Germany, one of the researchers, said by email.

Examples of optoelectronic devices include LED lights and semiconductor lasers used in telecommunications and Blu-ray players.

“For example, the dropletons couple particularly strongly to quantum fluctuations of light, which should be extremely useful when designing lasers capable of encoding quantum information,” Kira added.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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