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German police probe 'PEGIDA linked' firearms club over potential plot 'to attack refugees, Muslims'

© Thilo Schmuelgen / Reuters
German police have conducted massive raids against members of a Bavarian firearms club suspected of having close ties with the anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement. The state's Interior Minister said the club might potentially plot attacks against "refugees and Muslims."

"We are concerned that the Bavarian Firearms Sports Group Munich might try to pursue the anti-constitutional goals of PEGIDA Munich in a combative and aggressive way, for example, in the form of attacks against minorities such as refugees and Muslims," the Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said.

He added that his department has launched an investigation against the club and considers banning it.

On Thursday, police in the southern German state conducted a large-scale operation against some members of the gun club as well as local PEGIDA leaders; searching apartments and several other facilities. Eleven sites were raided in the Bavarian regional capital of Munich and the towns of Kaufbeuren and Bad Rodach.

Some 120 police officers, including several special task force units, took part in the operation, German media reported. Police seized two illegal firearms during the raid.

"We have indications that the goal of the firearms group's [activity] was aimed against the constitutional order and against the ideas of mutual understanding between various peoples while the shooting sport was just used as a disguise," Herrmann said in a statement, explaining his decision to launch the shakedown.

Comment: See also : Anti-Islamization group PEGIDA stages rally in Germany's Nuremberg against EU & Erdogan


Che Guevara

Roger Waters has lost millions defending Palestine - but he doesn't care

© Roger Waters
Roger Waters
Roger Waters has lost lucrative sponsorship deals because of his politics, but the Pink Floyd founder remains undeterred.

Roger Waters, the primary composer and lyricist of Pink Floyd during their most prominent years has for decades, used his music to convey a message of peace and humanity. He has typically got it right and occasion gets it wrong.

One issue he has got totally right is the issue of Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israeli war, occupation and economic blockade. For over ten years, Waters has made the issue of Palestinian freedom a central point in his music and accompanying dramatic stage shows.

Waters is part of the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement which encourages individuals to boycott Israeli products and tourism. Waters uses his status as a 'music legend' to highlight the plight of Palestinians. In 2012 he spoke at the United Nations on the issue. He frequently pens open letters to fellow musicians asking them to refrain from performing in Israel until a meaningful peace settlement is reached.

Comment:


Bullseye

'Religiously neutral': German MPs approves partial ban on full-face veil

© Nacho Doce / Reuters
German MPs have approved a partial ban on full-face veils, saying it's the country's duty to present itself "in an ideologically and religiously neutral manner." The ban will apply to public servants and military personnel, but there are some exemptions.

The legislation was passed by the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, on Thursday evening.

"The state has a duty to present itself in an ideologically and religiously neutral manner," the text of the law states, as cited by AFP.

The ban applies to public servants, including election officials, as well as military personnel and staff working in the judiciary.

"[The ban] obliges officials and soldiers not to hide their faces while performing their duties or during direct fulfillment of their tasks," a statement on the Bundestag's website says.

However, the legislation does contain some exceptions. For example, military personnel and public servants may wear a full-face veil to protect themselves from infections. Police officers can also cover their faces in order to conceal their identity.

The new legislation also brings changes to existing laws concerning IDs.

Comment: See also:


Arrow Down

PC bureaucracy in action? Healthcare providers not required to report illegal FGM despite half a million women at risk

The barbaric practise of female genital mutilation — a procedure made unlawful by the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 — has been thrust to the fore of public debate in the United States following the arrests of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, and Attar's wife Farida in Michigan this month.

According to reports, several young Somali girls were brought from Minnesota, one of twenty-four states that have passed legislation to make female genital mutilation (FGM) illegal according to state laws, to Michigan, one of twenty-six states in which FGM has not been made illegal in state law, where Dr. Nagarwala, with assistance from Mrs. Attar, performed the procedure outlawed by federal law in a medical office owned by Dr. Attar.

"Since 1996, there have been specific federal criminal penalties for performing FGM/C in the United States on anyone under 18 years old, including fines, up to 5 years in prison, or both. In 2013, Congress amended the federal statute related to FGM/C to criminalize the knowing transportation of a girl under 18 years old from the United States for the purpose of performing FGM/C abroad—often referred to as 'vacation cutting,' " according to the June 2016 Government Accountability Office's report Female Genital Mutilation/Cuttin

Heart - Black

Hidden room with detainees discovered at Philippines police station - prisoners begged for water

© Vincent Go / AFP
People allegedly kept inside a hidden room at the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Manila Police Department's Police Station 1, April 27, 2017
A cell with detainees hidden behind a bookshelf has been exposed in a police station in the Philippines, rights activists and media said, adding that people were reportedly begging for water and said they had been forced to urinate in plastic bags while held without any charges.

The cell containing 12 men and a women was initially exposed by the Philippines' official Commission on Human Rights (CHR) during its unannounced visit to Police Station 1 in the Tondo district in the capital, Manila, local news website Rappler reported, citing the CHR.

When they were discovered by CHR activists and journalists, the detainees cried "here we are, here we are," AFP reported, adding that some of them begged for water and pleaded with rights workers not to abandon them.

When the CHR attempted to free the detainees, the police reportedly objected, saying: "We arrested them. You can't take them." Station Commander Superintendent Robert Domingo said the detainees were jailed on drug offenses and their documents were still being processed.

© Vincent Go / AFP
People allegedly kept inside a hidden room at the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Manila Police Department's Police Station 1, April 27, 2017.

Attention

UK police claim to have foiled 'active terrorist plot' after woman shot in London raid


A police cordon at Harlesden Road remained in place on Friday morning
British law enforcement claims to have thwarted an active terrorist plot after a woman in her 20s was shot in an armed police raid on a house in the north of the UK's capital.

The police arrested five people in the Thursday evening operation, Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, Neil Basu, said Friday, Reuters reports.

The woman shot during the raid was one of the subjects of an investigation into terrorism, according to the official.

Airplane

American Airlines flight from Manchester to JFK returns safely after declaring mid-flight emergency

© Leonid Faerberg / Global Look Press
A flight from Manchester, England, to JFK in New York has been forced to turn around after declaring an "emergency" in mid-flight.

It is believed the flight was turned around due to a "maintenance issue."

Eye 1

Ex-cop charged with raping mentally challenged woman

© The Free Thought Project
An Ex-Michigan City police officer has been charged with the rape of a mentally challenged La Porte County woman. Thomas K. Jackson was arrested Tuesday at Trail Creek near his home. The former police officer didn't put up a fight and may have even known the arrest was coming. He resigned March 14th, for unknown reasons but which may have been connected to the ongoing investigation.

According to reports, The Michigan City police chief asked La Porte County Sheriff's Office to conduct the investigation to avoid any suspicion of a conflict of interest. Investigators charged Jackson with four counts of rape.

Although he was a veteran police officer with the department, the Michigan City PD told reporters Jackson's alleged rapes happened when he was not on duty. "He always seemed like a good guy, but he was always very flirtatious. We knew something wasn't quite right, but we never imagined he could do something like this," said Shelly Yanke, an acquaintance of Jackson.

Pocket Knife

Man carrying backpack of knives near UK Parliament arrested under Terrorism Act - Update

© AFP
Firearms officiers from the British police detain a man on Whitehall near the Houses of Parliament in central London on April 27, 2017.
A man has been arrested under the Terrorism Act after he was found carrying a bag of knives near the Houses of Parliament, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.

Armed police cordoned off part of Whitehall on Thursday afternoon after the man was tackled and arrested by police "following a stop and search as part of an ongoing operation."

There are some suggestions he was known to police.

Comment: Whitehall terrorist suspect identified
A terrorist suspect who was arrested by armed police as he was carrying a "bag of knives" through Westminster on Thursday has been named as Mohammed Khalid Omar Ali.

The 27-year-old was detained as part of an intelligence-led operation and had been tracked by MI5 for possible ties to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), after a concerned family member is believed to have contacted the police.

The man, who is understood to have been born overseas and lived in South East London, was detained outside the Treasury, just yards from where five people were killed in a terrorist attack by Khalid Masood last month.



Piggy Bank

This is what Americans spent the most money on so far this year

As discussed earlier, it was an abysmal quarter for the US, pressured by what is traditionally the strongest segment of the economy, responsible for 70% of GDP growth: US consumer spending. At 0.23% annualized, this was the worst print going back to 2009.

But that doesn't mean that Americans stopped spending completely, quite the contrary. According to the BEA's "goalseeked" models, even as retail sales tumbled, as Obamacare continued to drain disposable income away from other discretionary purchases, Americans - who spent far less on cars, clothing and housing in the first quarter than in Q4 - were scrambling to buy... recreational vehicles!?