Day: June 7, 2017

694940094001_5462569440001_5462533169001-vs.jpg

Trump to nominate Christopher Wray to be FBI director – Who is Christopher Wray? – Will FBI pick's Chris Christie connections affect his confirmation?


President Trump on Wednesday said he intends to nominate former assistant attorney general Christopher Wray to be the next FBI director.

Wray, currently a litigation partner at King & Spalding, would replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who took over when James Comey was fired by Trump in May.

“I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow,” Trump tweeted.

The announcement came ahead of a Senate hearing where McCabe, among others, was set to testify. Fired FBI boss James Comey also is set to testify before a Senate committee on Thursday.

Wray will need Senate confirmation to take over the bureau.

“Chris Wray is an extraordinary person, possessing all the gifts necessary to be a great Director of the FBI,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “I congratulate President Trump for choosing a leader of proven skill, independence, and integrity, a man in whom all Americans can have confidence.”

Trump met with Wray on May 30, with Wray emerging as a late contender for the FBI job. 

Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman had been seen as front-runner for the gig, but Lieberman took himself out of consideration after Trump hired Marc Kasowitz to defend him in any Russia-related investigations. Lieberman is senior counsel for the New York-based Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.

McCabe was interviewed for the full-time job; however, he was never seen as a serious possibility given his wife’s connections to Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his own relationship with Comey. A McAuliffe-linked group donated $500,000 to the Senate campaign of Jill McCabe.

Other candidates for the post included former FBI official Richard McFeely, FBI veteran John Pistole and ex-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who all met with Trump. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., former Justice Department official Alice Fisher and ex-U.S. attorney Michael Garcia were also floated, but each withdrew from consideration.

Wray was nominated as assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ’s criminal division in 2003 and served in that role until 2005. After he left the Justice Department, Wray returned to private practice, focusing on “white collar and internal investigations,” according to his DOJ biography.

During his time at DOJ, Wray became known for overseeing the Enron prosecution task force and playing a major role in the department’s post-9/11 response.

In private practice, Wray also served as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s lawyer during the “Bridgegate” saga. Christie has been a close confidant of Trump’s, but it’s unknown if the two discussed the pick.

“I have the utmost confidence in Chris,” Christie told NorthJersey.com last week. “He’s an outstanding lawyer. He has absolute integrity and honesty, and I think that the president certainly would not be making a mistake if he asked Chris Wray to be FBI director.”

Wray as FBI head would be stepping into a maelstrom, with the ongoing Russia investigations swirling overhead, as the bureau also attempts to continue anti-terror operations and finding the sources of persistent government leaks.

Wray graduated from Yale in 1989 and received his law degree in 1992 from Yale Law School, where he served as the executive editor of Yale Law Journal. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in 1997 and began working at Main Justice in 2001.

Wray received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the DOJ’s highest award for public service and leadership, when he left the Justice Department in 2005.



Source link

1496857401582.jpg

PHILLY FANATIC TV reporter’s tantrum goes viral, gets her fired


A night out for a reporter ultimately led to her unemployment.

Philly Mag reported Tuesday PHL 17 reporter Colleen Campbell was fired after she was arrested outside of Helium Comedy Club Sunday night for assaulting a police officer. The incident was caught in a now-viral video posted on social media by New York-based comedian Wil Sylvince.

The 28-year-old was asked to leave the venue after multiple warnings for disrupting a show featuring comedian Craig Robinson with her loud whispering. She then allegedly got into a fight with bar staff while on the way out.

DOG CRASHES LIVE RUSSIAN NEWS BROADCAST

Campbell was then filmed telling police “you guys are f—ing dictators… you f—ing c—k suckers” outside of the venue. She then added, “I did not do s—t, I stood there and laughed like the rest of the audience like I should. I did not disrupt anybody.”

The officer, who remained calm, told Campbell and her male guest to walk away. This only enraged Campbell. She was then caught calling the officer a “f—ing piece of s—t” and attempting to spit on the face of a man standing nearby.

“What’s that called? What’s that called? Assault? Show me videotape,” she said after being handcuffed. “You can’t. That’s why everybody hates you guys! You can’t prove it!”

‘GAME OF THRONES’ STAR SOPHIE TURNER DENIES USING N-WORD IN VIRAL VIDEO

She then shouted at the officer to stop tasering her, despite him insisting he was only handcuffing her. Campbell also declared she worked for a news station.

The publication added there are charges pending against Campbell, including “simple assault, terroristic threats, hindering apprehension, and failure to disperse.” In addition, two of the charges she’s facing are third-degree felonies.

Campbell later told the magazine she was allegedly drugged.

“Everything was foggy,” she said. “I do remember coming in to Helium. I do remember getting into an altercation there, but I don’t remember what it was about. I only had two drinks at Helium. I feel awful.

“That’s not me or how I speak or how I talk or how I was raised. I had to delete all my social media, because I’m getting threats. I wanna apologize to the officer. I don’t remember the whole altercation at all. I remember feeling attacked. I would never talk like that. It was like watching a whole different me.”

In a statement sent to FOX 29 by her spokesperson, Campbell said, “My actions on that video are not the result of a handful of drinks spaced out over a couple of hours. I believe I may have been unknowingly drugged at some point that night. I did not receive medical testing while in custody because, as I recall, I was advised by personnel at the police station that such testing would delay the process of my being released.”

Spokesman Wayne Pollock added Campbell has been “the recipient of thousands of lewd and threatening phone calls, texts, messages, and emails ranging from angry, profane, and defamatory insults to deeply disturbing sexual and violent threats.”



Source link

694940094001_5432301140001_5432283125001-vs.jpg

'SLUSH FUND' STOPPED DOJ ends Obama-era special interest payouts


The Justice Department announced Wednesday it will no longer allow prosecutors to strike settlement agreements with big companies directing them to make payouts to outside groups, ending an Obama-era practice that Republicans decried as a “slush fund” that padded the accounts of liberal interest groups.

In a memo sent to 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices early Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would end the practice that allowed companies to meet settlement burdens by giving money to groups that were neither victims nor parties to the case.

Sessions said the money should, instead, go to the Treasury Department or victims.

“When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people—not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Sessions said in a statement.

Conservatives have long fought the policy introduced under the Obama administration. Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would prohibit the Department of Justice from requiring defendants to donate money to outside groups, after concerns that the settlements bypass congressional appropriations processes.

“This bill is oversight and action. Congress must not tolerate Justice Department political appointees using settlements to funnel money to their liberal friends,” Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who introduced the bill, said in a statement. “This is also an institutional issue. Once direct victims have been compensated, deciding what to do with additional funds recovered from defendants becomes a policy question properly decided by elected representatives in Congress, not agency bureaucrats or prosecutors.” 

Paul Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at The Federalist Society, described the practice as “improper and unlawful.” He also said the practices were barred by the Appropriations Clause, Antideficiency Act, and the Miscellaneous Receipts Act. 

“No private lawyer could give away a client’s settlement money, and no government lawyer may do so either. It is time for this unlawful practice to end,” Larkin wrote in 2016. 

“No private lawyer could give away a client’s settlement money, and no government lawyer may do so either. It is time for this unlawful practice to end.”

– Paul Larkin, The Federalist Society

Officials told Fox News the third-party settlement changes were an issue of “good governance.”

“Unfortunately, in recent years the Department of Justice has sometimes requires or encouraged defendants to make these payments to third parties as a condition of settlement,” Sessions added. “With this directive, we are ending this practice and ensuring that settlement funds are only used to compensate victims, redress harm, and punish and deter unlawful conduct.”

Bank of America, for example, was required to pay nonprofit organizations as part of a record $17 billion settlement to resolve an investigation into its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. The agreement was struck under then-Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

The receiving groups included organizations that provide housing counseling, foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment assistance.

Gibson Guitar Corp. also had to contribute to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to resolve a criminal investigation into allegations it illegally imported exotic wood.

It’s hard to say what kind of cases could be impacted by the change and how. The new policy allows only for restitution to victims or payment that “directly remedies the harm that is sought to be addressed.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa A. Rickard commended Sessions’ decision for directing DOJ officials to “seek justice” in a manner “consistent with pubic interest,” adding: “Not how much money they can generate for outside interest groups unconnected with the underlying enforcement action.” 

Chairman of House Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also applauded the move. 

“Since 2010, I’ve been working to shine a light on these misdeeds and to get answers from the Department,” Grassley said. “Today’s announcement is welcomed news for those of us who respect the rule of law and demand a more accountable government.” 

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



Source link

1496849361918.jpg

Jewish center bomb threats: Ex-journalist to plead guilty


A former journalist and spurned ex-boyfriend from St. Louis is expected to plead guilty next week to making bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers — in an alleged cyber-stalking campaign targeting his ex, a court filing stated.

Juan Thompson, 31, is suspected in at least eight bomb threats that targeted Jewish community centers in Michigan, Texas, California and New York. Thompson made the threats to disparage his former girlfriend, federal officials said.

GIRL, 7, ON LIFE SUPPORT AFTER DEADLY ST. LOUIS SHOOTING

The ex-journalist pleaded not guilty during an April 10 court appearance in New York City, according to the Daily News.

Prosecutors suggested in a document sent to U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel that Thompson may plead guilty on June 12, but the charges were not clear, according to Newsday.

POLICE: FRIENDS FILMED MISSOURI MAN DRAGGING KITTEN TO DEATH

“The parties respectfully write to confirm the date and time set by the Court for the defendant’s guilty plea,” the prosecutors stated in the court filing.

Thompson’s lawyers have not commented on the filing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Source link

1496807089124.jpg

Report: Trump suggests solar panels for border wall


President Trump on Tuesday reportedly suggested that solar panels could offset some of the costs to erect a border wall on the U.S.’s southern border. 

Trump made the pitch on Tuesday during a meeting with congressional Republicans, two lawmakers who attended the meeting told The Wall Street Journal.

The details of the plan were still unclear, but the revenue from selling the solar power generated by the panels could help offset some of the construction costs.

“I think it’s innovative,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told the paper. “To authorize it and to appropriate it wouldn’t cost as much.”

Solar panels and other forms of green energy are popular among those who strongly opposed Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris accord, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, most Democrats have been against Trump’s key campaign promise of building a border wall.

“He’s been looking at a lot of options and this is a new option that he’s been looking at that sounds like its got real promise,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said.

Trump’s wall hopes to deter the influx of illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Trump had also promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. But after receiving strong pushback from Mexican officials, Trump suggested the U.S. would pay for it upfront and Mexico would pay later.

As of now, Congress has not allocated any money for the construction of the border wall. Cost estimates range past $20 billion, but the White House had been seeking $1.4 billion as a down payment in the recently passed spending bill in order to start the process. Strong pushback from Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle has left the wall’s future in doubt.

Trump said he would be willing to revisit getting money for the wall in September.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.



Source link

694940094001_5462901138001_5462867251001-vs.jpg

Cosby accuser stays calm


Bill Cosby’s chief accuser Andrea Constand remained calm as she was questioned by one of Cosby’s lawyers during day three of the comedian’s sex assault case Wednesday.

Los Angeles lawyer Angela Agrusa has spent a painstaking hour going over Andrea Constand’s old phone records.

She hopes to show Constand changed her mind about the date of the alleged 2004 assault after reviewing them.

But Constand says she never got the records from Temple University for the work-issued phone.

Constand has said she felt her friendship with Cosby was important to the school’s athletics department.

She managed the women’s basketball team at Temple while he was a high-profile trustee.

Agrusa has suggested that Constand once enjoyed a romantic dinner by the fire at Cosby’s home before the alleged assault. Constand says the mood was friendly and the room light enough to eat.

Cosby arrived in court Wednesday along with his longtime hair stylist John Achison and Achison’s wife, actress Sheila Frazier. The disgraced comedian’s wife Camille Cosby has not been by her husband’s side since the trial began Monday.

Constand testified Tuesday that she shot down the actor’s casual advances twice before she found herself paralyzed and unable to fight him off the night she took pills that he convinced her were safe herbal supplements.

Before Tuesday, Constand had never spoken about Cosby in public, barred from doing so under the terms of a confidential settlement they reached in 2006. Her deposition from that lawsuit remains sealed.

Cosby, 79, is charged with drugging and sexually abusing Constand in 2004. The TV star once dubbed America’s Dad could get 10 years in prison if convicted.

Some 60 women have come forward to say Cosby sexually violated them, all but destroying his nice-guy image, but the statute of limitations for prosecution had run out in nearly every case. Constand’s case is the only one in which Cosby has been charged.

Fox News’ Lissa Kaplan and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.



Source link

1496848288101.jpg

Circle OLDER than Stonehenge!


Thought Stonehenge was our oldest relic?

Think again.

Mysterious religious rituals were happening WAY before the stone circle was assembled, in a lesser-known prehistoric site some 20 miles down the road in Avebury, Wiltshire.

Experts discovered the circular Palisades – which would have appeared like large wooden enclosures and stretched 250m in diameter – 30 years ago.

They initially believed they were erected at the same time as Stonehenge, at around 2,500 BC.

But new radiocarbon analysis suggests they were built in about 3,300BC – just a few hundred years after the first farms emerged in Britain.

The wooden rings would have been burnt to the ground to create rings of fire and could be dated using charcoal samples.

Professor Alex Bayliss, a carbon-dating expert at Historic England had been waiting for technology to advance so they could learn more about the rings.

He told The Times: “They are two really massive circles of timbers.

“One of the hypotheses is that one could have been for women and the other for men to use for rituals.

“We have an entirely new kind of monument that is like nothing else ever found in Britain.”

He doesn’t believe they were occupied or for storing livestock – suggesting that they were for religious rituals.

The two structures would have represented a huge investment of time and labour.

The study, published in British Archaeology, estimates that the rings stretched over four kilometres and used more than 4,000 trees.

The incredible discovery comes as Druids and Wiccans gear up for the summer solstice, celebrated at Stonehenge in midsummer, which this year will take place on June 21.

Hundreds of mysterious 2,000-year-old stone circles were recently discovered deep in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.



Source link

Portugal and Islam


In a videotape broadcast on American TV after 9-11, Osama bin Laden once referred to the tragedy of Andalusia, considered the greatest disaster in Muslim history before the re-birth of Israel. The subtitles conveniently forgot to note that Andalusia meant the Iberian Peninsula, and that Muslims want it back.

Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalusia would be repeated in Palestine. – Slate

When I saw that videotape on TV in 2011, I nearly jumped out of my chair.  As an amateur historian, I knew what was meant. I could not believe that no one noted the connection.

We tend to associate Andalusia with Spain, because Spain’s southern most province is called Andalusia, an homage to the invaders’ former presence.  In reality, the Arab word Andalus referred to the whole peninsula, not just Spain, and that is what Bin Laden had in mind. Except for a small sliver of land on the Northern Coast of Spain, the whole territory had been conquered.

The question naturally arises: What about Portugal?

In 1249, the Moorish rulers were finally defeated in Portugal, about 243 years before the last of the Moorish rulers were defeated in Spain. All the while, Spain was liberating its country in stages, but sort of stalled when it came to retaking Andalusia (The Emirate of Granada). Why?

The Emirate of Granada had been reduced to a vassal state of Spain, and paid considerable tribute in gold – from central Africa — to the Christians in the north.  In spite of that, Grenada prospered. It was only after Portugal opened up ocean routes in the 15th century, that Grenada’s economic fortunes declined.

Until Ferdinand and Isabella, Spain was content to profit of this cash cow. Near the end, profits dropped, and the Moors got aggressive.  The rest is history.  But the damage was done.

Anyone who has studied Spanish becomes immediately aware of odd words, which don’t look European. One of Spain’s longest rivers, the Guadalquiver (Wadi al kabir), is testimony to Arabic’s influence.  A simple word like mayor, which in Portuguese is prefeito (similar to prefect, coming from Latin praefectus )  is contrasted with the Spanish alcalde, which comes from the Arabic word for judge (alqadi).  In simple terms, Spanish was more strongly influenced by Arabic.  Anyone who speaks Spanish immediately hears the difference between Spanish and Portuguese. Though they are written similarly, they sound completely different.  That 243 years of extra Moorish occupation significantly shifted the Spanish language.

While seven centuries of Arab rule in Andalusia produced architectural treasures like the Giralda in Seville, Córdoba’s Great Mosque and the Alhambra palace in Granada, the Islamic period in Portugal left few major monuments. The Andalusian cities developed as major centers of Islamic culture to rival Damascus or Marrakesh, but Portugal was always on the outer edge of the Muslim world and its frontier rulers invested little in grandiose construction. – The Islamic heritage in Portugal’s past – PRI

What we notice is that by getting rid of Moorish rule earlier, Portugal minimized Arab influences, even as Portuguese incorporated more French words. The result is substantial. When we think of the Moorish invasion of Iberia, we tend to emphasis its impact on Spain. With good reason. The Arabs left less of a footprint in Portugal; while Spain dallied far too long in getting rid of the Moors.

The difference lingers to this day.

Spain is over 4% Muslim today, with almost 2 million Muslims.  Portugal by contrast is roughly at 40,000 or so – and that number is taken from Islamic sources, which may be exaggerating – or 0.4% (charts can vary a bit).   In absolute numbers, Portugal has 22% the population of Spain, yet only roughly one fiftieth (1/50th) the number of Muslims.  This mean that Portugal has one of the lowest Muslim populations in Western Europe. Even Ireland has a higher percentage of Muslims. So what is going on?

Why is Islam ignoring Portugal (relatively speaking)?  I doubt the Muslims are singularly averse to Fado Music, or feijoado.

The general consensus seems to be that the Muslims are following the money. Portugal is the poorest nation in Western Europe.  But that would not explain Ireland, which is one of the richest nations in Western Europe, with a relatively small population of Muslims – though that seems to be changing fast.

According to Irish figures, the number of Muslims increased 29% in Ireland from 2011 to 2016.  Ireland is catching up to the rest of Western Europe.

Nor is it that Portugal’s government is anti-Muslim. Portugal wants immigrants to replace a population that is emigrating due to a bad economy. It seems that most Muslim refuse to go to Portugal, as this commentary shows:

Luís Gouveia, the national deputy director of borders and immigration service SEF, has told Diário de Notícias that Portugal may be ready to receive 4,754 refugees (as part of EU quotas) but is unlikely to see more than 50 arrive before Christmas, and even that isn’t set in stone.


The problem, he explained, is not simply bureaucratic. People are actively refusing to come here.


“The crushing majority of asylum seekers coming into Europe want to get to Germany and Sweden where they have family, or where they know they can find work and have a good lifestyle. Preferences are always for northern countries,” said Gouveia. “The Iberian Peninsula is unknown.”


He added that of 40 asylum seekers recently offered refuge in Spain, only 12 agreed to it. [Note: Spain had an economic crisis recently] – Refugees don’t want to come to Portugal, 2015

It can’t be a case of family ties. Spain has 2 million Muslims and should be a destination for more Muslims, who prefer Northern Europe  It is certainly a case of the economy.

Is that all there is to it?  No! Unlike Spain, Portugal’s post-Islamic Catholic empire often tended to be in non-Muslim majority regions of Africa and Asia. There were exceptions, though, like Portuguese Guinea.

However, post-Islamic Catholic Spain took control of Morocco, which supplied troops to Franco; and still has Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. Ceuta is already half Muslim. Spain did not so much get rid of Muslims as trade positions of ruler and vassal. Spain did expel Muslims from Iberia, but did not break connections with them. Spain had a lingering strong historical connection to Islam that Portugal did not. This is also true of England and France, especially France, where a lot of the Muslims are of Algerian origins.  Of course, history is not the only reason.  Sweden, with lots of Muslims today, had a empire which was generally confined to the Baltic. Lutheran Sweden’s historical religious opposition was Catholic, not Islamic.  Money is the factor in Sweden.

Portugal has the unenviable position of being the poorest nation in Western Europe.  However, it has the enviable position of being the least Muslim nation in Western Europe. Money and benefits are certainly a factor, but not the only one.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He writes on the Arabs of South America at http://latinarabia.com. He also started a small website about small computers at http://minireplacement.com.

In a videotape broadcast on American TV after 9-11, Osama bin Laden once referred to the tragedy of Andalusia, considered the greatest disaster in Muslim history before the re-birth of Israel. The subtitles conveniently forgot to note that Andalusia meant the Iberian Peninsula, and that Muslims want it back.

Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalusia would be repeated in Palestine. – Slate

When I saw that videotape on TV in 2011, I nearly jumped out of my chair.  As an amateur historian, I knew what was meant. I could not believe that no one noted the connection.

We tend to associate Andalusia with Spain, because Spain’s southern most province is called Andalusia, an homage to the invaders’ former presence.  In reality, the Arab word Andalus referred to the whole peninsula, not just Spain, and that is what Bin Laden had in mind. Except for a small sliver of land on the Northern Coast of Spain, the whole territory had been conquered.

The question naturally arises: What about Portugal?

In 1249, the Moorish rulers were finally defeated in Portugal, about 243 years before the last of the Moorish rulers were defeated in Spain. All the while, Spain was liberating its country in stages, but sort of stalled when it came to retaking Andalusia (The Emirate of Granada). Why?

The Emirate of Granada had been reduced to a vassal state of Spain, and paid considerable tribute in gold – from central Africa — to the Christians in the north.  In spite of that, Grenada prospered. It was only after Portugal opened up ocean routes in the 15th century, that Grenada’s economic fortunes declined.

Until Ferdinand and Isabella, Spain was content to profit of this cash cow. Near the end, profits dropped, and the Moors got aggressive.  The rest is history.  But the damage was done.

Anyone who has studied Spanish becomes immediately aware of odd words, which don’t look European. One of Spain’s longest rivers, the Guadalquiver (Wadi al kabir), is testimony to Arabic’s influence.  A simple word like mayor, which in Portuguese is prefeito (similar to prefect, coming from Latin praefectus )  is contrasted with the Spanish alcalde, which comes from the Arabic word for judge (alqadi).  In simple terms, Spanish was more strongly influenced by Arabic.  Anyone who speaks Spanish immediately hears the difference between Spanish and Portuguese. Though they are written similarly, they sound completely different.  That 243 years of extra Moorish occupation significantly shifted the Spanish language.

While seven centuries of Arab rule in Andalusia produced architectural treasures like the Giralda in Seville, Córdoba’s Great Mosque and the Alhambra palace in Granada, the Islamic period in Portugal left few major monuments. The Andalusian cities developed as major centers of Islamic culture to rival Damascus or Marrakesh, but Portugal was always on the outer edge of the Muslim world and its frontier rulers invested little in grandiose construction. – The Islamic heritage in Portugal’s past – PRI

What we notice is that by getting rid of Moorish rule earlier, Portugal minimized Arab influences, even as Portuguese incorporated more French words. The result is substantial. When we think of the Moorish invasion of Iberia, we tend to emphasis its impact on Spain. With good reason. The Arabs left less of a footprint in Portugal; while Spain dallied far too long in getting rid of the Moors.

The difference lingers to this day.

Spain is over 4% Muslim today, with almost 2 million Muslims.  Portugal by contrast is roughly at 40,000 or so – and that number is taken from Islamic sources, which may be exaggerating – or 0.4% (charts can vary a bit).   In absolute numbers, Portugal has 22% the population of Spain, yet only roughly one fiftieth (1/50th) the number of Muslims.  This mean that Portugal has one of the lowest Muslim populations in Western Europe. Even Ireland has a higher percentage of Muslims. So what is going on?

Why is Islam ignoring Portugal (relatively speaking)?  I doubt the Muslims are singularly averse to Fado Music, or feijoado.

The general consensus seems to be that the Muslims are following the money. Portugal is the poorest nation in Western Europe.  But that would not explain Ireland, which is one of the richest nations in Western Europe, with a relatively small population of Muslims – though that seems to be changing fast.

According to Irish figures, the number of Muslims increased 29% in Ireland from 2011 to 2016.  Ireland is catching up to the rest of Western Europe.

Nor is it that Portugal’s government is anti-Muslim. Portugal wants immigrants to replace a population that is emigrating due to a bad economy. It seems that most Muslim refuse to go to Portugal, as this commentary shows:

Luís Gouveia, the national deputy director of borders and immigration service SEF, has told Diário de Notícias that Portugal may be ready to receive 4,754 refugees (as part of EU quotas) but is unlikely to see more than 50 arrive before Christmas, and even that isn’t set in stone.


The problem, he explained, is not simply bureaucratic. People are actively refusing to come here.


“The crushing majority of asylum seekers coming into Europe want to get to Germany and Sweden where they have family, or where they know they can find work and have a good lifestyle. Preferences are always for northern countries,” said Gouveia. “The Iberian Peninsula is unknown.”


He added that of 40 asylum seekers recently offered refuge in Spain, only 12 agreed to it. [Note: Spain had an economic crisis recently] – Refugees don’t want to come to Portugal, 2015

It can’t be a case of family ties. Spain has 2 million Muslims and should be a destination for more Muslims, who prefer Northern Europe  It is certainly a case of the economy.

Is that all there is to it?  No! Unlike Spain, Portugal’s post-Islamic Catholic empire often tended to be in non-Muslim majority regions of Africa and Asia. There were exceptions, though, like Portuguese Guinea.

However, post-Islamic Catholic Spain took control of Morocco, which supplied troops to Franco; and still has Ceuta and Melilla on the North African coast. Ceuta is already half Muslim. Spain did not so much get rid of Muslims as trade positions of ruler and vassal. Spain did expel Muslims from Iberia, but did not break connections with them. Spain had a lingering strong historical connection to Islam that Portugal did not. This is also true of England and France, especially France, where a lot of the Muslims are of Algerian origins.  Of course, history is not the only reason.  Sweden, with lots of Muslims today, had a empire which was generally confined to the Baltic. Lutheran Sweden’s historical religious opposition was Catholic, not Islamic.  Money is the factor in Sweden.

Portugal has the unenviable position of being the poorest nation in Western Europe.  However, it has the enviable position of being the least Muslim nation in Western Europe. Money and benefits are certainly a factor, but not the only one.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago. He writes on the Arabs of South America at http://latinarabia.com. He also started a small website about small computers at http://minireplacement.com.



Source link

edge_Lochte_092916.jpg

Lochte contemplated suicide


Competitive swimmer Ryan Lochte told ESPN the Magazine he contemplated committing suicide following the public backlash that occurred after the highly-publicized gas station incident at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games.

“After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world,” admitted the 32-year-old. “There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, ‘If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.’ I was about to hang up my entire life.”

In August 2016, the 12-time medalist falsely claimed that he and Team USA swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in Brazil.

RYAN LOCHTE SAYS HE ‘HIT THE LOWEST LOW’ AFTER RIO BUT IS 

Lochte, who admitted to being “hammered” while celebrating their win, later said he didn’t remember all the details of the night and ultimately, he and his teammates received penalties for lying. Lochte lost his endorsements and was suspended from swimming for 10 months.

“There were times when I’ve hit the lowest low,” he told Fox News in February. “There were certain times when I didn’t want to wake up. I didn’t care much for living…”

He credited his fiancée, Playboy model Kayla Rae Reid, for supporting him through the scandal.

“She was right there behind me and she was the one that… brought light into me… She was the one who gave me life, gave me hope,” he said.

RYAN LOCHTE EXPLAINS WHY HE HID PLAYBOY MODEL GIRLFRIEND

After their engagement in October 2016, the couple announced in December they were expecting a baby. Lochte said his child is now giving him the motivation to dive into the sport again this year.

“My son is going to be there during the Olympics,” he explained. “He’s going to watch his dad do something that he’s really passionate about and loves. I think that’s what really got me to get that drive back again, that focus back in the water. I want to do it for him. I want to show him that if you set your mind on things, your dreams can come true. And to never give up on it. I’m doing it for this guy.”



Source link

1496840287817.jpg

NASA's new Batman rover


NASA showed off a prototype of a new Mars rover, reminiscent of a vehicle from Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy.

Posting the announcement on Facebook, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center described it as a “fierce new Mars rover concept vehicle,” adding that the rover could be used to help explore Mars.

The rover, which was designed by SeaDek and Parker Brothers Concepts, is similar in size and features to the Tumbler that Batman, played by Christian Bale, uses in the movies.

NASA TAKES AIM AT ASTEROID VALUABLE ENOUGH TO CRASH WORLD ECONOMY

Below is a video of the rover:

In an interview with CBS News, Shanon Parker said parts of the concept were “just for design,” adding it was “for it to look cool.” Shanon, who designed it with his brother Marc, added, “Other things that I thought, you know, this is kind of important to have.”

The concept vehicle is 28 feet long, 14 feet wide and 11 feet tall and is made of aluminum ad carbon-fiber. Weighing in at 5,000 pounds, the vehicle could split itself in two pieces, with one dedicated for a laboratory and the other for scouting purposes.

Though the design is not slated to go into production to traverse the red planet, it will be on display at the Space Center until July 4 in an effort to educate visitors about the planet.

 



Source link