Dozens of masked man went on an anti-immigrant rampage in Stockholm in an apparent retaliation for the stabbing death of a young Swedish woman at a refugee center earlier this week, local media reported.
The crowd of some 40 to 50 people went on a violent spree on Friday night at around 9 p.m. local time in and around the Swedish capital’s main railroad station, according to the Aftonbladet daily. They were beating up anyone who didn’t look like ethnic Swede. The attackers were wearing black balaclavas and armbands, the video obtained by the tabloid showed.
“They came from Drottninggatan [Stockholm's main shopping street] and walked down toward the square and began to turn on immigrants,” a witness is cited by The Local. “I saw maybe three people who got beaten. I was quite scared so I left.”
The rampage followed a rally of some 200 people, who protested the presence of refugees in the North European country, reports Aftonbladet. They were handing out leaflets saying “Enough now”.
“They were scattering leaflets which had the intention to incite people to carry out crimes,” Stockholm police confirmed in a statement on its website.
The leaflets accused police of failing to deal with immigrants-related crimes – particularly those committed by gangs of foreign youths – or protect Swedish society.
“We are forced to endure countless crimes while the criminals always go with some degree of impunity by claiming that they are younger than 15,” the leaflet said. “This irresponsible stance is rooted among our spineless politicians, in our weak justice system and in our lyingmedia and no longer surprising.”
“But we refuse to accept the destruction of our once to safe society,” it added. “If the Swedish streets are no longer safe for Swedish men and women, it is our duty to take action.”
The call was apparently referring to the death of Alexandra Mehzer, a 22-year-old aid worker, who was stabbed to death on Monday in a center for underage unaccompanied refugees in southern Sweden. A 15-year-old asylum-seeker born in Nigeria is suspected of the killing.
“But we refuse to accept the repeated assaults and harassment against Swedish women,” the leaflets said as cited by the Daily Mail. “We refuse to accept the destruction of our once to safe society. When our political leadership and police show more sympathy for murderers than for their victims, there are no longer any excuses to let it happen without protest.”
Police made several arrests, according to Aftonbladet. The attacks are linked to football gangs and far-right groups. Still city authorities have not yet confirmed any immigrants had been assaulted.
The Swedish Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, claimed the attack. In a statement issued after the incident they said they “cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the Central Station”.
European countries are gripped by a wave of rising xenophobia as hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa flooded Europe. The EU is split on how to deal with the crisis. Advocates of keeping the doors open are facing increasingly strong opposition as public opinions are swayed against them by the cost of hosting the immigrants and social problems like crimes committed by the newcomers and their failure to adopt liberal European rules.
In some countries more violent anti-immigration activists have been targeting houses meant to become refugee centers with arson attacks, but cases of direct violence between refugees and local residents like the one in Stockholm are relatively rare.
A German university city with a Green party migrant-supporting administration has banned refugees from several nightclubs following complaints from females of sexual harassment and theft.
Women have allegedly complained to managers of clubs in Freiburg, southwest Germany, about being fed date-rape drugs and being accosted in toilets.
Another woman claimed she had been raped while a bouncer was allegedly stabbed by a migrant.
The management of one music club, the White Rabbit, issued a statement last week saying: ‘We have decided that, for time being, we will not allow into the club people who possess only a temporary residence permit’ - the paperwork issued to refugees while their claims of asylum are processed.’
It added: ‘This is not an easy thing to do but we see no other way as currently we are experiencing problems with refugees.’
One woman, aged 46, told the Badische Zeitung she had been in the White Rabbit in December when a large group of African men had come and ‘bothered’ guests.
‘I was surrounded and marginalised while dancing,’ she said. ‘The situation was full of male violence. I felt threatened.’
On that night two bouncers eject five men from the premises for harassing another woman who complained she had to run a ‘gauntlet’ of men on the club stairs.
Dietmar Ganzmann, operator of the El.Pi student disco, said he had decided only to allow a certain number of refugees entrance on any given night, and no more.
‘We traditionally have a tough door policy,’ he said.
At the Jazz House club owner Michael Musiol said: ‘We prided ourselves on being a cosmpolitan club. But we cannot always run it so. The claim and the harsh reality diverge here.’
Peter Bitsch, operator of the discotheque Kagan, confirmed that many women no longer feel safe in the clubs when there are large numbers of migrants in them.
Dunedin politicians from both sides of the House have come together to present a united front when it comes to welcoming refugees to the city.
Labour electorate MPs David Clark and Clare Curran, Dunedin National MP and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse and Mayor Dave Cull met at Dunedin’s Red Cross yesterday to get an update on the resettlement planning process.
The meeting was also about showing a united front in support of refugee resettlement in Dunedin before the arrival of the first group of 40 Syrians in April.
Issues discussed at the meeting included how to help refugees find work and support for those suffering as a result of the trauma they had witnessed.
Mr Woodhouse, who on Friday will be welcoming the first group of Syrian refugees to arrive at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, said the level of support for resettlement made him ‘‘tremendously proud as a Dunedinite”.
Ms Curran said the meeting was a good opportunity to show the city’s leaders were ‘‘very united” on refugee resettlement in Dunedin. She had been ‘‘really proud” of the public’s response, which showed the ‘‘maturity” of Dunedin as a city.
Dr Clark said yesterday was an opportunity to show solidarity among the local MPs.
‘‘We will disagree on some things - that’s the nature of politics … but on other issues we are united.”
Mr Woodhouse brought up the importance of highlighting the extensive selection process the Syrian refugees, who were all coming from Lebanon, had to go through before coming to New Zealand.
This would help ease the ‘‘fears” some members of the public had about their arrival.
He also pointed out that it would not just be Syrians who would be resettled in the city, with refugees from other countries coming later.
Sweden, which has not officially been at war in over 200 years, will soon be pulled into a European conflict according to an internal army document sent to soldiers and civil servants ahead of army manoeuvres next week.
Citing the situation in Sweden, the recent decisions of domestic politicians, and global instability, the chief of the Swedish army General Anders Brännström told men under his command they could expect to be fighting a war in Europe against skilled opponents “within a few years”.
As well as soldiers, the booklet containing his stark warning has also been given to civil servants, politicians, and guests of next week’s annual manoeuvres and military demonstrations and exercises.
“The global environment we are experiencing which is also demonstrated by strategic decisions [taken by politicians] leads us to the conclusion we could be at war within a few years”.
Speaking of his comments with Sweden’s best selling tabloidAftonbladet, the General said the deteriorating security picture in Europe was the main factor behind his warning, indicating the Islamic State conducting military campaigns in Europe and spreading instability from the Ukraine could lead to conflict. Sensationally, he suggested a Third World War was just round the corner. He told the paper:
“One can draw parallels with the 1930s. A great uncertainty and [political] dynamics which then led to a great war. That time we managed to keep out. But it is not at all certain we could succeed this time”.
It is unusual for a serving senior military figure, much less the professional head of an Army to speak out on such political matters in Europe. Yet these comments are not just the General’s opinion, he added, remarking his senior colleagues all held the same thoughts. He said: “this is a serious position shared by most. This is a completely different situation to the one we had ten years ago.
“There is now a much stronger focus on national defence… it is about preparing for the worst”.
Breitbart Londoninterviewed the recently retired head of the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence Development, Concepts, and Doctrine Centre last year, and reported his belief Islamist terror groups would start to launch terror raids on the coasts of southern Europe by boat. Rear Admiral Parry RN told Breitbart London that Islamists could follow the example set by the deadly Mumbai attacks in 2008 which saw Islamist commandos land in fast boats and storm the city and kill 150.
The Admiral said: “We will soon be experiencing minor hit and run attacks on remote parts of Europe, like Malta and the Greek Islands”.
Kiwis On Board are the latest voice in the local refugee campaign calling for the government to at least Double our Refugee Quota.
The Human Rights Commissioner Susan Devoy hosted a meeting this week of ‘refugee allies’ from Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. The group called for NZ to Double its Quota in this year’s up coming review. This call is being endorsed by various church groups, Amnesty International and Save Our Children.
Kiwis On Board was the result of a trip to the Greek Island of Kos, by filmmakers Arani Cuthbert and Felicity Morgan-Rhind. Shocked by the desperation of refugees fleeing conflict and arriving on the island, they returned home determined to do something. A few weeks later, over dinner with kiwi journalist Kim Vinnell who herself had just returned from conflict zone reporting, the three hatched a plan. They would create videos showing the positive impact refugees have had on New Zealand for decades, in a bid to engage kiwis in the conflicts happening right now
“Our aim is to raise awareness. Raise the refugee quota. And ultimately raise New Zealand’s profile as a country which really cares,” says Morgan-Rhind.
“These are desperate times” says Cuthbert, “We believe most New Zealanders support us taking in more refugees and it’s time our government took action. Not only by raising our quota but also by creating alternative entry options. Refugees are an investment in the future of our country – most refugees contribute far more than they take and make NZ a richer place to live”.
PITTSBURGH — The firm that oversees registrations for the SAT has cancelled college entrance exams for tomorrow (Jan 22) in China and Macau, because some students may have already seen copies of the tests.
It’s not immediately clear how many students were affected, but it’s likely that both Chinese and international students had been preparing to take the test.
Per Chinese government rules, SATs in mainland China are administered primarily in international schools, where few students of Chinese nationality are enrolled. Mainland Chinese generally take the test by travelling to other countries, or to the Chinese territories of Macau and Hong Kong.
To further complicate the makeup of the students, many international students could be Chinese students with foreign passports, said Ms Jiang Xueqin, a Beijing-based education researcher and consultant. Chinese parents are known to have secured foreign passports, sometimes from African countries, for their children to enrol at international schools.
“The culture is you do everything to get ahead,” Ms Jiang said.
The latest scandal would further hurt Chinese students, who are known to have fabricated personal essays and inflated grades when applying to American schools, he said.
“Now with the scandal, (the American schools) cannot trust the SAT anymore,” he said, adding that US schools will have to do more work in sifting through Chinese applications.
Last year, federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh charged 15 Chinese citizens in a conspiracy to have impostors take the SAT and other college entrance tests in western Pennsylvania since 2011.
A former University of Pittsburgh student, Han Tong, 24, has pleaded guilty to being the go-between for Chinese students who paid up to US$6,000 (S$8552) to have impostors take the tests for them. He’s set for sentencing April 21.
US Attorney David Hickton, of Pittsburgh, said all but three of those defendants — who remain in China — have pleaded guilty. Six have been deported and/or sentenced and the other six are awaiting similar hearings.
The last time SAT tests were cancelled was in 2013 in South Korea, which Ms Caldwell called “a very similar situation”.
Christchurch could become a refugee resettlement site as soon as next year.
The latest review by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) found Christchurch would be unlikely to handle resettlement until at least 2017 due to the pressures of the city’s earthquake rebuild.
Dunedin was selected as a sixth refugee settlement location in November last year following a whole of Government assessment.
“An extra location was needed following the Government’s decision to welcome 750 Syrian refugees over the next two and a half years. It is anticipated that the six settlement locations will be able to cater for the increase,” Lockhart said.
Red Cross national programmes development manager Rachel O’Connor said they would love for their resettlement programme to return to Christchurch.
“Many Cantabrians have contacted us wanting to help over the last few months, having seen the refugee crisis in the news, so we know that when we return, the city will open its arms to its new residents.”
Refugee Resettlement Services general manager Shirley Wright said Christchurch had a lot to offer refugees.
“I think we are all keen to have Christchurch receiving quota intakes again,” she said.
In order to be able to cater for new refugees, funding for support services would need to be directed “back” toward Christchurch, Wright said.
“We’ve got a group of people with very specialneeds so it’s very important to consider those – so those coming in have responsive services. Services at the moment are overloaded,” Wright said.
Christchurch Migrant’s Centre manager Henry Jaiswal agreed the city’s social infrastructure, including mental health support, needed to be improved before refugees were resettled.
Christchurch City Council Deputy Mayor VickiBuck said making Christchurch a suitable resettlement site by 2017 was “very manageable”.
“The scale of the issue and what is happing in Syria and the Middle East at a human level is so horrible and intense that most people in Christchurch would love to help.”
When the Oscar nominations revealed a second consecutive year of all-white acting nominees, it lit a fire under film academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American to lead the organization.
That disappointment - and the firestorm of criticism that followed - spawned action. On Friday, Boone Isaacs announced sweeping reforms to the organization that include doubling the number of female and minority members by 2020 and adding new governors to its leadership board.
The academy now aims for women to comprise 48 percent of its approximately 6,000 members and “diverse groups” at least 14 percent as an initial step. Its 51-member board of governors voted unanimously for the changes, which also include limiting members’ voting rights to 10 years and expanding recruitment outreach globally.
Boone Isaacs said she is ready to embrace “any and all ways we can increase the conversation about storytelling and how to bring more diverse voices in storytelling into the marketplace.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had been working internally to diversify its membership for several years before the “OscarsSoWhite” hashtag trended on Twitter following the all-white slate of acting nominees last year, she said. The organization invited 322 new members to join last year, with an emphasis on women, young people and people of color.
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