Category Archives: GWOT

Chart of the day II: EU asylum seekers increase


From Eurostat, which reports:

During the second quarter of 2016 (from April to June 2016), 305,700 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), up by 6% compared with the first quarter of 2016 (when 287,100 first-time applicants were registered).

With nearly 90,500 first-time applicants between April and June 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Afghans (50,300 first time applicants) and Iraqis (34,300).

These quarterly data on asylum in the EU come from a report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

They represent the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU Member States over the second quarter 2016, accounting for almost 60% of all first time applicants.

Six in ten applied for asylum in Germany

During the second quarter 2016, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 187,000 first time applicants, or 61% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (27,000, or 9%), France (17,800, or 6%), Hungary (14,900, or 5%) and Greece (12,000, or 4%).

Among those Member States with high numbers of asylum seekers, numbers of first time applicants in the second quarter 2016 more than doubled compared with the previous quarter in Greece (+132 %) as well as in Hungary (+118%), and rose notably in Poland (+65%) and Spain (+37%). In contrast, decreases were recorded in particular in the Nordic Member States — Denmark (-59%), Finland (-53%) and Sweden (-42%) — as well as in the Netherlands (-47%), Belgium (-44%) and Austria (-22%).

Chart of the day: India more assertive under Modi

From the Pew Research Center, new evidence that India is growing more assertive and militaristic under Right wing Hindu populist Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

Microsoft Word - Pew Research Center India Report FINAL Septembe

Headlines of the day: Chickens come home to roost

First, one of two headlines from the London Sunday Mail:

‘A bomb exploding in New York is an act of terrorism’: ‘Homemade IED’ that injured 29 in Manhattan had NO ISIS connection says Governor Cuomo – but it’s still the work of a terrorist

  • Police responded to explosion in Chelsea neighborhood at West 23rd and Sixth Avenue around 8.30pm
  • Hundreds of people were fleeing the scene down the block as police cordoned off the area  
  • At least 29 people were reported injured by the Fire Department but injuries don’t appear life-threatening
  • Police have said cause of blast is unknown as bomb sniffing dogs search for remnants of a possible bomb 
  • NYPD Special Ops tweeted that they are investigating a ‘possible’ second device found four blocks away
  • The device is reportedly a ‘pressure cooker’ wrapped in plastic with a cell phone or timer attached to it   
  • CCTV footage shows blast ripping through New York’s affluent Chelsea neighborhood as people passed by  
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio said during press conference that authorities believe it was an ‘intentional act’ 
  • The NYPD tweeted that people should stay away from windows facing 27th Street until the area is clear 
  • NYPD has increased security across the city following the blast Saturday night as a precaution 
  • Subways in the area have been shut down because of the explosion, authorities said 

And the second:

Mass stabbing at Minnesota mall: Rampaging knifeman dressed as a security guard attacks eight shoppers while talking about Allah before being killed by off-duty cop

  • Stabbing attack took place at Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud
  • Eight people were taken to St. Cloud hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and one person was admitted
  • St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson says the attacker made references to Allah during the attack and asked at least one person whether they were Muslim

Finally, from the Guardian:

Pipe bomb explodes near Jersey Shore 5km run in support of US Marines

  • No injuries reported in explosion in Seaside Park, New Jersey
  • Semper Five race cancelled after unattanded backpack also found

Quote of the day II: Barack Obama, Biggest Brother

From James Bamford, America’s preeminent journalist of the world of government eavesdropping, writing for Foreign Policy:

Over his two terms, Obama has created the most powerful surveillance state the world has ever seen. Although other leaders may have created more oppressive spying regimes, none has come close to constructing one of equivalent size, breadth, cost, and intrusiveness. From 22,300 miles in space, where seven Advanced Orion crafts now orbit; to a 1-million-square-foot building in the Utah desert that stores data intercepted from personal phones, emails, and social media accounts; to taps along the millions of miles of undersea cables that encircle the Earth like yarn, U.S. surveillance has expanded exponentially since Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.

The effort to wire the world — or to achieve “extreme reach,” in the NRO’s parlance — has cost American taxpayers more than $100 billion. Obama has justified the gargantuan expense by arguing that “there are some trade-offs involved” in keeping the country safe. “I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said in June 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed widespread government spying on Americans’ phone calls.

Since Snowden’s leaks, pundits and experts (myself included) have debated the legality and ethics of the U.S. surveillance apparatus. Yet has the president’s blueprint for spying succeeded on its own terms? An examination of the unprecedented architecture reveals that the Obama administration may only have drowned itself in data. What’s more, in trying to right the ship, America’s intelligence culture has grown frenzied. Agencies are ever seeking to get bigger, move faster, and pry deeper to keep pace with the enormous quantity of information being generated the world over and with the new tactics and technologies intended to shield it from spies.

This race is a defining feature of Obama’s legacy — and one that threatens to become never-ending, even after he’s left the White House.

Chart of the day: The legacy of Dubya, Obama

From a new report from the Pew Research Center:


Headline of the day: Having his senior moment

The front page of today’s New York Daily News:

BLOG Headlne

Rabid Rudy suffers Trump-induced amnesia

How else to explain that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani seems to have forgotten the city’s most traumatic event.

You know. . .

A little thing we call 9/11. . .

A thing that happened while he was mayor. . .

From the Associated Press:

Rudolph Giuliani, promoting Donald Trump’s national security plan, said Monday that in the “eight years before (President Barack) Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States.” That’s an apparent omission of the largest terror attack in United States history.

Giuliani was mayor of New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 and in the hours after the World Trade Center fell, while then-President George W. Bush was largely unseen, he became the face of American grief and determination. His brave and graceful performance in the weeks after the towers’ collapse earned him the nickname “America’s mayor” and he was soon launched into national political stardom, his name synonymous with the response to the attacks. That made his comments Monday all the more puzzling.

“Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office,” Giuliani said ahead of Trump’s speech on national security.

The eyebrow-raising comments, which were immediately lampooned on social media, were a far cry from Giuliani’s usual speeches, which are often peppered with references to the resolve New Yorkers displayed after the attacks. In fact, his discussions of the attacks were so common that Vice President Joe Biden once said of him there were “only three things he mentions in a sentence: A noun, a verb and 9/11.”

UPDATE: One of the tweets inspired by Rudy’s outburst: