Author: The Fifth Column

Iraqi Forces Liberate More Terrorist-Held Districts

Following the Iraqi Army’s shelling of positions of Daesh terrorists in al-Kartan area north of the city of Ramadi in Anbar province, Mohammed al-Maslawi, a leader of the terrorist group, was killed, according to the Arabic-language Al-Ahed news website.

In another operation, the Iraqi volunteer forces, known as Popular Mobilization Forces, managed to thwart an attack by Daesh terrorists in Baiji-al-Siniyah Road in Salahuddin Province, killing and injuring dozens of militants.

Tackling Child Marriage in India, One Wedding Tent at a Time

Tent vendors in the western Indian state of Rajasthan are taking a stand against child marriage. More than 47,000 of them have declared that they will not supply tents for ceremonies where children figure as the bride or groom and will ask for birth certificates to ensure ages. If they find out that a child marriage is taking place, they say they will inform local police.

As in other parts of the world, child marriage is a grave problem in India. The Child Marriage Act of 2006 bans the practice, fixing the legal age of marriage to 18 for girls and 21 for boys. Despite this, India ranks 13 in the Child Marriage Hot Spots report by the International Centre For Research On Women. The 2011 census revealed that nearly 17 million Indian children between the ages of 10 and 19 — representing 6% of that age group — are married.

Texas Lawmaker Warns of Outer Space Death Pulse

Austin, Don’t say Bob Hall didn’t warn you.

An existential threat hangs over America, the Republican Texas state senator from Edgewood believes. Specifically, electromagnetic pulse attacks — shockwaves of energy from outer space that would fry the nation’s electric grid. He sees food and water shortages starving and parching millions, natural gas line explosions engulfing cityscape in flames. And he wants Texas to be the frontline in preparing for it.

It’s That Bad: Pentagon To Test F-35 Against Decades-Old A-10 in Combat

he infamous F-35 has had its share of problems. After over $1 trillion in development costs, the state-of-the-art aircraft has struggled to achieve even the most basic functions of fighter jet, including shooting, maneuvering, and flying.

As the Pentagon insists that the fighter can hold its own in combat, it has prepared one final, crucial test: a one-on-one simulated showdown between the F-35 and the 40-year-old A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Contentious politics in the Baltics: the ‘new’ wave of right-wing populism in Estonia

Controversies over the refugee crisis have provided the populist and more extremist right-wing parties across the ‘new’ Europe with a new impetus. This piece focuses on the case of the, relatively new and increasingly popular, party of EKRE (Estonian Conservative National Party).

The politicization of the refugee question and its sociocultural implications currently forms key-component of this party’s rhetoric. This gains a greater significance considering that, so far, only 7 war refugees have been transferred from Greece to Estonia.

Georgia: the exiles’ election

Less than six months are left before Georgia’s parliamentary election, and a heated contest is expected. The parties of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition have decided to run independently, while several opposition parties are driving hard for public support.

Yet across the country, pessimism reigns. Nowhere is it felt more strongly than among Georgia’s 265,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), who largely hail from the now de-facto states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ethnic cleansing during the wars of the 1990s and later led to Georgian inhabitants of these territories fleeing for their lives. Poorly-integrated into wider society, many IDPs’ hopes for a brighter future have been dashed by successive governments and their failed promises to improve living standards — or to return home.

“To demand peace is not a crime”: Turkish academics on trial

Last Friday, April 21st, four Turkish academics, Meral Camci, Kivanc Ersoy, Muzeffer Kaya and Esra Mungan, after five weeks remanded in prison, were brought to the Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul to face charges of making “propaganda for terrorism” and of association with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), labelled as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US. The indictment accused them under Article 7(2) of Turkey’s anti-terror law and if convicted they could face sentences of up to 7 ½ years in detention.

Although at the end of the day, the prisoners were released, and the Judge adjourned the case to September 27th, confusion reigns among the academics and the lawyers.

EU Commission Plays Brussels Roulette on Glyphosate

The EU Commission is clearly determined to approve a “probable human carcinogen, glyphosate, despite overwhelming evidence of its toxicity. They are clearly content to side with Monsanto and the agribusiness chemical weed-killer lobby and with Washington above the health and safety concerns of EU citizens. A legal mind might call this criminal negligence. The issue is the upcoming renewal of the license to use the probable carcinogen, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s widely-used weed-killer, Roundup®. The intensity of the lies and attempted deception by EU faceless bureaucrats on the controversial glyphosate issue is indicative why more EU citizens are demanding an “opt-out” entirely from the European Union.

العراق – حماية المدنيين يجب أن تكون أولوية في معركة الموصل

على قوات الحكومة العراقية، التي تتحضر لطرد مقاتلي “الدولة الإسلامية” من الموصل، إعطاء الأولوية لحماية المدن يزال مئات الآلاف من المدنيين عالقين في الموصل، ثاني كبرى مدن العراق والتي تسيطر عليها جماعة الدولة الإسلامية المتطرفة، المعروفة أيضا بـ “داعش”، منذ حزيران/يونيو 2014.

Аресты подбрасывают дров в огонь протестов против безнаказанности чиновников в Македонии

Пока в нескольких городах Македонии продолжаются протесты против безнаказанности коррупционеров, полиция поместила пять участников демонстраций под домашний арест [мак] и намерена предъявить обвинения в участии в преступном формировании и массовых беспорядках нескольким другим.

25 апреля власти сначала вызвали нескольких участников протестов на допрос, а затем арестовали их. Среди них профессор Здравко Савески (PhD) и Владимир Куновски; оба являются основателями недавно сформированной левой политической партии «Левица» (мак, Левые). Они обвиняются в участии в преступном формировании и были помещены под домашний арест на восемь дней [мак].

Top US Military Commander: Our Troops Fighting and Dying in Iraq

The US combat role in Iraq officially ended in 2011, but that doesn’t mean that all American troops returned home. According to official US Defense Department numbers, between 3,500-3,600 soldiers remain in Iraq, though some experts suspect this number to be higher. US officials maintain that the troops only serve in an advisory role.

“I am very comfortable that our operational approach is the right one. In the end, Iraqi forces have to do the defeating, sustain the defeat,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in an interview with NBC News last week.

Daesh Ambushes British-Italian Troops Operating in Libya – Israeli Media

On Sunday, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond indicated that he would not rule out the possibility of joining the US and European allies in sending ground troops into Libya.

“It wouldn’t make sense to rule anything out because you never know how things are going to evolve,” Hammond told the Telegraph. “If naval or air support was requested for such an action, we would obviously look at it.”

Ethiopia drought: on the edge of a crisis

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (NI) – ‘Lower quality means less profit,’ Roba Adola tells me, flicking through a thin wad of well-thumbed notes and gesturing at the arid Ethiopian savannah around us. ‘Foot and mouth disease has badly affected our livestock, driving…

After “Four-Day War” Exposes Weaknesses, Heads Begin To Roll In Yerevan

Three high-ranking Armenian military and defense officials have been fired amid growing recriminations about the performance of the country’s armed forces in what has come to be called the “four-day war” with Azerbaijan earlier this month.

The officials included a top Ministry of Defense procurement official, as well as the head of intelligence at the general staff and the head of communications at the MoD. Part of the reason: the officials were believed to be using budget funds meant for military procurements for their own personal use, reported the newspaper Zhoghovurd, citing the president’s office.

Time to Ban Child Marriage in Malaysia

This month, Malaysia’s lower house amended the country’s Child Act 2001 without banning all marriage by girls and boys under the age of 18, as called for by several members of parliament and rights groups.

Absent from the debate was any appreciation of the core problem with child marriage – the real and lasting damage that early marriage causes to girls.