Nov 21 2015

Six In The Morning Saturday November 21

Paris attacks: Brussels on highest terror alert

Belgium has raised its terror alert in the Brussels region to the highest level, warning of a “very serious” and “imminent” threat.

The metro will be closed till at least Sunday, and the public has been warned to avoid crowds, including shopping centres and concerts, a statement said.

The warning for the rest of Belgium stays at a lower level – still serious.

Brussels was home to the suspected perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks carried out a week ago.

One of those being sought, Salah Abdeslam, is believed to have gone back to Belgium.

On Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to “redouble” action against Islamic State following last week’s deadly attacks in the French capital in which 130 people died.

The French-drafted document urges UN members to “take all necessary measures” in the fight against IS, which said it carried out the attacks.

Argentina’s political plates shift as Peronists face presidential run-off defeat

Opposition leader Mauricio Macri holds an ample lead ahead of Sunday’s election

Tom Hennigan

Argentina stands on the verge of a seismic political shift this weekend. Opinion polls in the South American country show opposition leader Mauricio Macri holding a comfortable lead over the ruling Peronist party’s candidate Daniel Scioli heading into tomorrow’s final round of a presidential election.

Should Macri manage to transform his lead in the polls into victory at the ballot box, he will become the first right-wing politician to be elected president in a country dominated by populists and generals during the last century.

Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires city, has gained momentum since coming second to Scioli, governor of the province of Buenos Aires, in last month’s first round. He has successfully managed to portray his opponent – a friend for 30 years – as tainted by his backing from President Cristina Kirchner.


After Paris attacks, fake missing persons and incorrect biographies of victims

Team Observers


Since the Paris attacks, a large amount of misinformation has circulated on social media, some of it by mistake, some of it intentional. A week after the tragedy, fake missing person alerts are still being widely distributed by Internet users. Even more disturbing are are the fake biographies of victims.

Fake missing persons appeals

Just a few hours after the attacks, internet users had already created several Facebook and Twitter accounts to share appeals from friends and family members searching for missing persons in Paris. A dozen more accounts have sprung up since. Most use variations on the name “Recherche Paris”.

As the week wore on, many missing persons appeals posted on these accounts turned into death notices. Some families, however, were able to use them to share good news: they had found the person they were looking for, safe and sound.


Visit of US gay rights envoy to India runs into problems

  • Reuters, Washington/New Delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2015 12:43 IST

The visit of two senior US officials to India has run into problems, despite the fresh start in US-India ties under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recalling a diplomatic spat that soured relationship two years ago.

Washington has been seeking to send Susan Coppedge, its newly appointed anti-people trafficking ambassador, and Randy Berry, its special envoy for LGBT rights, to New Delhi this month. Berry is Washington’s first gay-rights ambassador and a US official said no trafficking czar had visited India for the past eight years.

Human trafficking has caused friction between the United States and India. The countries also disagree on gay rights, which the Obama administration promotes, while homosexuality in India is illegal.

A diplomatic source, who did not want to identified, told Reuters the visits had run into problems.

Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine

By Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet

CONFRONTING THE ‘CALIPHATE’ | This is part of an occasional series about the rise of the Islamic State militant group, its implications for the Middle East, and efforts by the U.S. government and others to undermine it.

The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot.

“The paper just gives you the location,” never the details, said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State. Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath.

For Abu Hajer, that card told him to drive two hours southwest of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the caliphate, or Islamic realm, declared by the militant group. There, he discovered that he was among 10 cameramen sent to record the final hours of more than 160 Syrian soldiers captured in 2014.


The orphans of ISIL

The armed group’s rampage across northern Iraq has left many children struggling to cope with the loss of their parents.

Sofia Barbarani | | War & Conflict, Humanitarian crises, Middle East, Iraq, ISIL

Baharka camp, Erbil, Iraq Thirteen-year-old Dunya can neither speak nor hear, but she has learned to narrate through sign language how her father was killed by fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

She points to her stomach, tracing the route of the bullet with her finger – in through the abdomen and out through the back. Then she touches her leg: A second bullet to his calf stopped her father in his tracks, and he crumpled to the floor.

Dunya draws a moustache on her face using her thumb and index finger to indicate “Dad”, explained her mother, Muntaha Ali. She believes her husband was killed in June 2014 because he was a Shabak, an ethnoreligious minority, most of whom are Shia Muslims.

Ali, a lively mother of four with an easy laugh, left her native Mosul a month after the murder of her husband and relocated with her children to northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

“My children saw the killing. They were in shock,” Ali told Al Jazeera. Her husband, Sulaiman Abbas, was a taxi driver from Mosul.