European Parliament Expresses Concern over Funneling EU Aid to Terrorist Organizations

Clip_40In a jibe at Pakistan, the European Parliament issued a declaration explicitly expressing its concern over the misuse of European Union funds in the name of counter terror measures and misusing the same to aid the terror outfits.

The EP declaration titled funneling of EU aid to terrorist organizations, said that EU funds are a vital resource for agreed common foreign and aid policy objectives. Particularly in times of economic stringency and heightened security concern, it is important to ensure that EU funds are not wasted or abused.

This would be the case if EU funds were being channeled, deliberately or by neglect, to terrorist organizations by Pakistani Government. The declaration also called upon the European Commission to freeze or reduce funding until the necessary checks and control measures have been put in place especially on Pakistan.

The declaration reinforces the position that some states, notably Pakistan, have been misusing the Western aid – both by US and EU – to sponsor terror networks for strategic gains. It is a welcome step by the European Parliament and hopefully will start a process whereby accountability for aid will have to be provided by the recipients.

10 Indian Villages That Set A Worthy Example For India & South Asia

India, having an agro-based economy, depends the most on its villages for growth. The gaon always has that distinct nostalgic charm that Indians alone can understand. Sarson ke khet, tea plantations, mud houses, clean air, charpaai, mitti, star-lit sky; these are just some of the happy things that we associate with life in an Indian village.

But unfortunately, that feeling is slowly waning. Poverty, lack of education, lack of sanitation, etc are the first associations that the media paints about Indian villages for our benefit.

Here’s a little fact: Gaons aren’t a bad place to live. In fact, some of them are way better than any metro. And these exemplary examples prove just that.

Clip_23Mawlynnong – Asia’s cleanest village

Mawlynnong, a small village in Meghalaya, was awarded the prestigious tag of ‘Cleanest Village in Asia’ in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. Located at about 90 kms from Shillong, the village offers a sky walk for you to take in the beauty as you explore it. According to visitors, you cannot find a single cigarette butt/plastic bag lying around there.

Clip_25Punsari – The village with WiFi, CCTVs, AC classrooms and more

Punsari, located in Gujarat, puts most metros to shame. Funded by the Indian government and the village’s own funding model, Punsari is no NRI-blessed zone. The village also boasts of a mini-bus commute system and various other facilities. Believe it.

Clip_25Hiware Bazar – The village of 60 millionaires

Hiware Bazar, located in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, has transformed from being a place fraught with issues to being possibly the richest village in India. The sole reason for this fairy-tale change is one man called Popatrao Pawar. He banned all addictive substances to minimize expense and encouraged the villagers to invest in rain-water harvesting, milch cattle, etc.

There are a record 60 millionaires in the village and barely any poor. From 168 Below Poverty Line families in 1995, Hiware Bazar now has just three. The villagers continue to strive to see a day when not one person is poor.

Clip_25Dharnai – First fully solar-powered village

Dharnai, a village in Bihar, beat 30 years of darkness by developing its own solar-powered system for electricity. With the aid of Greenpeace, Dharnai declared itself an enery-independent village in July. Students no long need to limit their studies to the day time, women no longer limit themselves to stepping out in the day in this village of 2400 residents. Now if only cities could do the same, right?


Chappar – A village that distributes sweets when a girl is born

Chappar village in Haryana has a woman Sarpanch. But Neelam is no ordinary Sarpanch. She made it her life’s mission to change the attitude of the villagers towards women, and she succeeded. Not only do the women of the village not wear the ghunghat anymore, but despite Haryana being the state with the lowest girls ratio (an abysmal 877) in this village every newborn, regardless of his/her sex, is welcomed into the world with sweets and festivities.

Clip_26Korkrebellur – A village that really loves its birds

Korkrebellur, a small village in Karnataka, believes in the conservation of nature. While most other villages consider birds a nuisance because they harm crops, Kokrebellur boasts of rare species of birds that fly around and don’t even mind humans much. The villagers treat their winged compatriots as family and have even created an area for wounded birds to rest and heal. Wonderful, isn’t it?

Clip_26Ballia – The village that beat arsenic poisoning with an indigenous method 

Ballia village of Uttar Pradesh had an itchy problem to deal with. The water that the villagers were drinking contained arsenic, which causes serious skin problems and even physical deformation. What is arsenic, you ask? A harmless element on its own, but when combined with oxygen or water, it turns toxic.

Ironically, the village faced the problem after the government introduced many hand-pumps in the area for easy water access. The level at which the hand-pumps were dug led to excessive interaction between arsenic and water. When the villagers realised what had happened, instead of waiting for the government to act on it, they (physically) fixed their old wells and went back to an older, safer time. The best part? Even 95-year-old Dhanikram Verma joined in.

Pothanikkad – The village with a 100% literacy rate

Unsurprisingly in Kerala, Pothanikkad village was the first in the country to achieve a 100% literacy rate. Not only does the village boast of city-standard high-schools, but it also has primary schools and private schools. Guess the number of people the village has educated? Well, according to the 2001 census there are 17563 residents living in the village. The best part is that it answers the question.

Clip_27Bekkinakeri – The village that rid itself of open defecation by ‘greeting’ lota-bearers

Bekkinakeri village in Karnataka has redefined the point of wishing someone a ‘Good morning’. Frustrated with the practice of open defecation, the village council attempted to curb it by requesting people to not do so. When that didn’t work, they stationed themselves early morning near ‘popular’ defecation sites and wished every perpetrator a very good morning. The trick worked! Too embarrassed to go on with their business, the openly defecating population has now stopped the practice completely.

Clip_28Shani Shingnapur – A village so safe that people don’t need doors

Shani Shingnapur, located in Maharashtra, is a village that defies every newspaper report you have ever read. Touted as the safest village in India, this place is known for its lack of doors to houses. Not just that, there is no police station in the village. And no, we are not making this up.

By the way, Shani Shingnapur has ‘broken’ another interesting record. The village has the country’s first lockless bank branch (UCO bank) now.

Mr Pratip Nahar
Managing Director
Nahar’s Institute for Travel Trade
116, Block III, Charmwood, Eros garden
Dist. Faridabad 121 009
Tel:- 95129-4014083
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E-mail :- tittdel@gmail.com

The Arab Oil Era is Over

Clip_103No one believed this would happen so fast, but the US is already the world’s biggest oil manufacturer, bigger than Saudi Arabia, thanks to the oil shale technology which changed the world of energy.

Within a year, the US is expected to export about one million barrels of oil a day and produce 12 million barrels a day. Iran, for the same of comparison, manufactures about a million and a half barrels a day.

This means that oil prices will continue to drop, as the US is already competing against other manufacturers. As a result, Russia will be crushed, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf states will fall flat on their face, the cartel will collapse, and all the dictatorships which were mainly based on oil – like Iran – will face a gloomy future.

At the same time, democracies like Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and even little Israel will enter the market.

The Arab oil era is over, and so is the destructive power of the Persian Gulf’s oil dictatorships. These dictatorships have disgracefully controlled the failing Europe: Buying politicians, bribing companies, taking over the economy and gaining political power which was also used against Israel.

It will take a few months, but both the Europeans and the Americans will realize that the era of the destructive Arab power is over, because the Gulf states will have no money to spend. On the contrary, they will be rocked from the inside by social, ethnic and terroristic shocks, as they will have no money left to continue satisfying terror.

The signs of the drop in Arab power can already be seen. Twenty-two Arab states made a huge effort recently to pass an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations Security Council, but failed. The US was undeterred by them, and so were strong Western countries. It’s true that France and Luxemburg are still controlled by the Arab capital, or think they are, but they will also realize that the era of Arab money is over.

But as oil prices continue to drop, what will happen to Russia? The country is collapsing and could turn to a European war to save itself. And what will happen to Egypt, which is funded by Saudi Arabia? The latter is already cutting its aid to Cairo, because the money is no longer obvious.

And what about the rich Gulf states, like Qatar? They are deluding themselves that someone will be interested in them if they don’t have oil. Some are even toying with the idea of tourism. Well, if there is no oil, no one will want to come there at all, and the sand will once again cover the towers rising in the air which they have built.

And Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority? Well, no one in the Gulf actually donated money to this entity even before the crisis, although there were always festive declaration.

The Arab oil era is over, and the global and Israeli mind era begins. It’s a fact that countries which wouldn’t dare approach us in the past – because of the Arab extortion – are now doing so hastily, as if to make up for the lost time of so many years.

Israel is becoming a close friend of countries which were distant in the past but are close today, like India, Japan, China and South Korea. They too understand that those who are not innovative and lack a creative mind will just not be. And in this field, Israel has a lot to offer them, just like they have a lot to offer in return.

President Obama Has Probably Written Off Pakistan

Clip_104President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to India is being seen as the first real test for Washington and New Delhi – two capitals looking to elevate their relationship as an important strategic partnership. But atmospherics aside, how transformative is this latest display of camaraderie likely to be for the two countries? And how are events in New Delhi likely to be read in Islamabad?

Heavy on metaphor

President Obama’s decision to accept New Delhi’s invitation to attend India’s Republic Day ceremony – a first for a sitting American president – is being hailed as nothing less than an international tribute to India, and heralded by politicians and the news media as a sign of New Delhi’s arrival on the world stage. As one announcer told the crowds gathered on Republic Day, it is ‘a proud moment for every Indian.’ Indian newspapers were quick to make much of the bear hug which Prime Minister Modi greeted President Obama with as America’s first couple stepped of Air Force One and the natural chemistry between the leaders of the world’s oldest and largest democracies. That President Obama opened his remarks to the media with a smattering of Hindi was a remarkable spectacle, given that a year ago Modi was persona non-grata in Washington, and was denied a visa to the United States.

Civil-nuclear deal ‘breakthrough’

On the first day of his visit, President Obama announced, to considerable fanfare, that the deadlock on the six-year-old Indo-US civilian nuclear power agreement had ended. This deadlock related to the commercial implementation of the landmark 123 Agreement inked in the Manmohan era, and is now predicted to unblock millions of dollars in nuclear trade. In layman’s terms, the two sides have essentially resolved differences over the liability of nuclear suppliers to India in the event of a nuclear accident, US demands on monitoring the whereabouts of US-supplied nuclear material to the country, and India’s membership to the four non-proliferation regimes which will now open up New Delhi’s access to high technology. To address these issues, India has proposed a nuclear liability insurance pool that will involve a state insurer and be backed by government. Until now, US companies had been reluctant to construct nuclear plants in India unless they were shielded from liability after accidents – an assurance Indian lawmakers had been unwilling to extend owing to a strict liability law passed in 2010.

Defense, dollars and drones 

That India’s Republic Day parade prominently featured Russian made Mi-35s was ironic. However, President Obama has clearly expressed that Washington is keen to compete for India’s defense market. Over their two-day discussions, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi renewed the 10-year defense pact between their two countries and agreed to cooperate on aircraft carrier and jet-engine technology. The US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) is also poised to increase joint-production and joint development: in particular, the two countries agreed to work on joint production of small-scale surveillance drones, as well as equipment for Lockheed Martin Corp’s C-130 military transport plane. Detractors of the agreement, however, argue that these initiatives are still modest compared to India’s agreements with Moscow: it is worth remembering that India continues to be the world’s largest consumer of Russian arms.

Business and investment

Addressing a roundtable of top Indian CEOs and businessmen, President Obama made it clear that he sees India as the next big market for US investors. On the close of his second day in New Delhi, the American President pledged $4 billion in investments and loans, seeking to tap what he called the unreali​s​ed potential of the two countries’ business and strategic dealerships. The US Export-Import Bank will also finance $1 billion in exports of ‘Made-in-America’ products; the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, meanwhile, will lend $1 billion to small-and medium-sized enterprises in rural India. Other deals inked over the two days range from an Obama-Modi hotline to financing initiatives aimed at helping India use renewable energy to lower carbon emissions. In this regard, $2 billion will be committed by the US Trade and Development Agency for renewable energy, a key focus of both governments.

Counterterrorism

The two leaders also identified terrorism as a major threat, agreeing that there should be no distinction between terrorist groups. President Obama is believed to be looking to push India into a bigger role in battling the spread of the Islamic State. The two sides have also pledged to deepen cooperation on maritime security. Since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, counter-terrorism cooperation has evolved significantly vis-à-vis intelligence-coordination and cooperation between law enforcement agencies to curb terrorist financing. The renewed pact is further expected to elevate cooperation in criminal law enforcement and military exchanges. Maintaining that terrorism remains a principal global threat, Prime Minister Modi stressed, ‘It is taking on a new character, even as existing challenges persist. We agreed we need a comprehensive global strategy and approach to combat with it. There should be no distinction between terrorist groups. Every country must fulfill its commitments to eliminate terrorist safe havens and bring terrorists to justice.’

Clip_160The Pakistan factor

President Obama is the second US President after Jimmy Carter not to visit Pakistan on his India trip, and first President George H. Bush not to have visited Pakistan at all. The United States has worked hard to assure Pakistan that President Obama’s visit to India will not in any way jeopardise its relations with Islamabad; Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security Sartaj Aziz has also underscored the visit as an opportunity for the US to ​ leverage its newfound capital in New Delhi to​ urge India back to the negotiating table​ with Pakistan,​ restart ​the bilateral ​dialogu​e​​, and end unprovoked firing along the LoC​. But there was little reported reference to Pakistan in public or private conversations during the two-day deliberations in New Delhi.​ ​

Perspective

While the visit has been hailed as ‘transformational’, it was noticeably truncated owing to President Obama’s plans to fly to Saudi Arabia on his way home. Perhaps bending to the pressure of increasing NRI muscle, President Obama has also assured Prime Minister Modi that he will look into India’s concerns on the H-1B visa issue (popular with Indian technology workers), as well as a broader Indian presence in the United States as part of his comprehensive immigration reform strategies. Interestingly, however there has been no major breakthrough – only modest agreements – on the issue of climate change, unlike Obama’s visit to Beijing last year where he managed to nail agreements on carbon reductions. India continues to remain adamant about not making legally binding emissions cuts, which would compel it to roll back on industrial activity and therein economic growth. Furthermore, Indo-US ties are still fragile: presently India only accounts for 2 percent of US imports, and one percent of its exports. And while annual bilateral trade between Washington and New Delhi has reached $100 billion, this still amounts to less than one-fifth of US trade with China. In the field of cooperation over nuclear energy too, US suppliers face stiff competition: while the US has pledged to help build at least 8 reactors in India, France is currently building six reactors, while Russia has already made plans to build 20.

President Obama’s visit to India has reinforced the perception of US-India strategic partnership, notably in the nuclear, defence and defence technology domains. This could embolden India to persist with its hard line against Pakistan and is certainly detrimental to strategic stability in South Asia. Grandstanding will not promote peace and prosperity in this region. A vision of amity and cooperation for mutual progress and prosperity is essential, while the politics of alliances and alignments is counterproductive.

The visit, however, is unlikely to have a major impact on either the Indo-Pak or Pak-US bilateral relationship. The visit is reflective of a clear shift in the United States’ policy towards South Asia favouring India, as opposed to the balancing act that US historically had tried to perform in its approach to India and Pakistan. The United States is no longer as close to Pakistan as it once was, while India has evolved into an important, strategic partner for Washington. The Indians are also looking at a much broader relationship with the United States, and one that accommodates changing geopolitical dynamics including China’s position in the region.​ However,​ it is​ hoped that Washington will bring some influence to bear on India to be more reasonable in its policies vis-à-vis Pakistan, which will be beneficial to stability in South Asia as a whole. On the subject of the nuclear deal signed between India and the US, these arrangements have been finalized for a while, and there is no need to read too much into the latest breakthrough. A strategic conventional imbalance between India and Pakistan has existed for a while, and this will not necessarily be exacerbated by President Obama’s most recent visit.

Samina Abid & the KP Chief Minister

Clip_116Workers of the PTI in KP are angry because Rabia Basri was not given a ticket for the Senate. The PTI has fielded Rabia Basri, who is the party’s Peshawar district president of the women’s wing, as the covering candidate for the Senate polls. The party leadership has awarded the main ticket to Samina Abid, a relatively newcomer in the PTI. She is stated to be the wife of the chief secretary of Azad Kashmir and the sister of a former member of the National Assembly from Mansehra. The award of ticket to Samina Abid came as a surprise as she wasn’t initially in the run and was unfamiliar to PTI workers, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some months ago she had made some appearances in Peshawar in a bid to find support for becoming the provincial president of the PTI women’s wing. Some PTI workers said Samina Abid’s family was on good terms with Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. The PTI MNA Nafisa Khattak, who is a relative of Pervez Khattak, was also said to be a firm supporter of Samina Abid.  The PTI had won all four National Assembly and 10 out of the 11 seats in the provincial assembly from Peshawar district in the May 2013 general election but it didn’t get any of the reserved seats for women in the national and provincial legislatures. Therefore, the workers wanted Peshawar to be given representation in the Senate.

The constitutional definition of defection does not include casting of vote by lawmakers against their own parties in the Senate election, which leaves the polls for the Upper House of the Parliament open to horse-trading.

Clip_20Defection results in lawmakers’ disqualification, under the Constitution, but voting against the party candidates in the Senate election does not constitute defection. 

Experts have divided opinion about the application of defection law to lawmakers violating party direction in the Senate polls. But most of them believed lawmakers could get away with disqualification for not casting vote to the party candidates.

The article 63A of the Constitution provides for disqualification of lawmakers if they go against the party direction or abstain from voting in the assemblies. It also applies to lawmakers who would change party.

However, this article is completely silent about the Senate polls in which lawmakers elect senators, worrying parties that lack confidence to trust their lawmakers. The only action the parties can take is to initiate disciplinary action against the cheating legislators.

Legal action for disqualification may be initiated under article 63A,

“If a member of a parliamentary party composed of a single political party in a House: 

(a) resigns from membership of his political party or joins another parliamentary party; or 

(b) votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which he belongs, in relation to: 

(i) election of the prime minister or the chief minister; or 

(ii) a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or 

(iii) a money bill or a constitution (amendment) bill.”

Sikandar Sherpao, parliamentary leader of the Qaumi Watan Party, argued article 63A promised no punishment for disloyal lawmakers. “Senate election is held through secret ballot and it cannot be determined as to who voted for whom,” he said. “Secret ballot is again the reason that this article does not cover the election of the speaker and deputy speaker,” he said, broadening his argument.

Umar Farooq, a leading lawyer and constitutional expert, believed the Constitution did not place any bar on lawmakers to vote against the party candidates in the Senate polls. “They are independent in their decision,” he said. To him, it was already hard to prove that a lawmaker voted against the party because of the secret ballot.

“The bargaining takes place in secret and the money is channeled through foreign countries. By the way, lawmakers think this is the chance for them to earn money after spending RS20-25 million in their election,” he remarked.

Some constitutional experts disagree with them. They say the defection law would apply to the lawmakers going against the party in the Senate election.

Qazi Anwar, a prominent lawyer, said if a lawmaker defied party direction it would make a case for his/her disqualification. He said the article 63A should be read with articles 62 and 63.

Article 62 sets qualifications for members of the assemblies and article 63 lists conditions that could lead to the disqualification of lawmakers. However, they are of general nature. Article 63A is specific about defection. Even if a lawmaker fulfils all the conditions listed in article 62, including honesty and righteousness, he/she could be disqualified under article 63A for resigning or changing the party.

Muhammad Essa Khan, another constitutional expert and president of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association, admitted the defection article had loopholes and the lawmakers violating party direction in Senate election would be able to get away with the punishment.

“This article is silent on the Senate election and it’s up to the courts to make its interpretation. But if you are asking for my interpretation, I would say it applies in the Senate election as well,” he said. “If lawmakers are made to obey the party in the important events of electing the prime minister or the chief minister, they are not on their own in the Senate election,” he stated, arguing the spirit of the defection law required lawmakers to follow the party line.

He said lawmakers could voice their disapproval in party meetings but they must not be allowed to vote against the party direction. He said if they were tolerated to vote against the parties, the political parties would lose their importance. He worried it would give lawmakers a license to sell their votes in the Senate election.

The political parties share the fears Essa Khan voiced. Imran Khan, PTI chief, has even proposed show of hand instead of secret ballot in the Senate election, but it’s impossible without a constitutional amendment.

“If the past is any guide, horse-trading cannot be ruled out,” Sikandar Sherpao, who is also provincial chief of his party, worried. “We needed to stop it and electing senators unopposed was one available solution but I see thin chances of it,” he said with disappointment, hurrying up to say he had not surrendered yet.

Braunauam Inn: Hitler’s Birth Place

Clip_37Days after Braunau Am Inn in Austria across the river from Bavaria surrendered to the United States Army in May 1945, a group of German soldiers sought to flatten a three-story house here that had served as a Nazi pilgrimage site and shrine since the late 1930s.

The American troops turned them back. But in protecting the building in the historic city center they managed to cement an unwanted legacy for the citizens of Braunau am Inn. Who, after all, wants a constant reminder in their midst that they live in the city where Adolf Hitler was born?

Many people here have other ideas about what this city on the river Inn should be known for. Peace. The birthplace of a hymn writer. The health of its local industry. But to turn the corner, they must first deal with the house.

When the troops stopped the destruction of the three-story building on Salzburger Vorstadt street, they paved the way for a dispute that still rages, though it may come to a head soon.

Since December, the Austrian government has been pressing for a solution for the vacant building, which is privately owned but rented by the government. It has offered to buy the house, and is exploring whether it would be possible to dispossess the owner if she continues to balk at necessary renovations. The condition of the building is making it difficult to find a tenant.

Over the years the house has served as a makeshift museum, a school and a library. For more than three decades an organization offering support and integration assistance for disabled people used it to run a shop and a workshop. But the group moved out in 2011, and the government again faced the question of what to do with the building.

The problem is not a lack of ideas or initiative.

“Why can’t refugees live there?” said Georg Wojak, commissioner for Braunau and the surrounding district, when asked about the future of the birth house. “We don’t need this house, but that would be an appropriate use for it.”

A historian from Innsbruck, has spent years trying to drum up support for his idea to establish an international memorial and peace project in the house that would involve young people and international collaborations, reflecting the unique status of the place.

“Braunau is a memorial site in its own category,” Mr. Maislinger said. “It is not a place where crimes were committed. No decisions were made here. Nevertheless, we have been preoccupied with the place for decades.”

“Braunau is a symbol,” he said. “It is where evil entered the world.”

After the war, the Germans and occupying forces sought to level all sites there directly linked to Hitler, from the old and new chancellery buildings in Berlin to the Berghof in the Bavarian Alps.

That sentiment is still alive. A leading member of the Left party, summed it up in his curt response: “Either the house should be torn down, or used in such a way that no neo-Nazis will venture to come near it.”

Fears that the house could become a pilgrimage site led the Austrian government in 1972 to take over the main lease on the building, now owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the family that first built it. It had a tavern on the ground level and apartments on the upper floors, one of which was rented by Hitler’s parents before his birth in 1889.

The current owner has refused for years to allow necessary renovations to be carried out, which drove away the organization for the disabled three years ago. Her reluctance has also made it hard to find a tenant who meets the requirements of using it for administrative, educational or social services purposes. In the meantime, the Austrian government continues to pay her about 4,800 euros, or $5,600 a month, in rent.

Mayor Johannes Waidbacher of Braunau sighs when asked about the house. He would rather concentrate on the expansion of the aluminum factory that serves as a backbone of local industry, or efforts to revive the downtown area, where Hitler’s birth house is one of several vacant buildings.

He spent months with the municipal council and others, struggling in vain to come up with a use of the house that would make everyone — the government, the city and the owner — happy. Now, he is sitting tight. “There is no point in coming up with further concepts until we see how the situation develops,” Mr. Waidbacher said.

Like many here, the mayor acknowledges the weight of responsibility that goes with the house’s — and the city’s — indisputable, if unwelcome, link to history.

The stigma has long plagued residents. It is hard enough living in a place that alludes to the Nazis in name — “braun,” German for brown, the color associated with the Nazi Party. “Braunau is not brown,” declared a slogan that had tried to improve the city’s image.

Clip_132Braunau residents pass by the house’s empty windows or wait at the bus stop at the curb without so much as a glance at the memorial stone warning in block letters of the dangers of fascism. Yet, they would like nothing more than to be rid of it.

Some said they wished the Allies had not succeeded in 1945 in stopping a band of loyal Nazis from razing the building that drew pilgrims since Hitler’s earliest days in power. Newspaper reports from 1937 recount how German troops passing through the city would pay “solemn obeisance” at its doors.

As Hitler’s fame and influence grew, so did the significance of his birthplace, and Braunau’s association with it. A stamp issued in 1938 for Hitler’s 50th birthday featured him standing before the onion-shaped Gothic dome of the city’s St. Stephen’s Church in the background beneath the inscription, “The Führer in his birth city, Braunau.”

For decades after World War II, veterans from Austria and neighboring Germany still flocked to it, especially on Hitler’s birthday.

Now the local police say the neo-Nazi scene has dwindled in recent years. The house is under their constant watch, but problems are rare, they said.

 

Withcraft in African: Albinism Bear the Brunt

Clip_41At least 15 albino children have been abducted, wounded, gang-raped or murdered ahead of national elections in East Africa in acts related to witchcraft.

The Red Cross states that witchdoctors are paying up to $75,000 for a complete set of albino body parts to use in their practices, as they are believed to bring wealth, good luck and predict the future.

More attacks against albino children occur ahead of elections with many candidates believing they can improve their chances. Lawmakers banned witchcraft in January in Tanzania, and four people have since been convicted over the 2008 killing of a woman with albinism. At the same time, the UN has raised concern over the death sentences pronounced for some of the over 200 witchdoctors arrested in the last months.

 

 

 

 

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