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Source: AP

PETISOVCI, Slovenia (AP) -- Thousands of migrants surged into tiny Slovenia on Saturday as an alternative route opened in Europe for them after Hungary sealed its border for their free flow, adding another hurdle in their frantic flight from wars and poverty toward what they hope is a better life in Western Europe.

The closure of Hungary's border with Croatia early Saturday caused redirection of thousands of people - including women and small children soaked in cold rain - further west toward Croatia's border with Slovenia.

The small European Union-member state has limited capacity to process large numbers wishing to head toward richer European Union countries such as Germany, Austria or Sweden.

This could leave thousands stranded in Croatia and further east and south in Serbia and Macedonia - the countries on the so-called Balkan migrant corridor. The Hungarian border closure is the latest demonstration of EU's uncoordinated response to the flow of people reaching its borders.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_EUROPE_MIGRANTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-10-17-09-32-06

God’s TV, Russian style

On a sunny afternoon in Moscow, the Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeev is holding court in the studios of his newly launched television channel Tsargrad TV, dressed in a designer suit, a blue silk handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket. Above him is a makeshift cathedral cupola weighing in at half a tonne. Behind him are 24ft-high windows through which the Kremlin’s red towers are visible, their glass communist stars glistening.

Malofeev, who has the cheeks and figure of a man who likes a good meal, is in a buoyant mood. In a sign of his growing clout, he has just had lunch with two of the richest oligarchs on the Forbes list. Yelena Mizulina, a leading conservative senator, who has come to Tsargrad’s offices, is patiently waiting for the businessman to fit in a tête-à-tête before he departs on his summer holiday.

Over the past few years, Malofeev, 41, has morphed into one of Russia’s most influential businessmen and lobbyists, in part thanks to his devout Russian Orthodox faith and conservative values, now back in vogue during Vladimir Putin’s third term. As the founder of private equity firm Marshall Capital Partners, Malofeev accumulated substantial personal wealth, largely through an investment in the Russian telecoms giant Rostelecom. (His friend Igor Shchegolev, a fellow Russian Orthodox and now Putin adviser, was telecoms minister at the time.) Now he is paying it back as a self-styled Christian philanthropist and one of Putin’s loudest ideological supporters.

It is as part of this next act that Malofeev has launched Tsargrad TV, his own Russian Orthodox TV channel, which aims to put a conservative yet modern spin on global news. In June, Tsargrad began broadcasting daily on Spas, a religious channel run by the Russian Orthodox Church, in addition to an online platform. According to Malofeev, Tsargrad’s closest international equivalent is Fox News in the US, making him something of a Russian Roger Ailes.


Don’t Chase Putin Out of Syria — Let Him Fail On His Own

With each Russian escalatory step in Syria, the situation only seems to get worse. Critics pile on, citing it as an example of President Barack Obama’s “failed” foreign policy, calling for Obama to “do something” — confront Moscow, punish it for its reckless behavior, reassert leadership. But what would that something be?

Across the political spectrum, there are calls for a more muscular U.S. approach in Syria. Some are talking of proxy battles, while others are calling it a new Cold War and declaring a need to act tough to restore American credibility. But before the U.S. tumbles into something, it’s worth taking a step back and asking what Russian President Vladimir Putin aims to get out of this, and whether, if measured by his own goals, this brazen military intervention will work. I think the answer is no – which should guide how the U.S. should respond.

Let’s start with Putin’s stated objective for his intervention in Syria: fighting ISIS. This claim is preposterous. Few Russian strikes are taking place in Islamic State-controlled territory; the air campaign is focused on the opposition that is primarily fighting Assad. This is consistent with Putin’s inverted logic of the conflict, which — as he stated at his UN General Assembly speech last week — is as follows: Assad not only has a right to stay in power, but he in fact is the key to solving the ISIS problem. Unlike the United States and most of the rest of the world, who see the Syrian leader as a driver of the conflict, Putin asserts that Assad is the solution.

Russia’s motivation is simple: to protect Assad. Putin believes he is defending a basic principle against “outside intervention” that seeks to bring down an allied government—as he’s angrily watched happen over the last 15 years in Serbia, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine. And Russia’s military role in the Syrian conflict is hardly new. They’ve been there from the beginning as one of Assad’s only allies and chief weapons suppliers. Russian personnel have been on the ground throughout.


Containing The Putin Syndicate

The signs of the times are everywhere.

Estonia is erecting a 2.5-meter-high metal mesh fence reinforced with barbed wire along much of its border with Russia -- and backing it up with high-tech drones, sensors, radars, and cameras.

Neighboring Latvia has also announced plans to build fences along its eastern frontier. Poland plans to build new state-of-the art watchtowers on its border with Russia's Kaliningrad exclave.

And, of course, Ukraine has floated plans to build a wall along its Russian frontier.

A new era of containment, it appears, has begun.

Russia's neighbors, wary of polite little green men appearing to stir up new nondeclared hybrid wars, are building walls and becoming vigilant.


Ecuador Thwarted Deal Between Julian Assange And Swedish Prosecutors

The government of Ecuador scuppered a deal this summer between Julian Assange and Swedish prosecutors that could have ended their three-year standoff over rape allegations, leaked documents show.

Assange and the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, had apparently agreed that prosecutors could take DNA swabs and interview Assange on two days in June, but the meetings never took place because Ecuador raised numerous additional conditions or concerns.

The revelations also show Sweden casting private doubt on Ecuador’s public pronouncements that it is seeking to solve the long-running diplomatic impasse its asylum offer to Assange has caused, and raise questions as to its reasons for stalling such a deal....

...Ecuador, however, proved less willing to help than Ny expected. Internal emails discussing the country’s formal response to Sweden show the country throwing up a series of barriers against enabling the interview to take place, with advisers suggesting it was important the country was seen to win the diplomatic tussle and for Sweden to acknowledge Assange’s asylum status – neither Sweden nor the UK legally acknowledge diplomatic asylum.


Hacker's Kill List Shows ISIS 'Crowdsourcing Terrorism'

The case of a hacker who allegedly provided ISIS with a "kill list" Americans — ranging from diplomats to lowly bureaucrats, according to an NBC News review — shows that online intrusions can put a lot more than your credit rating at risk.

That was the message Friday from the Justice Department's top counter-terrorism prosecutor, who said in a speech that "crowdsourcing terrorism" is a new phenomenon — and a real threat.

"Hackers a world away can intrude into our homes with the push of a button, to steal from us, to gather intelligence that can be used against us, and even to try hurt or kill us," John Carlin said at the Roger Williams University Law School in Providence, Rhode Island.

"We have long warned about the convergence of terrorism and the cyber threat, but this case is a first of its kind."

Carlin's comments came a day after the Justice Department charged Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo hacker living in Malaysia, with giving ISIS 1,351 out of 100,000 names stolen from the Phoenix server of an unnamed U.S. retailer. A social media guru for the terror group disseminated it with the threat to "strike at your neck in your own lands."


Kosovo ‘Islamic State’ Hacker’s Family ‘is Pro-American’

The father of Ardit Ferizi, who was arrested in Malaysia for allegedly breaking into a US company's computer system, taking the personal details of more than 1,300 US military and government staff and passing them to an Islamic State militant, admitted on Friday that his son had been in trouble for hacking before.

“It’s true that since 15 years of age, my son has had problems with the police because he interfered in some internet sites in Kosovo, but I don’t believe that he is such a genius as to endanger the national security of America,” Naim Ferizi told BIRN.

He said that the family from the western Kosovo town of Gjakova was shocked by the arrest of Ardit Ferizi, who is accused by the US of being the leader of a hacking group called Kosova Hacker’s Security.

“Today’s news has terrified us as a family. My son may be a genius in computer science but he cannot get into the system of the most secure and democratic country in the world in order to take information,” he said.

He also insisted that the family has no links with Islamic State but instead admires the US.

“We are a traditional Albanian family, educated, and we are pro the American state and we apply every year for the Green Card,” he said.


Belgian state TV threatened for asking Erdoğan about jailed VICE journalist

A Belgian television network was threatened by a government official after a reporter asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a question about VICE News journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool, who has been jailed in Turkey for nearly two months, VICE News reported on Friday.

The incident which took place during Erdoğan’s visit to Brussels earlier this month was all caught on camera and caused a storm in Belgium, the report said, adding that the European Federation of Journalists has already reported the Belgian government to the European Council for "intimidation."

A video published at the weekend by the public broadcasting organization of the French Community of Belgium, RTBF -- for which Rasool also worked while in Turkey and Iraq -- shows a reporter shouting a question in the direction of Erdoğan as he walks towards his car. "Mr. Erdogan — why is Mohammed Rasool still in prison in Turkey?" she says, as the Turkish leader looks over before disappearing into his vehicle.

Rasool, an Iraqi journalist working with two other VICE News reporters in Diyarbakır, was jailed in early September with his colleagues. Turkey released and then deported the two British journalists, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, but Rasool remains behind bars.


BB&T spent millions 'persuading' universities to teach Ayn Rand...

Fears of corporate influence on higher education are nothing new. But are colleges and universities, which receive smaller and smaller shares of their budgets from public funding, and which have struggled to bounce back from the 2008 recession, more likely to accept gifts with ideological strings attached than they would have been previously?

That’s the idea behind a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Academic Ethics, called, "BB&T, Atlas Shrugged and the Ethics of Corporation Influence on College Curricula." It says it is the first study to track a particular set of donations by the financial services holding company BB&T to colleges and universities stipulating that they teach the works of free-market capitalist Ayn Rand and address the “Moral Foundations of Capitalism.”

The paper says these agreements, which have largely ceased, happen under a veil of secrecy, often without the knowledge of faculty members, and that BB&T’s foundation is set on correcting what it sees as an overly liberal curriculum.

“This has been reported on ad hoc, mostly by individual universities and their campus newspapers,” said Douglas Beets, the article’s author and a professor of business at Wake Forest University, which has its own BB&T-funded program. “But otherwise you can’t find information on website, and that’s one of the major problems -- this is not transparent.” And Beets says that, given current discussions over allegations of corporate influence over university research agendas, the Ayn Rand grants need more attention.


U.S. Charges Man in Malaysia With Hacking, Aiding Islamic State

WASHINGTON—Federal prosecutors have charged a man in Malaysia with hacking the personal information of more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel and federal employees and giving that information to Islamic State terror group.

The suspect, a citizen of Kosovo named Ardit Ferizi, was detained in Malaysia based on a U.S. arrest warrant, officials said.

Officials say Mr. Ferizi called himself “Th3Dir3ctorY’’ online, and is the leader of a Kosovar Internet hacking group called Kosova Hacker’s Security. Prosecutors say he hacked into a corporate computer system in the U.S., stole data about Americans who worked for the government, including military personnel, and then gave it to Islamic State member Junaid Hussain, a hacker working for the group who was killed by an airstrike in August.

Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who heads the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said the charges amounted to a first-of-its-kind case in which a hacker teamed up with a terror group to target Americans for violence.

“Ardit Ferizi is a terrorist hacker who provided material support to ISIL by stealing the personally identifiable information of U.S. service members and federal employees and providing it to ISIL for use against those employees,’’ said Mr. Carlin, using an alternate name for the group.


Detention of black teens by police outside D.C. bank sparks protests

Jason Goolsby stood outside a bank on Pennsylvania Avenue SE on Monday evening pondering whether to withdraw money from the ATM. The teen said a woman pushing a baby stroller approached, and he held the vestibule door open for her.

The 18-year-old, who was with two friends, lingered about 20 seconds outside the Citibank near Eastern Market on Capitol Hill before leaving. Moments later, Goolsby said, he saw D.C. police cars racing toward him. One, he said, nearly hit him. The college freshman said he ran.

Three blocks away near Barracks Row, officers caught him. One of his friends recorded the tail end of Goolsby’s forceful detention — two white police officers on top of the screaming black teenager, trying to force his hands to his back while saying, “Stop resisting.” The friend aiming the cellphone camera repeatedly yelled, “He didn’t do anything.”

Goolsby didn’t know that he and his friends had been suspected of casing the ATM for a possible robbery. A caller to 911 reported suspicious youths loitering at the bank’s entrance and according to a transcript of her call made available Wednesday, said, “we just left but we felt like if we had taken money out we might’ve gotten robbed.”

What happened next is a sign of the power of social media to drive activism amid a climate of distrust of police and heightened concerns about racial profiling. Goolsby said an officer told him that the woman, who is white, called 911 because he had made her feel “uncomfortable.”

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