Saturday, January 2, 2016

Inside ISIS complete with videos.

Isis: The first Western journalist ever to be given access to the 'Islamic State' has just returned – and this is what he discovered.

Jürgen Todenhöfer, 74, spent 10 days in Isis-controlled territory. He says the reality on the ground is different from what anyone in the West realises
An Isis propaganda video purporting to show fighters near the Iraqi city of Tikrit
he first Western journalist in the world to be allowed extensive access to Isis territories in Syria and Iraq has returned from the region with a warning: the group is “much stronger and much more dangerous” than anyone in the West realises.
Jürgen Todenhöfer, 74, is a renowned German journalist and publicist who travelled through Turkey to Mosul, the largest city occupied by Isis, after months of negotiations with the group’s leaders.
He plans to publish a summary of his “10 days in the Islamic State” on Monday, but in interviews with German-language media outlets has revealed his first impressions of what life is like under Isis.
Speaking to the website Der tz, Todenhöfer revealed that he actually stayed in the same hotel in Benghazi as James Foley, the US journalist who was beheaded on camera by Isis in August.:
"Intergrated video".





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“Of course, I’ve seen the terrible, brutal video and it was one of my main concerns during the negotiations as to how I can avoid [the same fate],” he said.
Once within Isis territory, Todenhöfer said his strongest impression was “that Isis is much stronger than we think here”. He said it now has “dimensions larger than the UK”, and is supported by “an almost ecstatic enthusiasm that I have never encountered in any other warzone”.
“Each day, hundreds of willing fighters arrive from all over the world,” he told tz. “For me it is incomprehensible.”
Todenhöfer claims to have been able to move among Isis fighters, observing their living conditions and equipment. On his Facebook page, he has posted images which he said show German Heckler & Koch MG3 machine guns in the hands of Isis. “Someday this German MG could be directed to us,” he said.
Isis’s fighters themselves sleep, he said, in barracks formed from “the shells of bombed-out houses”. They number around 5,000 in Mosul, and are spread so widely that were the US to bomb them all “they would have to reduce the whole of Mosul to ruins”, he said.
Todenhöfer says that this ultimately means Isis cannot be beaten by Western intervention or air strikes – despite US claims last week that they have proven effective. “With every bomb that is dropped and hits a civilian, the number of terrorists increases,” he said.
Speaking in a TV interview with RTL’s Nachtjournal programme two days after his return to Germany last week, Todenhöfer said Isis has worked hard to establish itself as a functioning state. He said it has “social welfare”, a “school system”, and that he was even surprised to see it has plans to provide education to girls.
Most concerning of all, he said, was Isis fighters’ belief that “all religions who agree with democracy have to die”.
He said the view that kept being repeated was that Isis want to “conquer the world” and all who do not believe in the group’s interpretation of the Koran will be killed. The only other religions to be spared, Todenhöfer said, were the “people of the book” – Jews and Christians.
“This is the largest religious cleansing strategy that has ever been planned in human history”, he told RTL.
Isis-affiliated social media accounts have already started responding to Todenhöfer's reports, hailing his comments about the group's territories being made into functioning societies.
The tweet below quotes “German journalist Jürgen” as saying: “The Caliphate state is working to create life in the style of the Rightly Guided Caliphs who lived after the Prophet (PBUH) and it can move mountains.”
Charlie Winter, a researcher for the anti-extremism thinktank Quilliam, said such comments about Isis being "a group that is formidable militarily and politically" were quoted by pro-Isis accounts because it is "a bitter pill for policymakers to swallow".
"That said, Todenhöfer's comments on the massacre of the Yazidis and displacement of hundreds of thousands in Mosul have been routinely ignored by Isis supporters," Mr Winter said. "The facts are being cherry-picked to give a very narrow view of the situation that Todenhöfer was met with in Syria and Iraq." 
Todenhöfer plans to use his first-hand experience of Isis in a book he is writing about the group. He says on Facebook that he has always “spoken to both sides” in his 50 years reporting from war zones, including interviews with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and al-Qaeda, with Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and with leaders of the Taliban.
In his view, Isis will soon come to the West to negotiate a level of co-existence. “The only ones who could stop this now are the moderate Iraqi Sunnis,” he said, adding: “If you want to defeat an opponent, you must know him.”


Friday, January 1, 2016

Australia asylum: Why is it controversial?


Boat of asylum seekers off Christmas Island (June 2012)
Australia's policy on asylum seekers has come under intense scrutiny. The BBC explains why.
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Does Australia get a lot of asylum seekers?

UNHCR's Asylum Trends 2014 report said Australia received 8,960 asylum applications in 2014 - about 1% of all applications made globally in 2014.
That number was a drop from 2013, when Australia received 11,740 applications, according to UN figures.
Australia's policy towards asylum seekers arriving by boat has attracted the most attention.
Asylum seekers have attempted to reach Australia on boats from Indonesia, often paying large sums of money to people smugglers. Hundreds have died making the dangerous journey.

File photo: An empty Australian lifeboat that carried asylum seekers turned back by Australian navy is docked at Pangandaran wharf in western Java island, 8 February 2014
Image copyrightAFP
Image captionAsylum seekers have been sent back in lifeboats
Australian government statistics show that between 2012 and 2013 more than 18,000 people arrived in Australia illegally by sea, compared to just 7,300 between 2011 and 2012.
However, the numbers arriving by sea plunged after the government introduced tough new policies, including the towing back of boats. The government says only one boat of asylum seekers reached Australia in 2014.
The asylum seekers mostly come from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran or Myanmar (Burma) where they say they risked violence or persecution.
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So why does Australia have tough asylum policies?

Domestically, asylum is a hot political issue. Polls have shown that a significant number of Australians approve of taking a tougher stance.
The two biggest rival political groupings adopted tough policies ahead of the September 2013 polls. The Liberal-National coalition, which won, had campaigned in part on a "stop the boats" platform.
The government says the journey the asylum seekers make is dangerous and controlled by criminal gangs, and they have a duty to stop it.
However, critics say opposition to asylum is often racially motivated and is damaging Australia's reputation.
Australia granted close to 13,800 refugee visas between 2013 and 2014. It granted about 20,000 visas between 2012 and 2013.
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What did the last government do?


A 2012 picture of Manus Island detention camp for asylum seekers.
Image copyrightHandout
Image captionThe camps on PNG and Nauru are controversial, with activists condemning living conditions
The Labor government reintroduced offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG) - a policy it had ended in 2008.
The government pays outsourced contractors to operate and provide security at temporary detention camps for asylum seekers on the Pacific islands.
It also reached a deal with PNG that any asylum seekers judged to be genuine refugees would be resettled in PNG, not Australia.
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What is the current government doing?


Migrants sent back to Sri Lanka by Australia queue at the magistrate's court (July 2014)
Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionSri Lanka charged asylum seekers sent back by Australia with leaving the country illegally
The Liberal-National government adopted Labor's policies and expanded them, introducing Operation Sovereign Borders, which put the military in control of asylum operations.
Under this policy military vessels patrol Australian waters and intercept migrant boats, towing them back to Indonesia or sending asylum seekers back in inflatable dinghies or lifeboats.
The government says at least 15 boats have been turned back so far.
Some of those turned back have been prosecuted in their home countries for illegally leaving the country.
On 5 December 2014, parliament approved changes to its immigration laws. It reintroduced controversial temporary visas for refugees, allowing them to work in Australia for three to five years, but denying them permanent protection.
Critics of the law said it meant asylum seekers could be returned home even if they faced persecution.
However, the government says its policies have restored the integrity of its borders, and helped prevent deaths at sea.
The government is also expanding efforts to resettle refugees in other countries. It reached a deal with Cambodia to send refugees there in exchange for millions of dollars.
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What's so controversial about the offshore camps?


People attend a candlelight vigil in support of asylum seekers, in Sydney on 23 February 2014.

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionTwo Iranians have died as a result of detention in Australia's Manus Island camp in PNG
Rights group say conditions in the PNG and Nauru camps are totally inadequate, citing poor hygiene, cramped conditions, unrelenting heat and a lack of facilities.
They say these conditions are causing physical and mental health issues among detainees.
Two young Iranian men have died as a direct result of their detention in PNG. One,Reza Barati, was beaten to death by a mob comprising camp guards and PNG local residents who had broken into the centre.
Another, Hamid Khazaei, was declared brain dead in September following a severe infection of a cut foot. His life support was then turned off.
Allegations have also surfaced that the government has sought to cover up the extent of mental health problems among child detainees in Christmas Island, another offshore detention camp.
In November, the death of a detainee at the Christmas Island centre sparked a major disturbance at the site.
In 2015, the government passed legislation making it illegal for employees at detention centres to disclose information about the camps to the media. The law was criticised by workers and rights groups - although MPs said staff would still be protected by whistleblower protection laws.
It is extremely difficult for journalists to get visas to the detention centres. However, the BBC travelled undercover to Manus Island in June, and spoke to residents and a refugee on the island.
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Is it just the camps?

No. The tow-back policy has annoyed Indonesia. Australia has apologised for multiple violations of its territorial waters.
Rights groups have criticised Australia for intercepting asylum seekers at sea and returning them.
They accused Australia of violating international law by returning possible refugees to the country where they were being persecuted.
In October, Amnesty International said in a report that it had evidence showing that Australian officials paid people smugglers to turn back boats and threatened asylum seekers. The government criticised the report as "a slur" on the border and defence forces.
Finally, the policy of resettling refugees offshore has also drawn strong criticism.
Rights groups accuse Australia of failing to meet its international obligations by sending refugees to impoverished nations ill-equipped to handle them, with potentially inadequate protections.
Many Cambodians have protested against the new plans to settle refugees there, arguing that Cambodia already struggles to provide basic services to its own people.

12 Ways to Make Money with Your Smartphone


By Holly Reisem Hanna

Before I started working online, I never really understood why companies would pay individuals to participate in activities like shopping online, reading emails (basically, reading advertisements), watching videos, playing games, or using a specified smartphone application.
But online competition is fierce to say the least, so companies and brands have become creative with how they reach customers. Instead of spending marketing dollars on traditional advertising methods, brands are reaching out to consumers in unique ways – which has been great for app and web developers, as well as individuals who are looking to make a little extra cash.
Another great thing about using your smartphone to make money, is there are tons of real customer reviews for each app, so you can get a better idea of which ones are legit.
Here are 12 legit ways to make money from home by using your smartphone.
One of my faves … Swagbucks is an online platform where you can earn points called SB, which can be redeemed for gift cards, coupons, and sweepstake entries. They also have a smartphone app for iPhone and Android operating systems. You can easily earn SB by watching videos, answering questions, completing offers, and even surfing the web using their toolbar. Refer your friends and you’ll earn even more SB. Your SB points can be traded in for gift cards from Amazon, Target, Starbucks, PayPal, and Walmart.
  • Open to residents of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland.
Allows you to make money by scanning bar codes, taking quizzes, watching videos, searching the web, and completing offers. Trade points in for gift cards from Amazon, Target, and Walmart or get entries for giveaways. CheckPoints has been featured on Mashable and is both Android and iPhone compatible.
  • Open to US residents only.
Easy Shift is a mirco-task application where you can earn money by completing shifts. Shifts usually entail checking prices, seeing if a product is in stock, or taking photos of a store display. Once you have successfully completed the shift, payment will be made through PayPal within 48 hours of submission. Shifts pay anywhere from $2.00 to $20.00 per task. Easy Shift has been featured on USA Today, All Things Digital, and Mashable. Is currently only available for iPhone users.
  • Available in most US cities.
Field Agent allows you to make money by completing various micro tasks, from checking shelf availability to checking demo and display compliance. Tasks pay anywhere from $3.00 to $12.00 per job and payments are made via PayPal. Field Agent works with brands like Tyson, Target, Hershey’s and has been featured on CNET, Forbes, and The New York Times. Only available for iPhones.

GigWalk is a mobile workforce of individuals using their iPhone or Andriod smartphone to connect, explore, and earn a second paycheck as they go about their day. Simply register, apply for an assignment, and then complete the task (usually verifying roads and street signs, geographic landmarks or transportation options). Gigwalk’s workforce is available in multiple US cities. GigWalk has been featured on CNN, Business Insider, and Forbes.
  • Available in most major US cities.
Is a way for you to make money from working out. Simply download the app (available for both iPhone and Android systems) set some work out goals and then check in when you go to the gym or work out at home. But here’s the catch … if you don’t exercise, you’ll have to pay a pre-determined fee for not working out. This money is used to pay others who did exercise. Rewards generally payout been $0.30 to $0.40 per workout and once you’ve reached a $5.00 threshold you can request payment via PayPal. GymPact has been featured on CNN, The New York Times, and ABC News.
  • Works in 75+ countries internationally.
Ibotta is an iPhone and Android application that you can use to earn money when you go shopping. Before you head out on a shopping trip complete tasks relating to your favorite brands and companies. Next go shopping at stores like Target and Walgreens and take photos of your receipts. Once your transaction has been verified, your account will be credited with a specified cash back amount. Refer your friends and earn even more money. Payments are made via PayPal and can be transferred as soon as you earn $5.00. Ibotta has been featured on Mashable, Good Morning America, and Business Insider.
  • Open to US and Puerto Rico residents.
Locket is only available for Android systems and it basically pays you to place advertisements on your phone’s home screen. Once you unlock your phone the ad will appear, swipe one way to interact with the ad, and the other way to access your phone’s functions – either way you get paid. Locket uses a proprietary algorithm that pays based on how often you unlock your phone throughout the day. You account must reach $10.00 to request a payout and payments are made via PayPal.
Poshmark is an application where individuals can sell women’s fashion clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories. Download the application on your iPhone, create an account, and then start taking photos of the items you wish to sell. Once the item sells, print out a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping label and send off your item. When the buyer receives the item, Poshmark will deposit 80% of the sale price into your account. Payments are made either by direct deposit or check.
  • Available in the United States and its territories.
Available for Android and iPhone systems, Receipt Hog pays you money for shopping and taking surveys. Download the app and take photos of your receipts from any grocer, super-center, club store, dollar store, drug store, convenience mart, beauty supply, or pet supply store. Once receipts are inputted into the system, Receipt Hog will award you with virtual coins that can be traded in for cash through PayPal or an Amazon gift card. The information that Receipt Hog collects is summarized and used in market research reports that companies will pay for. The amount of coins you earn per receipt depends on how much your total bill is. You can submit 20 receipts per week and trade 1,000 coins in for $5.00.
  • Available for use within the United States and United Kingdom.
I’m totally addicted to this app! Shopkick is a really cool rewards program that is available for iPhone and Android phones. Just download the app to your phone and when you walk into your favorite stores (Old Navy, Crate & Barrel, Exxon, Target, Macy’s, etc) you’ll instantly earn kicks. Scan specified bar codes once you’re in the store to earn more kicks. Link up your credit card, browse through look-books, or refer your friends for even more kicks. Kicks can be used for gift cards from Target, Old Navy, Starbucks, or on items like clothing, electronics, or even a cruise! Shopkick has been featured on The Huffington Post, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.
  • Open to US Residents.
Do you love to watch TV or listen to music? Then Viggle is for you. Just download the app to your Android or iPhone, check in with Viggle button and start earning points by watching TV or listening to music. You can even engage and answer questions for additional points. Points can be redeemed for rewards from companies like Starbucks, Foot Locker, Groupon, and Best Buy.
Make sure to check out this list, I use use moneymaking apps weekly … they even cover my Starbucks habit!
Have you used any of these apps to make money?

This page includes some referral links. Please be aware that we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.

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