‘A useful punching bag’: why Hungary’s Viktor Orbn has turned on George Soros

There are worries that the far best might be pushed by a project versus the Hungarian-born American billionaire. Shaun Walker reports from Budapest

I n 1989 the American-Hungarian investor George Soros spent for Viktor Orbn to study in Britain. Twenty years later on, he contributed $1m to Orbns federal government to assist the clean-up after the red sludge ecological catastrophe.

Over the years, the billionaire has actually invested numerous countless dollars funding education and civil society jobs in Hungary , the nation of his birth, through his Open Society Foundations (OSF).

But now Soros has actually ended up being the Hungarian prime ministers No 1 political target.

On signboards throughout Budapest Soros stands implicated of being a political puppet master. Recently, in a relocation viewed as straight targeting Soros, Hungarys parliament passed legislation needing NGOs to state themselves as foreign representatives on their sites and documents if they get moneying from political sources abroad.

How did it get to this?

Soross credibility in Hungary took a specific hit throughout the 2015 migrant crisis, when his advocacy for the gentle treatment for refugees ran up versus Hungarys ultra-conservative federal government, led by Orbn, a rightwing nationalist.

In current months, the disagreement has actually magnified. The prime minister has actually explained the billionaire as somebody who had actually messed up the lives of 10s of countless individuals with currency speculation.

Soros countered with a speech in Brussels this month where he described the Hungarian federal government as a mafia state and stated: He [Orbn] looked for to frame his policies as an individual dispute in between the 2 people and has actually made me the target of his relentless propaganda project.

Orbns representative, Zoltn Kovcs, informed the Guardian that the Brussels speech was a statement of political war on Hungary. Soros-funded organisations, Kovcs stated, were taken part in political advocacy camouflaged as NGO work.

Goran Buldioski, director of the OSFs Budapest-based Europe workplace, stated Soross moneying for Hungary had actually been considerably downsized considering that the nation signed up with the EU in 2004. Much of the previous financing was for advancement and education, with Orbn the recipient of a Soros-funded scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in 1989. Soros likewise established the Central European University, based in Budapest, which has been targeted by Orbns federal government of late.

But Soross structures invested simply $3.6 m in Hungary in 2016, stated Buldioski, a small portion of exactly what the federal government invested in promoting a referendum last October focused on disallowing refugees from the nation.

On his desk at the OSF workplaces in Budapest, Buldioski keeps a copy of a current edition of a popular regional paper, which included a full-page photo of Soros on page 2, accompanied by the caption Outrageous.

A video just recently produced by Orbns judgment Fidesz alliance likewise grumbles and utilizes the outrageous motto that the EU wishes to alter Hungarys difficult migration policy, then states: An organisation moneyed by George Soros is releasing suits versus our homeland in assistance of Brussels.

The video describes the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, partly moneyed by OSF, which supplied totally free legal help to about 3,000 individuals in 2015, consisting of numerous asylum hunters, taking 70 cases to the European court of human rights.

The organisation stated it would not adhere to the brand-new needs to brand name itself a foreign representative, calling the law unconstitutional.

Some federal government critics stated the attacks on Soros were simply an exploitative technique of utilizing popular assistance in the run-up to elections next spring.

Hes a really helpful punching bag, since hes both the outsider and the expert, the meddling immigrant and the Hungarian Jew, stated Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, which is the EU policy arm of the OSF. She included that there were clear antisemitic overtones to the project versus Soros by Fidesz.

Soros was born Gyrgy Schwartz to a household of Hungarian Jews in 1930, however his dad altered their surname to make it more Hungarian. As a young kid in the 1930s, Soros resided in an apartment or condo on Budapests Kossuth tr, the square neglecting the parliament structure, till his household was required to break up and live under presumed identities to leave the Holocaust. He left Hungary in 1947 to study in London, and later on emigrated to the United States, making billions as a financier and hedge fund supervisor.

Hungarys Jewish neighborhood is divided over the concern of whether antisemitism contributes in Orbns complaint with Soros. Adam Schonberger, director of a Jewish organisation that runs the Aurora neighborhood centre in Budapest, stated he thought the federal government project was not antisemitic, however had the prospective to empower others who were.

The Aurora centre was established in 2014 and serves as a type of union of the susceptible, real estate the workplaces of NGOs that deal with Jewish problems, Roma problems, LGBT rights, migrants, substance abuse and homelessness. The profits from an on-site bar and routine performances go to support the running of the area, and the centres preliminary financing came partly from Soros.

Last month, a group of reactionary activists ruined the beyond the structure, spray-painting Stop Operation Soros on the pavement and plastering pictures of his confront with a red cross struck through it on the entrance. Time allowing, we will state hey there once again, stated a short article about the attack published on a reactionary site. The centre attracted authorities, however authorities declared there was absolutely nothing they might do about it.

One of the factors theyre acting more brazenly now is that they have a sense that their time has actually come. Their objective to conserve Hungary has actually ended up being traditional political ideology, stated Schonberger, being in Auroras yard, which becomes a bar at nights.

Buldioski stated: In the past, Soros was criticised by the political fringe, rightwing nationalists and some extreme leftists. Now, the criticism is moving more traditional.

Not simply in Hungary. In Romania, the chairman of the judgment Social Democratic celebration, Liviu Dragnea, stated Soros and his organisations have actually fed evil in the nation; while a Polish MP from the judgment conservative federal government has actually described Soros as the most harmful male on the planet. The United States right has actually likewise participated: in a semi-coherent tirade , radio host and Donald Trump fan Alex Jones declared Soros heads a Jewish mafia.

But while Jones is on the edge of the argument, in Hungary, the anti-Soros discourse has actually ended up being mainstream, feeding into the populist anti-migrant discourse. Andrs Bencsik, editor of the rightwing month-to-month publication Demokrata, explained Soros as an unsafe guy who was destabilising Hungary, most importantly through his mindset to migration. We stated: Thank you quite however we wish to close our doors, and Soros stated: No, I desire you to open evictions.

Benscik, a Fidesz member whose workplace is embellished with swords, daggers and pictures of Hungarian statesmen, recommended darkly that Soros might have some secret strategy to ruin the nation, however had a hard time to describe exactly what this secret conspiracy may be.

Behind his mask there is another individual with an objective, we simply do not know exactly what it is. He has an unique program in his mind, however no one understands exactly what it is, he stated.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/22/hungary-viktor-orban-george-soros

Muslim groups in Germany at odds over planned anti-terrorism march

The Nicht Mit Uns or Not With United States march has actually been prepared as opposition to violence in the name of Islam, however some groups state it stigmatises Muslims

A row has actually broken out amongst organisations representing Muslims in Germany over a peace march to object versus terrorism due to happen at the weekend.

Nicht Mit Uns or Not With United States has actually been arranged by Muslim activists in Cologne to make a stand versus acts of horror and violence performed in the name of Islam .

But a the nations greatest Islamic organisation has stated it would not participate in the presentation which it stated totaled up to a task of regret which remained in threat of splitting German society.

The organisers of the demonstration have actually called Saturdays occasion a Ramadan March of Peace , which they state thousands are anticipated to participate in.

They state they have actually particularly selected Ramadan , the Muslim holy month, due to the fact that of the a great deal of attacks that have actually been performed throughout the world by Islamist terrorists throughout this duration.

Listing a string of attacks from Paris and Brussels to Kabul, Baghdad and Istanbul, organisers Lamya Kaddor, an Islamic scholar and Tarek Mohamad, a Muslim peace activist, have actually contacted demonstrators to send out an effective signal versus violence and horror.

In a perverse way, terrorists have actually consistently picked this time in specific to perform a particularly a great deal of their godawful deeds, they stated.

But DITIB, Germanys greatest umbrella organisation for Muslims, has actually contacted its members to remain at house, cautioning that the march will just cause their more stigmatisation.

Demands for Muslim anti-terrorism presentations fail, a representative stated. They stigmatise Muslims and provide the impression that global terrorism leads back to their mosques and neighborhoods.

The declaration went on to state that Muslims had currently, many times, distanced themselves from acts of violent through typical public declarations, public prayer events and other efforts.

It likewise criticised the organisers for arranging the presentation on the 22nd day of Ramadan, when those observing the spiritual act are prohibited from drinking and consuming in between 3.47 am and 9.55 pm.

Fasting Muslims can not be anticipated to show for hours in the midday sun, DITIB stated.

Saturdays presentation is happening in the city where stress in between Muslim immigrants and non-Muslims increased substantially after mass sex attacks performed throughout 2015/16 New Year events which saw numerous ladies reporting occurrences of molestation and rape by guys who police recognized as being of Arab and North African origin.

Critics of chancellor Angela Merkels open door policy to refugees in the summertime and fall of 2015 have actually blamed the federal government for fear attacks such as on targeting a Christmas market in Berlin last December where 12 individuals were eliminated.

Meanwhile Muslim leaders have actually consistently dealt with claims they have actually cannot effectively deal with the occurrences.

Nicht Mit Uns has the broad assistance of Germanys political mainstream and Muslim interest groups, consisting of the Central Council of Muslims, in addition to Christian groups. Agents of political leaders from the judgment union of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, in addition to from a lot of opposition celebrations, together with authors, stars and tv characters are because of participate.

Kaddor, a book author and chair of the Liberal-Islamic Association who showed up in Germany from Syria with her moms and dads in 1978, stated the timing of the demonstration was intentional after weeks of severe violence that had actually occurred throughout the world.

Manchester was the final stroke, she informed the Klner Stadt-Anzeiger paper , describing the Manchester Arena bomb attack where 23 were eliminated and much more were hurt.

She included: We Muslims wish to come together and form a broad union versus everybody who utilizes violence, especially when they speak in our name.

DITIB stated it would be holding its own efforts of prayers for peace and versus terrorism in its mosques this weekend.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/16/muslim-groups-in-germany-at-odds-over-planned-anti-terrorism-march

Growing awareness of colonial past fuels radicalisation, says Czech minister

Lubomr Zaorlek, most likely Social Democrat prospect for prime minister, states in dark speech that the west has 20 years to reach a settlement with Muslim world

An awakening in the Muslim world about the atrocities devoted in the wests colonial past is feeding modern radicalisation of neighborhoods, stated the Czech foreign minister on Wednesday.

In a dark speech that he referred to as hard and harsh, Lubomr Zaorlek, the most likely Social Democrat prospect for prime minister in the October elections, cautioned that the west had about 20 years to reach a settlement with the Muslim world.

Zaorlek was speaking at a Future of Europe Summit in Prague on the exact same day as his celebration fulfilled to choose who must lead it into the elections. It was anticipated to come with an intricate offer where Bohuslav Sobotka , the undesirable prime minister, would not stand, leaving Zaorlek and interior minister Milan Chovanec in joint charge.

Facing a growing electoral difficulty from populist forces, the Social Democrat-led union federal governments action to the migrant concern is most likely to include highly in the project, specifically in the wake of an EU commission judgment today that the Czechs, in addition to Poland and Hungary, are breaching an EU arrangement to take a repaired quota of refugees. Zaorlek stated he would decline the EU choice.

In his speech, Zaorlek stated countries consisting of Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, the Russian empire and its Soviet follower had actually been accountable for the deaths of millions.

He stated the west was dealing with a revolt from within about inequality brought on by globalisation and from without by recently informed masses progressively upset about their fate and their colonial past.

We are dealing with an awakening now. We need to be concentrated on the non-western world, and the freshly excited political masses, Zaorlek stated. Long-suppressed political memories are sustaining a big unexpected and explosive awakening energised by Islamist extremists in the Middle East. He stated the exact same phenomenon might infect Africa and Asia.

His remarks are most likely to anger those who think any recommendation to the wests past can wind up as part reason for extremist violence.

Zaorlek, confessing he was raising hard concerns, indicated a postponed outrage sustained by education and brand-new horizons over massacres equivalent in scale to the Nazi war criminal offenses.

There is a huge propensity to forget numerous things of our history, Zaorlek stated. In India, from the 2nd half of the 19th century , the British are believed of eliminating approximately 1 million civilians in reprisals originating from the Indian uprising of 1857. The British East India Companys usage of Indian farming to grow opium then basically impose it on China led to the sudden deaths of millions.

He continued: In the Congo, 10 or 15 million were eliminated from completion of the 19th and start of the 20th century. In Vietnam, current quotes recommend that in between 1 to 3 million civilians were eliminated in between 1952 and 1975.

In the Muslim world, in the Russian Caucasus from 1864-67, 90% of the regional population were by force turned and in between 300,000 and 1.5 million [individuals] either starved to death, or were eliminated. In Indonesia in the 19th century, the Dutch occupiers eliminated an approximated 300,000 civilians.

He stated that through the Algerian war of the 1950s, France had actually brutalised 1.5 million individuals, almost half of the population. In neighbouring Libya, he stated, an approximated half a million passed away in between 1927 and 1935, partially due to Italian detention camps.

He included a million civilians had actually passed away in Afghanistan throughout the Soviet intrusion. An additional 160,00 civilians had actually been eliminated in the Iraq civil war at the hands of the United States and its allies in the previous 13 years.

Zaorlek stated that simply as stunning as the scale of these atrocities is how rapidly the west ignores them, including it was needed to remember these figures when the west wishes to discuss radicalisation and how is it possible we are dealing with a lot hatred and violence.

The only response lay in consistent efforts to co-operate with Muslim nations, he stated, including the next 20 years represents the last possibility for the more standard positionings with which we have actually grown comfy.

In the remainder of the century, he stated, the west will deal with a fight for survival mainly due to the difficulty of environment modification.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/growing-awareness-of-colonial-past-fuels-radicalisation-says-czech-minister

Taormina in the spotlight: Sicily’s noble but risky plan to host the G7

Donald Trump and other G7 leaders fulfill in Taormina today. How will this currently tourist-choked town popular for its charm and ancient ruins cope?

Tucked away on a natural balcony in between rocks and water in Sicilys east coast, the historical town of Taormina is acquiring worldwide status as it gets ready for an approaching international occasion.

The little seaside town, which rests on a hill 206 metres above water level ignoring Mount Etna, has actually constantly brought in visitors. When explained by Ernest Hemingway as being so quite it harms to look at it, it was. Celebs such as Eva Gardner and commemorated authors like DH Lawrence were drawn to Taormina and its ancient ruins the theatre ignoring the sea goes back to the 3rd century BC. Now, its such a mass-market traveler location that the town has actually practically lost its initial beauty.

But from 26-27 May Taormina will be inviting a somewhat various market. Sicilys pearl of the Ionian Sea is hosting the 2017 G7 top, generating world leaders consisting of Donald Trump and the brand-new French president Emmanuel Macron. Previous Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi picked this town over the favored Florence in order to relaunch Sicily, understood for high joblessness rates and brain drain.

Taorminas geographical position in the Mediterranean and Sicilys important function in Italys technique to migrants is especially symbolic as the refugee crisis will be among the subjects on this years G7 program. And undoubtedly, its archeological and natural charms make it the best scene to promote Italys image abroad

Taormina in numbers

10,960 residents in the town

392 BC the date when individuals very first settled in Taormina

6,000 accommodations for travelers

12 first-class high-end hotels

1.1 million travelers in general in 2016

and images

Local professional photographer Andrea Strazzeri was the very first individual to take a drone image of Taorminas ancient Greek theatre covered in snow last winter season. Through my images, I desire individuals whove never ever gone to Taormina feel the very same feelings I feel whenever I browse my city, Strazzeri states.

Andrea Strazzeris picture of Taorminas theatre utilizing a drone. Photo: Andrea Strazzeri

History in 100 words

Taormina was initially established by the Sicels, then soaked up by the neighboring Greek city of Naxos in the 4th century BC. As a Magna Graecia nest, the city lived an extended period of success prior to being dominated by the Romans. Quickly a Byzantine province, it was the last Sicilian fortress to fall under the Islamic empire. After the Arab conquest came the French, who brought back the Christian religious beliefs. Following years of chaos throughout the Middle Ages and a sluggish financial decrease under Spanish dominance, Taormina was discovered as a Grand Tour location for Romantic age authors in the 19th century, increasing the citys popularity.

Taormina in noise and vision

Taormina is well-known for hosting numerous music and movie celebrations throughout the year. Lots of global artists have actually carried out inside Taorminas Greek theatre throughout the summer season, from Elton John to Duran Duran.

Since 1983, Taormina Arte has actually been arranging annual arts occasions. Amongst those, the most popular is the Taormina Film Festival . For 20 years it likewise hosted the David di Donatello Award, the Italian variation of the Academy Awards.

La Repubblica

, the American secret service has actually asked the city to expand the street from the heliport to the G7 conference location Hotel San Domenico, which is considered too little for Trumps motorcade. Regional authorities are hurrying to renovate the street to please their requirements, however it will be difficult to broaden it enough.Urban enhancements ahead of the worldwide conference began far too late, inning accordance with Italian media and some residents. Theyve been burning the midnight oil to enhance streets for security, hurrying towards the ending time and triggering traffic and issues, states Gerhard Schuler, owner of Villa Schuler, among Taorminas very first hotels established in 1905. He states many individuals concur that hosting G7 was a dangerous however honorable concept, as Sicilys regional administration was not prepared to welcome such a substantial endeavour. Even the mayor, Eligio Giardina, was fretted the G7 might become an international mess and offer Taormina a bad image.

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Whats next for the city?

Last March, Taorminas city administration required 4.8 m from the tourist profits of the Greek theatre formally part of the larger archeological park complex of Naxos to the local administration. The City of Taormina declares it hasn’t gotten that due quantity, and means to bring the case to court, or theyll develop their own independent archeological park once the G7 top is over, the mayor revealed.

After the G7, Taormina will have time to work and breathe on offering curated and tidy archeological websites for daily travelers, and not simply in emergency situation circumstances like the G7, states Mariarita Sgarlata, accessory teacher of Christian and Medieval archeology at the University of Catania. The next action will be beginning the application procedure to end up being a Unesco World Heritage Site a status that had actually been rejected in 2016, however can still be reassessed in case of reapplication which might enhance Taorminas global status, Sgarlata includes.

With the local elections set up for next November, and Taorminas regional elections in 2018, the archeological websites management might end up being an essential point for public law dispute.

Close zoom

Giulio Grecos Instagram account assists both immigrants and residents find the concealed charms of this Mediterranean pearl. TaorminaToday , a regional online paper, is the very best source to learn more about whats occurring in the area. Otherwise, asking the group of retired guys who rest on a bench in Taorminas primary square every early morning, who understand whatever and everybody, is the very best method to obtain to understand the city.

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to sign up with the conversation, and explore our archive here

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/may/22/taormina-spotlight-sicily-g7-donald-trump

UK election: Theresa May’s full statement

(CNN)UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced Tuesday that there will be a snap general election on 8 June 2017. Here is her statement in full.

Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership. And since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that.
Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.
We have also delivered on the mandate we were handed by the referendum result. Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back.
And as we look to the future, the government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe. We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.
That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders. And we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners, all around the world.
This is the right approach and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it.
At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster. But instead there is division. The country is coming together but Westminster is not.
In recent weeks Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union.
The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.
The Scottish national party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union.
And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.
Our opponents believe, because the government’s majority is so small, that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course.
They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done.
And I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country. Because what they are doing jeopardizes the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home. And it weakens the government’s negotiating position in Europe.
If we do not hold a general election now, their political game-playing will continue. And the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.
Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.
So we need a general election and we need one now. Because we have, at this moment, a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.
I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became prime minister I have said there should be no election until 2020.
But now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.
And so tomorrow I will move a motion in the House of Commons calling for a general election to be held on the 8th June. That motion as set out by the Fixed-term Parliament Act will require a two thirds majority of the House of Commons.
So I have a simple challenge to the opposition parties, who have criticized the government’s vision for Brexit, who have challenged our objectives, who have threatened to block the legislation we put before parliament.
This is your moment to show you mean it, to show that you are not opposing the government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.
Let us tomorrow vote for an election. Let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programs for government and then let the people decide.
And the decision facing the country will be all about leadership. It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with me as your prime minister or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn propped up by the Liberal Democrats who want to reopen the divisions of the referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.
Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done.
Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the Prime Ministers, Presidents and Chancellors of the European Union.
Every vote for the Conservatives will mean we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.
It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election. But it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
So tomorrow let the House of Commons vote for an election.
Let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programs for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/18/europe/theresa-may-election-full-statement/index.html

Russian malware detected in US electricity grid report

Russian malware detected in US electricity grid report

Code found within system of a Vermont electric utility was not used to disrupt operations but represents potentially serious vulnerability

A malware code associated with Russian hackers has reportedly been detected within the system of a Vermont electric utility.

The Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations of the utility, US officials told the Washington Post, but penetration of the nations electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability.

The code is associated with the hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration.

On Thursday, president Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking US political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

Vladimir Putin said he would not retaliate by expelling US diplomats from Russia, a move praised by Donald Trump.

Government and utility industry officials regularly monitor the nations electrical grid because it is highly computerised and any disruptions can have disastrous implications for the functioning of medical and emergency services, the Post said.

US officials, including one senior administration official, said they are not yet sure what the intentions of the Russians might have been, the Post reported.

Federal officials have shared the malware code with utility executives nationwide, a senior administration official said, and Vermont utility officials identified it within their operations, the Post reported.

A senior Obama administration official declined to comment specifically on the Post report but said the administration had sought in its sanctions announcement on Thursday to alert all network defenders in the United States so they could defend against Russian malicious cyber activity.

While it is unclear which utility reported the incident, there are just two major utilities in Vermont, Green Mountain Power and Burlington Electric, the Post said.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Green Mountain Power and Burlington Electric also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The penetration may have been designed to disrupt the utilitys operations or as a test by the Russians to see whether they could penetrate a portion of the grid, the newspaper said.

Russia is widely considered responsible by US officials and private-sector security experts for a December 2015 hack of Ukraines power grid that knocked out the lights for about 250,000 people. That hack prompted National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers to say at a conference in March that it was a matter of when, not if a cyber adversary carried out a similar attack against the United States.

On Thursday Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for US election hacking.

US intelligence services believe Russia ordered cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clintons campaign and other political organisations, in an attempt to influence the election in favour of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/31/russian-malware-detected-in-us-electricity-grid-report

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January 2017 Issue of From The Horse’s Mouth is out now

Italian priest blames earthquakes on gay civil unions

Italian priest blames earthquakes on gay civil unions

Vatican rebukes Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli after he claims deadly quakes are divine punishment for the offence of civil unions

An Italian priest has angered the Vatican after claiming the earthquakes that have shaken the country killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless were divine punishment for gay civil unions.

Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli, a theologian known for his hardline views, made the comments on 30 October, the day central Italy was struck by a 6.6-magnitude quake – the most powerful to hit the country in 36 years.

It was the third major quake in the region in just over two months.

Cavalcoli told Radio Maria that the seismic shocks were divine punishment for the offence to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through civil unions.

Italy is one of the last western European countries to legally recognise same-sex relationships, having introduced legislation last month to allow gay civil unions.

The radio station distanced itself from Cavalcolis views and the Vatican has issued a stinging rebuke, saying the idea of a vengeful God was a pagan vision dating from the pre-Christian era.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, number two in the Vaticans powerful secretariat of state, said Cavalcolis comments were offensive to believers and disgraceful for non-believers.

Becciu asked for forgiveness from quake victims and reminded them they had the solidarity and support of Pope Francis.

However, Cavalcoli refused to back down, insisting to another radio station that earthquakes were caused by the sins of man and telling the Vatican to read their catechism.

It is not the first time comments by members of the Italian clergy have embarrassed the Catholic church.

Last month a priest was suspended from his parish in Trento after apparently defending paedophilia during a live TV interview, arguing that children often seek affection. Fr Gino Flaim of the San Giuseppe and Pio X parish claimed he understands paedophilia but added, Im not sure about homosexuality.

When asked to explain his comments he told the La7 channel: Paedophilia is a sin, and like all sins has to be accepted also. He went on to describe homosexuality as a disease.

Following his suspension the priest said his words do not represent the positions of Trento archdiocese and the general sentiment of the parish.

In 2012 another Italian priest sparked outrage by delivering a Christmas message that claimed women were to blame for mens violence towards them because they wore filthy clothes and served cold suppers.

Fr Piero Corsi put a leaflet on his churchs noticeboard in San Terenzio, north-west Italy, asserting that 118 women killed by men in Italy that year only had themselves to blame.

Is it possible that men have turned crazy all of a sudden? We dont believe so. The point is that more and more women provoke, fall into arrogance, believe [themselves] to be independent and exacerbate tensions, the leaflet read.

Children are left outside alone, homes are dirty, meals are served cold clothing is filthy. They [women] trigger the worst instincts leading to violence and sexual abuse. They should do a self-examination and think: did we ask for it?

The priest received a torrent of abuse after a scan of the leaflet was posted online, and his Facebook account was closed.

Senior religious figures distanced the church from Corsis comments and he was forced to resign.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/05/italian-priest-blames-earthquakes-on-gay-civil-unions

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