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The Netherlands: Crowdfunding - Debut Of Exciting New Dutch Vocalist Jo Sarah

Jo Sarah
Following our earlier report we met up again with the exciting new Dutch singer Jo Sarah and asked her how her  recordings have been going these past weeks. 

"These have been some fast moving weeks recording my album. It was really  awesome recording my songs at the Wedgeview studio’s with my band - they were fantastic", said Jo

The album is going to be really special.  she said and will have 5 songs and a small surprise!! "So please stay tuned for the release in January 2015."

 "We are now in the process of mixing the songs….and I can already hear and feel it’s going to be an album to be proud about", says Jo Sarah

Sarah said she has also started a "crowdfunding" to finance the production of her album and  donations already reached 50% of her goal - thanks to all the people who have graciously donated funds.

Anyone interested to help Jo Sarah reach her funding goal can find out more about it by clicking on the following link:  Crowdfunding Jo Sarah!


Middle East: Kurds fear Isis use of chemical weapon in Kobani - by Emma Graham-Harrison

Kurds battling Islamic State militants for control of Kobani fear the extremist group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon, according to officials and one of the few doctors still working in the besieged Syrian town.

Patients with blisters, burning eyes and breathing difficulties turned up at a clinic after a blast was heard on Tuesday evening, Dr Walat Omar said. He described the symptoms as abnormal and said he could not identify their cause, but suspected a chemical weapon.

“After a loud explosion [on Tuesday night], we received some patients with abnormal symptoms. They reported a bad smell which produced some kind of allergic reaction,” Omar said in a telephone interview that was periodically disrupted by heavy explosions.

Read more: Kurds fear Isis use of chemical weapon in Kobani | World news | The Guardian

Germany could be home to 7,000 Muslim extremists by Christmas

German authorities fear there could be as many as 7,000 Muslim extremists in the country by the end of the year. Disenfranchised youths are particularly vulnerable to being recruited, while there are around 450 German extremists in Syria and Iraq.

The extremists all follow the strict interpretation of Islam known as Salafism and believe that jihad is a legitimate tool in their fight against the West, which they believe is an enemy of Islam. Hans-Georg Maassen, who is the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency,told rbb-Inforadi that there are currently around 6,300 Islamic extremists in Germany, but this figure could rise to as many as 7,000 by the end of the year, AP reports.

There has been a steep rise in the number of Germans attracted to fundamentalist Islam. Three years ago there were only in the region of 3,800 followers of Salafism in the country, which then rose to 4,500 in 2012.
Speaking in late August in Berlin, Maassen said young Muslims are attracted to Islamic State (IS) because of its brutality.

The militant group has become infamous for beheading captives amongst other things. The German domestic intelligence chief also says the group formally known as ISIS, seems to be “more authentic” than Al-Qaeda.

Read More: Germany could be home to 7,000 Muslim extremists by Christmas — RT News


Middle East: IS prisoners reportedly executed by Kurds

"IS prisoners have been executed by Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq., said a Dutch citizen from Kurdish descent, Serdar Dosky, who is fighting with the Kurds against ISIS.  He told this to a Dutch TV reporter from the Nieuwsuur (Newshour) TV news station, when he thought the camera and mike had been turned off.

He said that wounded IS fighters were immediately excecuted . "A bullet costs only about about fifty cents he said. We just do not want to take any prisoners of war "

It was also reported that Kurdish fighters had completely destroyed the Arab city of Barzan.  Inhabitants of the village who escaped also reported Kurdish fighters gruesomely murdered many of the inhabitants as an act of revenge against IS..

The videos and pictures made by Nieuwsuur were submitted to Human Rights Watch and they have requested a full investigation.

Later in the day Dosky said his comments that were picked up were just a joke. "These kind of statements we often just make in anger about the horrors committed by IS," he said.

He also said that in reality there were no prisoners taken at all. .

Read more: original report in Dutch - PowNed : IS-gevangenen geëxecuteerd

The Environment: EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut

EU leaders have reached a landmark deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

The binding decision came after heated discussions at a summit in Brussels, as some members had argued that their varied interests should be protected.

Correspondents say the final deal is a compromise between countries that rely heavily on coal, and those willing to instil greater emissions cuts.

Environmental groups welcomed the deal, but said it did not go far enough.
The bloc also agreed to boost the use of renewable energy to 27% in the total energy mix and increase energy efficiency to at least 27%.

There were deep divisions within the EU on emissions cuts.

Poland, which is heavily reliant on coal, fears that the costs of decarbonising its economy will slow business growth. Its concerns at the summit were echoed by other central and east European members.

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said afterwards that some poorer EU members would get help - including additional funds - in reaching the agreed targets.

The UK also had opposed nationally binding targets for renewables - mainly wind, solar and hydroelectric power. It is embracing shale gas and nuclear as alternatives to the current over-reliance on oil and gas imports.

Note EU-Digest: Lets hope, China, India and US follow suit .....

Read more: BBC News - EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut


CO2 Emissions: EU Leaders Fight Over How to Spread Pain of Toughest CO2 Goals - by Ewa Krukowska

European Union leaders are wrangling over how to spread the pain as they close in on the most-ambitious climate goals of any major economy, part of a deal that will also boost the security of energy supplies amid a natural-gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Heads of government from the bloc’s 28 nations are discussing a binding target to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 at a summit in Brussels today, according to draft conclusions obtained by Bloomberg News. Meeting that goal would cost about 38 billion euros ($48 billion) a year, the EU has said. The current target is a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

“We’re aiming for the same effort in 10 years as we previously had in 30,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the gathering. “This is a formidable effort. That means the negotiations won’t be easy, because we also need to have our international competitiveness in mind.”

The question of how to share out the carbon cuts divides poorer, mostly ex-communist east European nations and richer countries in western Europe. France is also fighting calls from Spain and Portugal to build more gas and power connections across the Pyrenees while the U.K. resists German demands for binding targets on energy efficiency.

The agenda of the two-day meeting, the final one to be chaired by EU President Herman Van Rompuy, also features a debate on the European economy and on measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

Read more: EU Leaders Fight Over How to Spread Pain of Toughest CO2 Goals - Bloomberg

Denmark: : "Give them a job": how Denmark deals with returned Islamist fighters - by Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhenne

The rush of morning shoppers parted to make way for Talha, a lanky 21-year-old in desert camouflage and a long, religious beard. He strode through the local mall with a fighter's gait picked up on the battlefields of Syria. Streams of young Muslim men greeted him like a returning king.

n other countries, Talha - one of hundreds of young jihadists from the West who has fought in Syria and Iraq - might be barred from return or thrown in jail. But in Denmark, a country that has spawned more foreign fighters per capita than almost anywhere else, the port city of Aarhus is taking a novel approach by rolling out a welcome mat.

In Denmark, not one returned fighter has been locked up. Instead, taking the view that discrimination at home is as criminal as Islamic State recruiting, officials here are providing free psychological counselling while finding returnees jobs and spots in schools and universities. Officials credit a new effort to reach out to a radical mosque with staunching the flow of recruits.

Some progressives say Aarhus should become a model for other communities in the United States and Europe that are trying to cope with the question of what to do when the jihad generation comes back to town. In Australia, the federal government has tackled the issue by proposing laws that reverse the onus of proof for people returning from terrorism hot spots.

Note EU-Digest: Lets hear it for the Danes - after all as the saying goes - "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar"

Read more: Give them a job: how Denmark deals with returned Islamist fighters

Greece's Alpha Bank passes ECB stress tests - by George Georgiopoulous and Laura Noon

Greece's Alpha Bank has passed the European Central Bank's stress tests without requiring further capital, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One source said Alpha Bank had passed based on the 'static balance sheet', which takes no account of the bank's restructuring plan that was approved over the summer.

The other said Alpha Bank had no problems in the tests, without giving further detail. Alpha Bank declined to comment as the results are not due to be published until Sunday 1100 GMT.

Read more: Greece's Alpha Bank passes ECB stress tests - sources | Reuters

Britain: Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift - by Stephen Morris

Britain’s largest mortgage provider, will announce about 9,000 job cuts next week as its customers increasingly shift to online services from branches, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The bank will detail the cuts, a target for branch closures and the increasing automation of its services as part of a new three-year plan on Oct. 28, when it releases third-quarter results, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the strategy hasn’t been finalized.

Chief Executive Officer Antonio Horta-Osorio, 50, has been seeking ways to bolster earnings to help return Lloyds to full private ownership and resume dividends. The bank, which has about 88,000 full-time employees, has eliminated more than 37,000 jobs since its government bailout in 2008, with the latest plans shaping up as the biggest round of cuts since at least 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read more: Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift - Bloomberg

The Netherlands: Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years - by Catherine Neilan

While Dave Lewis is putting out one fire at his new employer Tesco, things back at Unilever are also looking less than rosy.

The consumer goods business, where Lewis had worked for 28 years before becoming Tesco chief executive, this morning reported its weakest rate of quarterly sales growth in five years.

Underlying sales grew just 2.1 per cent in the third quarter, compared with the 3.7 per cent growth experienced during the first half of the year – well below analyst expectations.

Unilever's share price dropped as much as 4.8 per cent this morning on the back of the news.

Paul Polman said market growth slowed in emerging countries “particularly in China”, while price deflation and a poor summer in Europe also hampered performance, despite an improvement in North America.
Read more: Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years | City A.M.