3:30 PM – Houston vs San Diego State
9:00 PM – Oklahoma State vs Colorado
2:00 PM – Stanford vs North Carolina
8:00 PM – Michigan vs Florida State
11:00 AM – LSU vs Louisville
3:00 PM – Washington vs Alabama
7:00 PM – Ohio State vs Clemson
1:00 PM – Western Michigan vs Wisconsin
5:00 PM – USC vs Penn State
8:30 PM – Auburn vs Oklahoma
8:30 PM – Washington or Alabama
vs. Ohio State or Clemson
……………And just so Gator Doug doesn’t bitch at me…
CLICK HERE TO VIEW ED’S NCAA FOOTBALL WEEK 1 PICKS – 10 BEST GAMES
Chilling Footage Shows Terrified Passengers Cowering Under Desks And Running For Their Lives After Suicide Bomb Blasts Rock Brussels Airport In Series Of Attacks That Killed 34 Across The City – Daily Mail
Cowering under desks and running for their lives, this is the terrifying moment passengers were caught up in a suicide bomb attack at Brussels Airport today in a series of blasts that have killed at least 34 people and injured 170 across the city.
Witnesses described apocalyptic scenes with blood and ‘dismembered bodies everywhere’ after two blasts rocked the terminal at around 8am (7am GMT), killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens of others.
Then 79 minutes later at 9.19am, at least 20 people were killed and scores injured, some critically, when a blast hit a Metro station just 400 metres from the EU headquarters in the city centre.
At the airport, there were reports of a firefight between police and the attackers who shouted in Arabic moments before detonating their bombs, one of which was understood to contain nails.
An unexploded suicide vest was later found in the rubble and a Kalashnikov rifle beside the body of a dead terrorist.
The blasts, which detonated near a Starbucks and several check-in desks, sent shockwaves through the terminal building, shattering windows and knocking roof tiles off the ceiling as terrified passengers ran for their lives.
The explosions, coming just four months after the Paris attacks, have left countries around the world reeling, with security services placed on high alert, flights cancelled, Eurostar services suspended and France’s border with Belgium shut down.
Two suspects were arrested a mile from the Maelbeek metro station at around 11am as hundreds of troops and police flooded the streets of Brussels in the hunt for members of the terror cell.
Soldiers have been also been deployed at the airport and other key locations across the capital.
The Tihange nuclear power plant, around 90km from the capital, is being evacuated of all non-essential staff as Belgium raised security to its maximum level.
The bombings come just a day after the Belgium Interior Minister warned of possible revenge attacks after the arrest of Paris massacre suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city on Friday.
Yesterday, a secret police dossier also revealed there could be up to 90 ‘kamikazes’ waiting to launch suicide bomb attacks in Europe after returning from Syria disguised as migrants.
Speaking today, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said: ‘What we feared has happened.
‘In this time of tragedy, this black moment for our country, I appeal to everyone to remain calm but also to show solidarity.’
Terror gripped the airport at around 7am local time (8am GMT) as passengers checked in their bags and prepared to board flights.
Photographs from inside the arrivals hall showed the floor covered in fallen tiles and dust as bloodied people hobbled out of the airport. Others injured were photographed lying on the floor.
Video showed terrified passengers running for their lives out of the building.
Firefighters who entered the terminal to search for survivors are said to have found a third unexploded device, while armed police in protective clothing combed the building for more wounded travellers and suspicious bags.
The British Foreign Office today confirmed one Briton was injured in the explosions, while three American missionaries from Utah are believed to have been seriously hurt.
A Belgian TV station is reporting that at least one of the bombs at the Brussels airport contained nails.
Broadcaster VTM interviewed Marc Decramer of the Gasthuisberg hospital in Leuven, who says the hospital is treating 11 people with serious injuries, three of them in critical condition.
Decramer says the wounded have fractures and deep cuts caused by flying glass and nails.
Samir Derrouich, who works at a restaurant in the airport, told MailOnline: ‘The two explosions were almost simultaneous.
‘They were both at a check-in desk. One was close to the Starbucks. It was awful. There was just blood. It was like the apocalypse.’
Dries Valaert, 30, was waiting to get his boarding pass from a check in desk when the blast struck.
He said: ‘There was a first blast and then ten seconds later a second explosion. It was a big, big blast, the ceiling went down. It was just 30 metres from where I was.
‘I saw people down on the ground and I just went running. I jumped over the security fences towards the departure gates as I thought it would be safer.
‘My first intuition was to get out in case their were attackers with guns. I saw a woman around 18 years old with a hole in her hand with blood pouring out and a man with an injured ankle and two people down. There was lots of panic. People were running all over the place.’
Mr Valaert, who was flying to a business meeting in Berlin, said he believed the bombs were hidden in suitcases that had just been checked in.
He said: ‘The explosions were just behind the service desks, they were blown towards us. To me it is the most realistic possibility. I don’t think it was someone with a suicide vest.’
Alphonse Youla, who was working on a stand putting security wrapping around suitcases, said: ‘I heard a man shout some Arabic words then an explosion… then a second explosion, a massive explosion, much bigger.’
Speaking with blood on his hands and struggling to hold back tears, he added: ‘It was a horror. I saw at least seven people dead. There was blood. People had lost legs. You could see there bodies but no legs.’
He added: ‘I saw two men face down with blood pouring out of their heads. The injuries were so awful. You cannot imagine. People were so injured.
‘I did not see the man who shouted in Arabic as he was behind me. I just heard the words. I don’t speak Arabic so I don’t know what he said.’
In the aftermath, thousands of people waiting for flights this morning were penned inside the terminal as police sealed off the shattered arrivals hall.
People already checked in were then slowly evacuated through emergency exits – but were told to leave all their hand luggage as police checked bags for more explosives.
Evacuated passengers are being ferried onto buses and are being driven to a ‘crisis centre’ away from the airport, with women and children being moved first.
All flights are being diverted from the airport this morning as it remains on lockdown.
Flights due to land at Brussels-Zaventem, which handles 21million passengers a year, were sent to Antwerp, Liege, and Brussels Charleroi airports.
Europe’s biggest airports are all increasing their security today. Heathrow confirmed it had stepped up its own ‘visible’ security in the wake of the attacks – with large units of armed police patrolling the airport this morning.
American Airlines confirmed that its planned flight from Brussels to Philadelphia in the US, which had been scheduled to depart at 9.40am had been cancelled in the wake of the blasts.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident at the Brussels airport departure hall and are taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. At this time, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries.
‘American Airlines flight 751 has been cancelled for today. When operations at the airport resume, we will re-accommodate our customers.’
Brussels Airport has announced it will be closed until at least Wednesday following two explosions in the departure hall.
Terrorists then blew up a crowded Metro station in the city centre at around 9.19am, killing at least 10 people and seriously injuring dozens more.
Shocking images from Maelbeek station show smoke pouring out of the building and casualties littered on the pavement outside, just 400metres from the EU’s headquarters.
Commuters on the Metro at the time described hearing a loud bang before they were evacuated from trains and forced to walk down smoke-filled tunnels and along the track to the closest safe station.
Emergency services at the scene were carrying the dead and injured out of the station on stretchers.
Alexandre Brans, 32, who was wiping blood from his face, said: ‘The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.’
Brussels resident Shigeo Sugimoto said he was one stop away from where the metro was hit and heard people shouting.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘I am fine !! But I was in the metro when suddenly some one start shouting explosions!!! Evacuation!!!
‘Ouch!!! I was just one station ahead before when explosion happened!!!!!!!!’
He posted pictures showing cars and people standing in the road and wrote: ‘Maerbeek (sic) now apocalypse!!!’
Mr Sugimoto said he saw a man with blood on his face in the vicinity of Maelbeek station in the EU quarter, near the European Commission’s main building.
He was at Arts-Loi station, one ahead of Maelbeek, and told the Press Association: ‘On the ground, there were already people walking every direction to distance (themselves) from metro and the Belgian army were there trying to make people calm.
‘I saw a guy, blood over his face, dragged by another person. Then police start blocking the street and I could only see ambulances go and come.’
Evan Lamos was among the thousands of commuters on tube trains this morning when the network was attacked.
He was on two stops away from Maelbeek and the passengers on his train were evacuated from the carriages into a smoke-filled tunnel and then walked along the tracks to the exit at the nearest station.
He said: ‘There was a dull thud. We felt a blast of air and my ears popped shortly afterwards. The Metro stopped immediately’.
The Belgian Interior Minister has raised the country’s security level to ‘maximum’ as it prepares itself for more terror attacks in the wake of the airport bombings.
Armed police have already arrested three suspects in the hours after the attacks and already have CCTV of one of the Brussels airport bombers including the moment he detonated his suicide belt, MailOnline can reveal.
Every space in the city’s airport is covered by four CCTV cameras and Maelbeek station’s surveillance network is also being used to pinpoint the moment that 20 people were murdered and 55 were maimed 79 minutes later.
Two men were detained by armed police at the North Station around a miles from the Maelbeek subway.
A third man has been arrested on a train near Amsterdam and a suspect package at Gard du Nord in Paris delayed Eurostar services this afternoon.
But the Belgian Foreign Ministry has confirmed they believe some of the terrorists involved are ‘still at large’.
Police and special forces are looking for known members of any terror cell who may be planning more attacks.
They will also round up anyone who may pose a threat to the public, or acting suspiciously, in an attempt to foil any more attacks.
Special forces are also patrolling the streets in case of more bombings or marauding gunmen used to kill 131 people in at least five Paris attacks in November 13 last year.
Britain and United States will already be playing a key role in trying to help the Belgian authorities work out who was behind the attacks.
Both MI5 and the CIA have stations in Brussels and its teams have ‘unique expertise’ that will help trace those behind the bombings.
The National Crime Agency, Britain’s FBI, will also be in the city already because of the heightened terror threat.
British Prime Minister David Cameron offered his support to victims and called a COBRA emergency committee meeting to address the events in Brussels.
He tweeted: ‘I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels. We will do everything we can to help.
‘I will be chairing a COBRA meeting on the events in Brussels later this morning.’
U.S. President Barack Obama said: ‘The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people in Belgium.
‘We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.
‘We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium to bring to justice those who are responsible.
‘This is just another example that the world must unite; we must be together regardless of nationality, or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.
‘We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.’
Tech specialists will be scanning the phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, GPS records and forums known to be used by terrorists – and tracing links to Britain and America.
The explosions came as the Belgian capital was on a state of high alert following the arrest of Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week.
Belgium’s Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, said the country was on high alert for a possible revenge attack following the capture of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam in a flat in Brussels on Friday.
‘We know that stopping one cell can… push others into action. We are aware of it in this case,’ he told public radio.
France is seeking Abdeslam’s extradition so he can stand trial for his alleged role in the November 13 rampage of gunfire and suicide bombings that killed 130 people in Paris.
After the Paris attacks, security forces searched far and wide for Abdeslam, who vanished after returning to Brussels, believing ISIS could have spirited him away to Turkey, Syria or Morocco.
But it appears Europe’s most wanted man never left the Belgian capital.
And it was family, friends and petty criminals who helped him evade a manhunt for four months before he was arrested on Friday in the neighbourhood he grew up in, not far from his family home or the district’s police headquarters.
Abdeslam relied on two friends to drive him back to Brussels after his brother Brahim blew himself up at a Paris cafe. Others drove him around Molenbeek and its environs between safe houses.
Police, who were eventually able to move in to seize him at a house in the rundown North African neighbourhood of Molenbeek, have charged a man and a women whom they suspect of being part of a family who harboured the fugitive.
It is understood that intelligence services located the fugitive’s hideout after listening in on phone conversations at the funeral of his brother, Brahim Abdeslam, who blew himself up in the Paris attacks.
One mourner is thought to have let slip vital information which allowed police to close the net around Abdeslam in Molenbeek.
They finally snared him after they noticed a large number of pizzas being delivered to a flat they had under surveillance – too many for the number of people who should have been in the apartment.
He was interviewed three times on Saturday, the day after his capture – once by prosecutors and twice by an investigating judge – and ‘wasn’t in great shape’ because he had been shot in the leg by police during his capture, Mr Van Leeuw said.
Abdeslam has a court hearing on Wednesday. France has requested his extradition but Abdeslam’s lawyer says his client will fight the request.
Police are also hunting a newly-identified ISIS suspect whose DNA was found on bombs used in the Paris terror attacks.
The accomplice was named today as Najim Laachraoui, a militant previously known by the pseudonym Soufiane Kayal which he used to rent a flat where the massacre was planned.
He left for Syria in 2013 before returning to Europe last year and travelled around the Continent with logistics chief Salah Abdeslam and another senior member of the cell in the days before the attacks.
Prosecutors revealed traces of the 24-year-old’s DNA were found on explosives at the scene of the suicide bomb attacks, suggesting he could be a bomb maker or armourer.
The announcement came as a secret police dossier revealed there could be up to 90 ‘kamikazes’ waiting to launch suicide bomb attacks in Europe after returning from Syria disguised as migrants.
The report also lifted the lid on just how shocked security chiefs were by the scale and complexity of the ISIS operation that killed 130 people in the French capital last November.
Investigators were caught off-guard by how skilled the attackers were in a range of tactics such as using co-ordinated strikes at multiple locations to place the greatest strain on emergency services.
The sophistication of the explosives used by the cell’s suicide bombers also surprised officials.
Experts say that could only have been achieved with the help of an, as yet unidentified, bomb maker in an, as yet undiscovered, bomb factory.
The findings were revealed in a 55-page report compiled in the weeks after the attack by the anti-terrorism police for France’s interior ministry, which has been obtained by the New York Times.
The document, along with hundreds of pages of interrogation and court records, suggests there are still questions about how many others were involved in the attacks.
There are already 20 people being held in six countries on suspicion of assisting the attackers, but officials are identifying other accomplices at large almost on a weekly basis.
The suspected mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a raid days after the attacks, is said to have bragged about how he was one of 90 terrorists who had gone to ground in Europe until called upon to strike.
The police said the friend had told them: ‘Abaaoud clearly presented himself as the commander of these 90 kamikazes-in-waiting and that he had come directly to France to avoid the failures they had experienced in the past.’
Officials also don’t know how many bomb-makers were sent to Europe after being trained in Syria or the exact encryption technology that allowed the ISIS death squad to evade detection for three months leading up to the attacks when they were planned the atrocity.
French police began to understand the level of expertise used when they found traces of the same bomb ingredients at each of the places where the suicide vest went off: three times at the Stade de France Stadium, once at the Comptoir Voltaire bistro and twice inside the Bataclan concert hall.
The peroxide-based explosive, known as triacetone triperoxide or TATP can easily be made with everyday products such as bleach or nail polish remover which is why it has become increasingly become the terror group’s explosive of choice.
However, it is difficult to create a stable bomb and equally as tricky to detonate it, suggesting the group had developed their skills over the last two years, the report said.
Until then, they did not believe ISIS was capable of pulling off such a co-ordinated attack.
Dr Natasha Underhill, an expert on terrorism in the Middle East at Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘This was no doubt a warning strike to European leaders and there may be more to come.
‘The group has time and time again issued statements that it will have no mercy in targeting those who are supporting the US and who are fighting against the group.
‘The likelihood of further attacks in Europe is now in very little doubt. The promotion of fear is one of the strongest assets that Islamic State possesses and it is sadly doing an excellent job in spreading this message across Europe.
‘Strong responses and a unified reaction by European leaders and their allies needs to take place. However, care needs to be taken in terms of not overreacting to these events and responding in the most strategic and effective way against this growing threat.’
FLASHBACK – January, 2016: Donald Trump Says Muslim Immigration Has Turned Brussels Into A Hellhole
This sinister looking craft might resemble Darth Vader’s imperial shuttle in Star Wars but it is actually a high-speed boat that uses its clever design to reduce the risk of seasickness.
The vessel, called Ghost, uses two 12ft (3.6 metre) winged struts that stand on twin hulls to lift the main craft clear out of the water.
This allows the Ghost to reach speeds of 33 knots (38 mph/61km/h) even when faced with waves of 8ft (2.4 metre) high.
Ghost was developed by US-based Juliet Marine Systems, founded by entrepeneur Greg Sancoff.
‘Ghost is a reconfigurable high-speed small waterplane area twin hull (SWATH) vessel that delivers significant advantages over alternative vessels in this size class,’ according to the company’s website.
It uses a supercavitation effect to reduce the ship’s drag coefficient by a factor of 900.
The 38-foot (11.5m) long main cabin rests on top of a pair of 12-foot (3.6m) tall struts which, when moving at speed, prop the cabin above the water like a hydrofoil.
The struts swivel at their base, allowing them to be raised and lowered depending on the water depth.
While parked, or traveling through shallow waters, they can be extended to the side.
In deeper waters, at speeds of eight knots or higher, they can rotate downward to lift the hull into the air, eliminating the jarring impact of waves.
They’re sharpened along the leading edge as well to slice through submerged debris.
At the other end of each strut, a 62-foot (18.8m) long tube houses a 2,000HP gas turbine engine spinning two front-mounted propellers.
These tubes also eject a pocket of air from the front to generate a supercavitation effect that reduces the ship’s drag coefficient by a factor of 900.
‘It’s a revolutionary program,’ said Greg Sancoff, founder and CEO of Juliet Marine Systems.
‘Nothing like this has ever been built by anybody, not even the Navy.’
The Ghost rides on 12-foot (3.6m) struts connected to engine assemblies Sancoff says take advantage of ‘supercavitation,’ traveling underwater inside a bubble of gas.
It is a new application of technology that the inventor insists will make Ghost fast.
It has so far hit about 38mph (61km/h) but its creator believes it could approach 60mph (97 km/h), while staying stable even in rough seas.
It was announced in December last year that the company will be working with Karmel Technologies, Inc. to bring the Ghost technology to Korea.
One of these ships would set you back about $10 million (£6.9 million) according to the company website.
‘A squadron of ten stealth Ghosts, carrying torpedos, missiles or cannons, would wreak havoc on any enemy,’ it says.
Business Insider named the vessel one of the top 19 most game-changing weapons of the 21st century at the end of last year.
H/T Gateway Pundit
THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!
THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!
THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!
Multiple buildings, including a residential tower, have collapsed after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early on Saturday. Authorities in the affected city have formed an emergency response center.
A building has half collapsed in Tainan as a result of the quake, with fire brigades now on their way to the site, Liu Shih-chung, Tainan City Government official, told Reuters.
The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 6.7.
The epicenter of the quake was located at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), some 19 miles (31 km) east-southeast of Tainan, the USGS said.
There have so far been no reports about casualties or the destruction caused by the disaster. But the quake has been described as “enormous” and “a big one” on social media.
Local authorities in Tainan have said that they have formed an emergency response center following the quake.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau also measured a second quake of 4.3 magnitude in Tainan, Reuters reported.
The USGS has warned that a magnitude 6.4 earthquake is capable of causing “severe damage.”
One 38-year-old pedestrian has died after a construction crane collapsed in lower Manhattan at 8:24am, leaving at least 15 more injured, authorities said.
The crane, at 57 Worth Street between Church Street and West Broadway in Tribeca, was swinging a wrecking ball when it fell between 15 and 18 stories, clipping buildings as it fell on at a line of parked cars.
One victim, who was trapped in a vehicle, has been rescued, authorities say. At least two are seriously injured,and three have been taken to Bellevue Hospital Center.
It is unclear why the crane fell, but a permit was issued for it to move generators and air conditioning equipment at the former Wester Union building at 60 Hudson Street.
The crane was parked on Worth Street, and the incident occurred as the crane was being lowered in order to secure it during the snowy and windy conditions.
Officials had already directed people away from the area as they were lowering the crane.
Mayor Bill deBlasio said it was a sad situation, but added: ‘Thank God it was not any worse. It’s something of a miracle that there wasn’t more impact.’
The NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association was across the street, and members of the union rushed out, making them the first on the scene.
Vice President Bob Ganley of the association said: ‘It was surreal. It was like a war zone when it first happened.’
One witness told ABC7: ‘I could hear the bending of metal. I think it hit the side of the building.
‘I didn’t know what was happening because it was happening so fast.’
CBS Local reported another witness said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. The other day, I was just thinking I hope this doesn’t fall and then it happened. It bounced off two buildings and crushed every single car on that block.’
Other witnesses said the collapse ‘felt like a bomb’ or an earthquake.
The cab of the crane can be seen completely flipped over on Worth Street as ambulances and firefighters are on the scene
The stability of nearby buildings is being checked since the collapse may have affected a water and gas main.
ConEdison is on the scene, since a gas odor was detected at 57 Worth Street, authorities say.
Subways are bypassing the Franklin Street and Chambers Street stops. Buses and traffic are bypassing the area, with officials advising drivers to avoid roads south of Canal Street.
Mayor deBlasio will be arriving to hold a press conference.
The crane has ‘Bay Crane’ listed on the side. It is a crawler crane mounted on caterpillar tracks and not a tower crane. Authorities say the crane was revewed yesterday morning and approved.
Three people have been taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, two of them are in serious condition.
DeBlasio added it would take at least several days to get things in the immediate area ‘back to normal’.
This is the first crane collapse in the city since 2008.
It has now been confirmed – The photograph of Ted Cruz campaign shaming letters is legit (see below). The letters are officially from the Ted Cruz campaign.
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler confirmed to IJ Review that the mailer was theirs in a phone call Friday evening, saying that the targeting had been “very narrow, but the caucuses are important and we want people who haven’t voted before to vote.” (link)
The personalized letters target individual Iowa voters and identifies them as having failed to vote in prior elections. They are admonished and then encouraged to vote this year. In addition the letters identify the neighbors of the voter, and provides their voting history.
The text reads:
“You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses”.
In an effort to shame the recipient, the notice also informs the targeted voter their neighbors have also been notified of the recipients poor voting record.
How the Cruz Team would think a public shaming campaign is a good idea is just staggeringly unbelievable.
The campaign scheme was exposed via Twitter where “Tom Hinkeldy, a resident of Alta, Iowa, tweeted a photo (which was later deleted because it included his personal address) on Friday evening of a mailer Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign sent addressed to his wife, Steffany” – link –
Word spread rapidly.
10:30 PM – 29 Jan 2016
The first name on the mailer list matches the name on the envelope at the top of the page. The envelope also has a returned address as “Paid for by Cruz for President”, the official campaign name of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign (not a super-pac):
Another Iowan, Braddock Massey, tweeted a photo of the mailer he received:
This has the very real potential to be a massive fail and seriously backfire against the Ted Cruz campaign. He might have just given Marco Rubio a considerable gift with the Iowa election only two days away.
From the candidate who prefers to keep his own records, well,… sealed.
UPDATE 5:00am: It looks like Howie might have found the trail, via a professor in Northern Iowa named Christopher Larimer. Describing a previous stunt like this in Alaska. As outlined in a 2014 PBS article:
[…] “Why would they think that shaming would make people comply?”
Because, well, it does. That’s according to Chris Larimer, associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa. And he’s done the research to prove it.
“We found that when you make people aware of the norm of voting and that somebody else is going to observe whether or not you vote, people are more likely then to vote,” he said.
The letter from the so-called Alaska State Voter Project is nearly identical, word for word, to one that Larimer and other researchers tested in Michigan, right down to the typography and punctuation. In that 2006 research, Larimer and colleagues sent voters one of four different letters.
The softest message just urged people to do their civic duty and vote. The most aggressive letter matched the Alaska mailer. It included the addressee’s voting history as well as those of their neighbors, and contained something of a threat by promising a follow-up letter to show the results of the upcoming election.
Larimer says they got complaints, but the technique worked quite well. (read more)
That emboldened segment describes the current Cruz Campaign mailer 100%. Also, Chris Larimer is noted in this recent Texas Tribune article about the controversial debate:
[…] For Cruz, the No. 2 candidate in many polls, Trump’s snub could make him the center of action at the Iowa Events Center, a role that comes with both risks and rewards.
“If Trump’s not there, it affects the strategy other candidates take toward Cruz,” said Christopher Larimer, a political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa. “Do they treat Cruz like the frontrunner, or do they talk about Trump?”
At the same time, Larimer added, the debate could be a “lost opportunity” for Cruz to challenge Trump on his conservative credentials in what’s likely their last meeting before the caucuses. (read more)
Looks like another one of those ever brilliant political consultant types sold the Cruz campaign on a version of their already extensive “psychographic analytics“. Wouldn’t be surprised if billionaire Phd Robert Mercer, via Cambridge Analytica targeting – isn’t involved in the engineering of this too.
UPDATE: Chris Larimer distances himself from this fiasco via the Washington Post:
The blogosphere rumor is completely false. I do NOT work for the Cruz (or any) campaign and have absolutely nothing to do with mailings.
2:13 PM – 30 Jan 2016
[…] “As a researcher who has done randomized field experiments with get out the vote mailings,” Larimer wrote in an email, “what I can say is that mailings that call attention to an individual’s vote history as well as that of their neighbors’ have been shown to be effective in terms of significantly increasing voter turnout. We draw on norm compliance theory which suggests that publicizing behavior regarding a social norm increases the likelihood of norm compliance.”
That was if the ad was crafted in a smart way. “The Cruz mailing is more negative than anything we have done and has the potential to elicit a negative response or what psychologists call ‘reactance’ or ‘boomerang effect,’” warned Larimer. “The mailing also states that a ‘follow up notice’ will be sent following the caucuses on Monday. This is not possible as caucus turnout is private and maintained by the parties.” (link)
Hundreds of anti-refugee rioters have gone on the rampage in the German city of Leipzig after a demonstration where they called for asylum seekers to be deported and their nation’s borders closed.
The attacks come just hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that Europe had lost control of the crisis. The right-wingers broke away from a largely peaceful march in the eastern city to trash the suburb of Connewitz.
Doner kebab fast food stalls were destroyed, cars set ablaze and shop windows smashed by around 250 hooligans of LEGIDA – the local branch of PEGIDA, the anti-migrant, anti-EU organization which marched against the refugees earlier in the evening.
At one point the demonstrators, who threw fireworks at police, attempted to build a barricade in a main street with signs and torn up paving stones before they were dispersed.
Firemen had to tackle a blaze in the attic of one building set alight by a wayward rocket fired by the rioters. A bus carrying leftist pro-asylum demonstrators was also attacked and seriously damaged.
Police said they have identified and arrested 211 of the crowd of right-wing hooligans, many of them with criminal records for violence.
‘This was a serious breach of the peace,’ said a police spokesman, confirming that several police officers were injured in the clashes triggered by simmering anger over the New Year’s Eve mass sex attacks against women in Cologne and several other German cities.
‘Rape Refugees stay away’ was one of the banners carried during the march, the wording above a silhouette of women running from knife-wielding attackers, one of whom resembled a caricature from Aladdin.
Earlier in the day Mrs. Merkel said; ‘Now all of a sudden we are facing the challenge that refugees are coming to Europe and we are vulnerable, as we see, because we do not yet have the order, the control, that we would like to have.’
She also said the euro was ‘directly linked’ to freedom of movement in Europe, adding: ‘Nobody should act as though you can have a common currency without being able to cross borders reasonably easily.’
Merkel said that if countries did not allow their borders to be crossed without much difficulty, the European single market would ‘suffer acutely’ – meaning that Germany, at the centre of the European Union and its largest economy, should fight to defend freedom of movement.
The EU has struggled to cope with a tide of refugees from war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, most of whom have landed in Greece or Italy before heading for wealthier northern EU states.
Germany has taken in the bulk of them, more than a million last year alone.
Some EU countries have re-established border controls within the passport-free Schengen zone, where they had been abolished, while efforts to share out the asylum-seekers across EU member states have floundered.
Merkel said that, to preserve the Schengen zone within the EU, it was necessary to make the bloc’s external borders more secure.
The violence in Leipzig followed on from weekend attacks in Cologne by a vigiliante mob which used the social networking site Facebook to marshall young men – rockers, bodybuilders and club bouncers – to go on a ‘manhunt’ for immigrants.
Two Pakistani men were hospitalized and a third Syrian man was lightly injured before a stiff police presence on the streets thwarted further attacks.
It is unclear what their condition is although the police are looking to press charges of ‘serious bodily harm’ against their attackers who kicked, beat and abused them verbally.
The Express said the Facebook vigilante groups had promised an ‘orderly clean up’ of the old town centre in their ‘manhunt.’
Police confirmed one Syrian man was also hurt in an attack on Sunday, which took place just 20 minutes after the first, but is believed to have been carried out by a separate group of five men.
German police say the number of criminal complaints filed after the events on New Year’s Eve in Cologne has risen to 516 – 40 per cent relating to allegations of sexual assault.
Germany’s FBI, the Federal Criminal Office, said it had information that the surrounding and sexual molestation of women was a ‘familiar phenomenon in some Arab countries.’ Now it is liaising with police in all 16 states of Germany to formulate a strategy on how to combat it in future on German streets.
The minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state where Cologne is located, admitted that people of foreign descent were responsible for virtually all of the violence on New Year’s Eve in the city.
‘Based on testimony from witnesses, the report from the Cologne police and descriptions by the federal police, it looks as if people with a migration background were almost exclusively responsible for the criminal acts,’ Ralf Jaeger, interior minister from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia told a special commission on the Cologne violence.
‘All signs point to these being north Africans and people from the Arab world,’ he added. ‘Based on what we know now from the investigation, asylum seekers who arrived in the past year are among the suspects.’
Cologne has a significant first and second generation immigrant population and racial tension has heightened in the wake of New Years Eve.
The city, which has a population of just over one million, has more than 120,000 practicing Muslim residents and the largest Jewish communities in Germany. Just over 5.5 per cent are born in Turkey.
Over the past week, the police presence in the city has been heightened, but many called the efforts ‘too little too late’, questioning why officers had not been able to stop the attacks.
On Monday, a regional parliamentary commission in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, whose largest city is Cologne, will question police and others about the events on New Year’s Eve.
The attacks on women in Cologne have also sparked a debate about tougher rules for migrants who break the law, faster deportation procedures and increased security measures such as more video surveillance in public areas and more police.
A gunman ambushed 33-year old Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett on Thursday night. His attacker is in custody and claims it was an attempted “execution” in the name of Islam.
CBS News in Philadelphia reports Hartnett was sitting in his patrol car at around 11:30 PM when the attacker fired 13 shots through the driver’s side window at point-blank range. The CBS report describes the shooter as walking toward the police car while he fired. Three of the shots struck Hartnett’s arm. His injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.
“Shots fired! I’m shot! I’m bleeding heavily!” Hartnett called out on police radio, as can be heard in the CBS report:
Hartnett was able to return fire, and hit the as-yet unnamed suspect three times. Other offices swiftly caught the wounded assailant while attempting to flee the scene, and he has made a full confession, according to CBS. The confession reportedly describes Islam as part of the motive for the attack.
Police also recovered his weapon. The New York Daily News identifies it as a 9mm handgun.
Commissioner Ross said there is video of the entire attack. “This is absolutely one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” he declared. “I mean, this guy tried to execute the police officer. The officer had no idea he was coming. It’s amazing he’s alive.”
The shooter is described as a male in his 30s. According to a news description of the surveillance video, he was wearing a “long white frock and black pants” as he approached the police cruiser with his gun drawn. The current condition of the shooter has not been disclosed at the time of this writing.
Ross said Hartnett suffered “significant damage” to his arm, including nerve damage, but is awake and coherent. According to the New York Daily News, he underwent surgery early Friday at Presbyterian Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
NJ.com cites Officer Hartnett’s social media profiles to describe him as a native of East Landsdowne, Pennsylvania, who attended Delaware County Community College, served in the U.S. Coast Guard for over a decade, and then became a four-year veteran of the police force.
CBS News reported late Friday morning that the FBI has become involved in the investigation.
Update, 11:05 AM EST: ABC News has published images of the attacker, from the surveillance video:
Update, 11:15 AM EST: Philly.com reports the shooter has been identified as Edward Archer, 30, of Yeadon.
Update, 1:15 PM: According to Commissioner Ross, the attacker pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Also, the gun used in the attack was reportedly stolen, which will be bad news for those who were frantically looking for a way to fold the incident into their gun-control narratives.
Update, 1:45 PM: Philly.com has some more details about Edward Archer, courtesy of his mother:
Reached at her home in Lansdowne, his mother, Valerie Holliday, said Archer was the eldest of seven children and suffered head injuries from playing football and a moped accident.
“He’s been acting kind of strange lately. He’s been talking to himself… laughing and mumbling,” Holliday said. “He’s been hearing voices in his head. We asked him to get medical help.”
She said her son is devout Muslim who has practiced the faith “for a long time.”
“He’s going through a lot lately,” Holliday said, adding Archer believed he was targeted by police.
There are some good reasons the police might have “targeted” Edward:
Archer was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in a Delaware County case, according to court records. He was found guilty in a November nonjury trial of forging documents, careless driving, driving with a suspended or revoked license and other related offenses.
In Philadelphia, he was sentenced in March to nine to 23 months in jail and two years probation in an assault case. He was charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy, firearms offenses and terroristic threats for a January 2012 incident but pleaded guilty to simple assault.
Here’s a thought: maybe we should put more effort into enforcing existing laws, rather than passing a boatload of new ones. Of course, the existing laws involve difficult duties such as catching and imprisoning violent criminals, and protecting the nation from terrorist threats – both of which are pursuits that often infuriate the cult of political correctness.
It’s much easier to pass new laws that either do nothing of substance, or involve pushing around decent law-abiding taxpayers. Telling a rape victim she shouldn’t have a gun to defend herself is far easier than keeping someone imprisoned for assault.
Philly.com also tells us a bit more about the wounded Officer Jesse Hartnett, hailed as a “true hero” by fellow officers. He actually got out of his car and pursued the suspect on foot, after getting sprayed with 13 bullets and taking three hits in the arm. His father Robert described Hartnett as “a very quality young man.” On that, I think we can all agree.
‘Bring Your Guns And Come’: Militiamen Including Cliven Bundy’s Three Sons Take Over Oregon Federal Building And Call ‘U.S. Patriots’ To Arms In Protest At Pending Imprisonment Of Two Ranchers – Daily Mail
A group of militiamen on Saturday occupied the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in support of two brothers who are slated to report to prison on Monday on arson charges – and the protesters don’t plan on leaving any time soon, saying it’s ‘kill or be killed’ time.
Militia members claimed to have as many as 150 supporters with them at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge building in Princeton, which is federal property managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that was closed for the holiday weekend.
They later rescinded the number and said they would not disclose how many people were in the building, because of ‘operational security’. Local reporters have said that there only appears to be a dozen cars outside of the building.
‘We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,’ Ammon Bundy, one of the occupiers, told the Oregonian via telephone. ‘This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.’
Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, who is another occupier, are the sons of of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.
The occupation came shortly after 300 marchers paraded through Burns, Oregon, about 50 miles away, to protest at the prosecution of father and son Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr and Steven Hammond, who were ordered returned to prison by a federal court which ruled their original sentences were insufficient.
The group is demanding that the Hammonds be released and that the federal government give up control of the Malheur National Forest.
Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.
The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time – the father three months, the son one year.
But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.
Ammon Bundy, an Idaho militia leader, said that while the occupiers were not looking to hurt anyone, they would not rule out violence if police tried to remove them, the Oregonian reported.
Bundy’s brother Ryan Bundy, who is also an occupier, told the Oregonian that they’re ‘willing to kill and be killed’ if necessary, adding that the federal officials’ actions have been ‘in violation of the constitution’.
‘The best possible outcome is that the ranchers that have been kicked out of the area, then they will come back and reclaim their land, and the wildlife refuge will be shut down forever and the federal government will relinquish such control,’ Ryan Bundy told the Oregonian.
He added: ‘What we’re doing is not rebellious. What we’re doing is in accordance with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.’
The brothers said, however, that their real goal is to simply start a movement. It is unknown what types of weapons are now at the refuge building, but there are no hostages in the area.
‘The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,’ told the Oregonian.
Ammon Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for people to come help him. Below the video is this statement: “(asterisk)(asterisk)ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.”
Ammon Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely.
‘The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,’ the Oregonian quoted Ammon Bundy as saying.
‘This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute,’ he added, calling on other militiamen to join them.
The Bundys are the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. The Bundy family ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, some 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, was the site of an armed protest against the US Bureau of Land Management in April 2014.
The stand-off gained nationwide attention as the agency sought to seize cattle because the elder Bundy refused to pay grazing fees.
The federal agents ultimately backed down, citing safety concerns, and gave back hundreds of Bundy cattle which they had rounded up.
In a video posted to Facebook by Sarah Dee Spurlock, two men – one donning camouflage gear – explain why they are taking the measures they are.
‘This will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come to be housed and live here. We’re planning on staying here for several years, the first man said.
He added: ‘One time [Harney County] were the wealthiest county, now they’re the poorest, and we will reverse that in just a few years by freeing up their land and resources.
‘And we’re doing this for the people. We’re doing this so the people can have their land and their resources back where they belong.’
He appealed to the public for people to join the group in Oregon.
‘We’re calling people out here to come and stand. We need you to bring your arms and we need you to come to the Malheur National Wildlife refuge,’ he said.
The second man, dressed in camouflage gear, said the group is challenging the government.
‘Until that line is drawn to say “We’ve had enough of this tyranny, you are going to leave us alone”, it will not change,’ he said. ‘This is the power of America right here.
‘People got together for this and it doesn’t have to stop here. This could be a hope that spreads through the whole country.
‘Everybody’s looking for this hope because the government has beat us, oppressed us and took everything from us. They will not stop until we tell them no.’
In another video, Jon Ritzheimer, a Phoenix-based anti-Islam activist and militiaman, says goodbye to his family, suggesting he plans to occupy the federal lands as well.
‘The oppression and the tyranny that’s taken place in Oregon – we know it’s taken place all across the US – the Bundy Ranch was prime example. And we the people need to take a stand,’ he said in the 13-minute video.
He goes on a lengthy rant about the legal system and how it treated the Hammond family.
‘They are not terrorists… This oppressive, tyrannical government who really has no jurisdiction here – this is Hardy County’s land,’ he said.
He added: ‘The Hammonds were not tried by a jury of their peers. There’s an indictment with no signatures on it.
‘This is a cruel and unusual punishment. But this federal government comes in here and says no, that’s not enough, they need to do a minimum of five years.’
Ritzenheimer then makes a call to arms.
He said: ‘It’s real simple, Dwight. Do you want to die in prison labeled a terrorist by these oppressors or do you want to die out here with us as a free man? I want to die a free man.’
‘If you do not spearhead this and take a stand, it’s going to set a new precedent across the US.
‘They get stronger and think they can continue to go around and bully we, the people. But when we unite and you take that stand there’s no stopping us.’
Beth Anne Steele, an FBI spokeswoman in Portland, told The Associated Press that the agency was aware of Saturday’s situation at the national wildlife refuge. She made no further comment.
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward released a statement late on Saturday night.
Ward said: ‘After the peaceful rally was completed today, a group of outside militants drove to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where they seized and occupied the refuge headquarters.
‘A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution. For the time being please stay away from that area.
‘More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please maintain a peaceful and united front and allow us to work through this situation.’
Some local residents feared the Saturday rally would involve more than speeches, flags and marching. But the only real additions to that list seemed to be songs, flowers and pennies.
As marchers reached the courthouse, they tossed hundreds of pennies at the locked door. Their message: civilians were buying back their government. After the march passed, two girls swooped in to scavenge the pennies.
A few blocks away, Hammond and his wife Susan greeted marchers, who planted flower bouquets in the snow. They sang some songs, Hammond said a few words, and the protesters marched back to their cars.
Dwight Hammond has said he and his son plan to peacefully report to prison January 4 as ordered by the judge.
The decision to extend the Hammonds’ prison terms has generated controversy in a remote part of the state.
In particular, the Hammonds’ new sentences touched a nerve with far right groups who repudiate federal authority.
Ammon Bundy and a handful of militiamen from other states arrived last month in Burns, some 60 miles from the Hammond ranch.
In an email to supporters, Ammon Bundy criticized the US government for a failed legal process.
Saudi Arabia’s execution of a top Shiite cleric has sparked outrage across the Middle East and around the world as furious protesters clashed with security forces on the streets over the decision to execute Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Shiite leaders from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon have fiercely condemned the execution of al-Nimr, who was a driving force of the protests that broke out in 2011 in the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s east, where the Shiite minority complains of marginalisation.
al-Nimr was condemned as a terrorist by Saudi Arabia and executed alongside 47 other people convicted of ‘terrorism’ today. Widespread demonstrations have erupted in support for al-Nimr with Shia Muslims in from London to India condemning Saudi Arabia for the murder of the cleric.
Hundreds of Shi’ite Muslims marched through the Qatif district of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in protest, which was closely watched by security forces with tensions also mounting on the streets of neighbouring Bahrain.
The Qatif protesters chanted ‘down with the Al Saud’, the name of the ruling Saudi royal family, leading to call in of dozens of Saudi military reinforcements being called into Qatif. Images have emerged on social media of a bus burning, reportedly in Qatif as the protests escalated tonight.
Protesters in Bahrain were met with tear gas as they clashed with security forces in the suburbs while hundreds demonstrated in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala.
In London, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy to express their anger about the executions.
Amnesty International UK’s Shane Enright told the Press Association that the death penalty was ‘unacceptable in all circumstances’ and it was particularly concerning that a number of ‘peaceful dissidents’ had been killed, including sheikh al-Nimr.
Speaking at the scene of the demonstration, he said a recent Amnesty report concluded that the trial against him was ‘deeply flawed’, adding: ‘We also came to the conclusion that he was jailed solely for expressing his peaceful points of view, protesting peacefully against the regimes.
‘This is an absolute, fundamental, breach of basic human rights,’ Mr Enright said.
al-Nimr’s execution has sparked fierce criticism from Shiite communities in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Indian-controlled Kashmir.
One of the 47 men executed in Saudi Arabia was Adel al-Dhubaiti, the al-Qaeda gunman convicted for the attempted assassination of BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner and the murder of his cameraman Simon Cumbers.
Iran’s Shia leadership said the execution of Nimr ‘would cost dearly’ and an Iranian-backed Shiite militia in Iraq called the execution a ‘new crime’ carried out by the Saudi royal family.
It called on the Iraqi government to ‘reconsider the benefit of having a Saudi embassy in Iraq, with a suspicious ambassador and goals.’
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki warned in a statement that the execution of the Shiite cleric ‘will topple the Saudi regime’.
But most of the 47 executed in the kingdom’s biggest mass execution for decades were Sunnis convicted of al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia a decade ago. Four, including Nimr, were Shi’ites accused of shooting policemen.
The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, members of a Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen, praised their ally.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan called the executions a ‘clear message against terrorism and those who call for and incite sedition and unrest to tear apart the society’s unity and threaten social peace in the kingdom’.
Bahrain, which has itself faced unrest from its Shiite majority population, also backed Riyadh in ‘all deterrent and needed measures it takes to confront violence and extremism’.
In the suburbs of the Bahraini capital Manama however, dozens of Shiite youth gathered for small demonstrations to condemn the executions. Clashes quickly escalated between demonstrators and security forces, who released tear gas to disperse the gathering.
A cleric from Bahrain who was at the protest in Iraq’s Karbala, said the world should react to Nimr’s execution. ‘Sheikh Nimr was an icon for Islamic resistance,’ Sheikh Habib al-Jamri told AFP.
‘His words were his weapon. They couldn’t defeat his words so they detained him, tortured him and today executed him in front the world’s eyes, like a challenge to global conscience.’
Bahrain was one of the countries caught in the centre of the Arab Spring in 2011, with the country’s Shiite majority population heavily suppressed during protests against the monarchy. Bahrain has remained a close ally of Saudi, who have been careful to safeguard the country during the Arab Spring.
Shiite protesters in Bahrain in 2011 called for the constitutional reform of the monarchy before security forces heavy handedly clamped down on demonstrations leading to calls for the end of the monarchy.
The protests in Bahrain tonight come after opponents have repeatedly been detained and stripped of their citizenship for speaking out against the Bahraini government and the actions of their ally Saudi Arabia.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) threatened to retaliate against Saudi Arabia for any execution of its members in December.
The list also includes Fares al-Shuwail who has been described by Saudi media outlets as the top religious leader of Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested in August 2004.
The ministry statement said the 47 had been convicted of adopting the radical ‘takfiri’ ideology, joining ‘terrorist organisations’ and implementing various ‘criminal plots’.
The list also includes Sunnis convicted of involvement in Al-Qaeda attacks that killed Saudis and foreigners in the kingdom in 2003 and 2004.
International rights group Reprieve, who works to abolish the death penalty has condemned Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 people, saying two were teenagers when they were detained.
Reprieve says the 47 people whose execution was announced Saturday include four Shiite dissidents.
It says one of the dissidents, Ali al-Ribh, was 18 when he was arrested in 2012, and another, Mohammed al-Shuyokh, was 19.
Both were convicted on charges related to anti-government protests in eastern Saudi Arabia, where the Shiite minority is centered.
Ahead of the announcement their mothers wrote a letter of thanks, published in The Independent today, along with the mothers of other youths sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.
Reprieve said in a statement that the Saudi government ‘is continuing to target those who have called for domestic reform in the kingdom.’
Quoting the Koran, the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry statement said: ‘The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.’
While the list does not include Nimr’s nephew, Ali al-Nimr, who was 17 when he was arrested following the protests, concerns are growing for his fate.
His sentencing to death by beheading and crucifixion sparked an international outcry. Official charges against Nimr include attending a protest, using his phone to encourage further support for the demonstrations and possessing a gun, an accusation which the family strongly denies.
British shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn told the Press Association: ‘With the carrying out of this large number of executions there will now be huge international concern about what will happen to Ali Mohammed al-Nimr who is Sheikh al-Nimr’s nephew.
‘The Foreign Secretary has told Parliament that he does not expect Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to be executed but he now needs to seek fresh assurances that he will be reprieved.’
The Sheikh’s brother Mohammed al-Nimr said that the executions came as a ‘big shock’ because ‘we thought the authorities could adopt a political approach to settle matters without bloodshed.’
‘There will be reactions,’ he said, but urged people to ‘adopt peaceful means when expressing their anger.’
He says the family has not yet been asked to pick up the body but that a funeral would be held as soon as possible.
The execution of al-Nimr was expected to escalate tensions in eastern Saudi Arabia, where the Shiite minority is concentrated, and Bahrain, which has seen years of simmering unrest between its Shiite majority and Saudi-allied Sunni monarchy.
Those executed include an Egyptian and a Chadian. The rest were all Saudis.
Executions have increased in the kingdom since King Salman acceded to the throne in January 2015 following the death of king Abdullah.
The number of convicts executed on Saturday is more than half of those executed under Salman’s predecessor in the whole year of 2014, which tallied 87.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people convicted of various crimes, including drug-trafficking.
Authorities in the kingdom set up specialised courts in 2011 to try dozens of Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda or of participating in the wave of attacks that swept the country from 2003, which killed 150 Saudis and foreigners.
The kingdom’s current Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef oversaw a crackdown on the militants at the time.
But Nimr was arrested for completely different reasons in 2012.
The interior ministry had described him at the time as an ‘instigator of sedition’ as it announced his arrest in the Shiite village of Awamiya in the east after being wounded in the leg while putting up resistance.
Hillary Clinton’s attempts to gain black voters have always been hilarious, but this one takes the cake.
The Democratic presidential candidates desperation became evident this week when she changed her Twitter avi to a Kwanzaa themed version of her campaign Hillary “H” logo.
The Democratic front-runner received waves of backlash across social media almost immediately, especially from the black community, who openly mocked her for her desperation in snatching their votes.
Hilarity ensued when the hashtag #NewHillaryLogo was born. Though her campaign sensed the backlash and changed her photo back to her original photo, the damage was already done.
When will Hillary learn that she isn’t black? Or cool?
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU Cougars vs. Utah Utes
MONDAY, DECEMBER 28
Navy Midshipmen vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29
Russell Athletic Bowl
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Baylor Bears
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Florida State Seminoles vs. Houston Cougars
Capital One Orange Bowl (Playoff Semifinal)
Clemson Tigers vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Goodyear Cotton Bowl (Playoff Semifinal)
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan State Spartans
FRIDAY, JANUARY 1
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Stanford Cardinal
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Ole Miss Rebels
SATURDAY, JANUARY 2
Valero Alamo Bowl
TCU Horned Frogs vs. Oregon Ducks
MONDAY, JANUARY 11
CFP National Championship
Orange Bowl Winner vs. Cotton Bowl Winner