Neo-Nazi threats force Jewish centre to shut down in Sweden

A Jewish centre in Umeå, a town in northern Sweden, has voted to shut itself down after ongoing threats from neo-Nazis.

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The neo-Nazi group Nordfront reportedly sent threatening emails and vandalised the centre with swastika graffiti, Nazi stickers and messages like ‘we know where you live’.

Spokeswoman Carinne Sjöberg told local media the group reluctantly made the decision because they felt vulnerable to the threats.

“Too many things have happened recently which mean that Jewish parents do not feel safe to have their children in schools,” she told regional news program SVT Vasterbotten.

“I have also been visited in my home and we receive threatening emails all the time.”

Ms Sjöberg said she found the ordeal very upsetting.

“This is not the Umeå I know, something has happened. When incidents occur where Jewish children are threatened because of their origin, then it’s gone too far.”

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In 2015 the town made headlines when it failed to invite the Jewish association to a “Umeå against Nazism” – organisers reportedly thought the association would be too scared to attend.

Local politician Peder Westerberg said it was “surreal and creepy” to have neo-Nazis in Umeå, a city of 122,000 people.

“It’s completely unacceptable and it’s important that the association is getting the support they need. I won’t let the Nazis win, and I know that there are many that stand up against these undemocratic forces, ” he said.

Mathias Sundin MP, Chairman of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, said the news was “disgusting and despicable.”

“Nazism stands for the darkest chapter in human history. It is completely unacceptable that people today in Sweden can be intimidated into silence.”

Watch: 75 years since Australia joined the effort to stop the Nazi March

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Wanted: 20,000 Australians for depression study

Scientists are seeking 20,000 Australians who have been treated for clinical depression to take part in the world’s largest genetic investigation into the devastating illness.

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The Australian Genetics of Depression Study is designed to detect genetic factors that contribute to clinical depression, in order to develop better treatments and ultimately find a cure.

Currently people with clinical depression are often blindly prescribed medication in the hope it will work and have few side-effects.

But their effectiveness is often not known until weeks later and in many cases treatment is successful for some people and not for others for unknown reasons.

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Understanding the “genetic architecture” of depression will help to solve this problematic situation, says co-investigator and mental health campaigner Professor Prof Ian Hickie, AM from the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.

“In psychiatry we have really suffered because we’ve been stuck with clinical categories that don’t predict very well the response to treatment,” Prof Hickie told AAP.

“Bipolar depression is a great example of that because within that group you have people who do really well with anti-depressants and some people who do hopelessly and only have severe side-effects.”

Professor Nick Martin, Head of the Genetic Epidemiology group at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, is co-leader of the study and says they’re seeking volunteers aged 18 and older who are currently being treated or have been treated in the past for clinical depression.

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Volunteers will need to complete a 15-minute online survey and donate a saliva sample that will be screened for hundreds of DNA variants through a process known as ‘genome-wide association scans’ (GWAS).

GWAS will allow researchers to look for genetic similarities and differences, which will help find more personalised treatments, says Prof Martin.

“All the known medications that we’ve got are working on fairly limited knowledge of the biochemistry behind susceptibility to depression, so what GWAS does is lay bare all of the different pathways that are involved.”

But in order for the study to be successful they need a huge number of people to volunteer.

“Study volunteers will be making a genuine contribution to better understanding and helping us to solve this devastating illness,” said Prof Hickie.

Clinical depression will affect one in seven Australians in their lifetime.

It is a severe pathophysiological syndrome that changes the body’s whole physiology.

“It isn’t a simple reaction to an unfortunate life event or difficult circumstance, so it’s not transient period of low mood,” said Prof Hickie.

“The amount of disability and impairment and loss of employment and impact on family is very high right now, so that’s really what we want to change through more effective treatments,” he said.

To volunteer for the Australian Genetics of Depression Study or to learn more, head to: Web:长沙桑拿,geneticsofdepression长沙楼凤,长沙夜网,

Email: [email protected]长沙夜网,

WATCH: Therapy dogs help veterans with PTSD

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Trump warmly welcomes Egypt’s president

Not once in the eight years of former US President Barack Obama’s leadership did an Egyptian president visit the White House.

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And only months in to Donald Trump’s presidency, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been welcomed, with the US President declaring his strong support of his Egyptian counterpart’s leadership.

“I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sisi, he’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt and the United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”

It would appear the feelings are mutual, with President Sisi praising Mr Trump.

“Your Excellency since we met last September I’ve had a deep appreciation and admiration of your unique personality especially as you’re standing very strong in the counter-terrorism field to counter this evil ideology that is claiming innocent lives, that is bringing devastation to communities and nations and that is terrorising innocent people. Your Excellency, very strongly and very openly you will find Egypt and myself always beside you in this, bringing about an effective strategy in the counter-terrorism effort.”

The two presidents established a strong relationship when they first met in New York last September, during Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I will tell you President al-Sisi has been someone who has been very close to me from the first time I met him, I met during the campaign and at that point there were two of us and we both met and hopefully you’ll like me a lot more.”

The latest one-on-one meeting signals a new era in the relationship between the two countries.

In 2013, then-US President Barack Obama briefly suspended military aid to Egypt after Mr Sisi, an army general at the time, led the overthrow of the country’s first freely-elected Islamist leader, Mohammed Morsi.

The relationship remained tense, with Barack Obama repeatedly criticising President Sisi’s human rights record.

But it would appear President Trump is seeking to strengthen his country’s ties to Egypt.

On a number of occasions, he’s spoken of the need for the US to forge a good relationship with Egypt.

And he’s reaffirmed this intention to President Sisi, urging cooperation to combat terrorism.

“We will fight terrorism and other things. We’re building up our military to a level that will be the highest, probably the highest, that we ever had – plane orders, ship orders, aircraft carrier orders – we are rejuvenating our military to the highest level, I think, in these times, probably more than ever before or certainly almost more than ever before.”

 

 

Melania Trump’s new portrait divides public opinion

Trump is shown from the waist up, standing with arms crossed, dressed in a black jacket with a black bow around her neck.

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She’s wearing a very large diamond ring on her left hand, and a more subdued sparkler on her right.

Shot by Belgian-born photographer Regine Mahaux, who has previously worked with the Trump family, the first lady is smiling slightly, with a perfectly flawless visage.

Official Portrait of First Lady pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/K1DUVE5kSI

— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 3, 2017

“I am honored to serve in the role of first lady, and look forward to working on behalf of the American people over the coming years,” Trump said in a short statement accompanying the photo’s release.

While some commenters gushed that the first lady was “beyond beautiful” and “gorgeous,” others mocked the image as highly airbrushed and compared the gauzy background — a window in the White House residence — to 1990s school portrait settings. 

[email protected] Instagram just released a new filter called Soft-FLOTUSed pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/zHufvUT5IM

— Archie’s Brown Roots (@DiscreetLatino) April 3, 2017Anyone know why Melania Trump’s portrait was taken in front of the Muppet Babies Window? pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/EOLfwfBggE

— Sasha Stewart (@ArtfulStew) April 3, 2017Melania releases her first official portrait as First Lady. It’s meant to evoke the catalogue he picked her out from.

— Gary Janetti (@GaryJanetti) April 3, 2017Melania Trump’s official White House photograph was taken on the set of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me” video. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/yXZZGKZ79H

— Tim Duffy™ (@TimDuffy) April 3, [email protected] Was this taken at the Glamour Shots studio at the Montebello Mall?

— Kristina Wong ❄️ (@mskristinawong) April 3, 2017Melania looks like she’s about to drop the most 🔥 ballad of 1987 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/pvMrqvfCJ6

— We take the stairs (@NoEscalators) April 3, 2017that melania trump portrait is as airbrushed as adam sandler on the cover of click pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/rVBrGmYH6V

— 12 days (@BurntToastLord) April 3, 2017White House releases first lady Melania Trump’s official portrait and announces a 3 episode guest star role on The Bold and the Beautiful. pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/k5BVtuS74v

— Scott Dooley (@scottdools) April 3, 2017

Other critics jumped on a line in the White House statement that said the portrait was taken in Trump’s “new residence at the White House.”

While every other modern first lady has accompanied her husband to Washington, the 46-year-old Trump has remained at her luxury triplex penthouse in Manhattan and not made many public appearances.

Trump has said she would remain in New York until son Barron finishes the school year.

It’s not the first time that a first lady portrait has stoked controversy. Michelle Obama was criticized for wearing a sleeveless dress in her first official portrait in 2009, with some saying the bare arms were too casual.

WATCH: Trump meets Egyptian president at the White House

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Three gay men dead and over 100 arrested in Chechnya, Russian newspaper reports

More than 100 gay men have vanished from the streets of Chechnya and several may have been killed, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta has reported.

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The Moscow-based newspaper – known for its investigative reporting – said it had confirmed rumours which had been swirling for a week about mass round-ups, detention and violence against gay men in the southern Russian territory.

The crackdown appears to include vigilante violence and a wave of arrests – at least three people have been killed so far, the paper reported.

One Chechen from the capital of Grozny told SBS he was having trouble sleeping and was scared for his life.

“People disappear without a trace,” the gay 28-year-old said.

“If people find out someone is gay – since it is not allowed in the Caucasus and is tangled in shame – they are simply killed and the relatives stay silent,” he said.

Sometimes the violence came at the hands of friends, he said, and it was difficult to know who to trust.

“I just want to leave Chechnya myself – all relationships have to be conducted in secret.”

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Novaya Gazeta said that an “unprecedented” number of government, legal and intelligence sources had confirmed that an official crackdown on LGBT+ individuals was underway in Chechnya, a territory ruled by Vladimir Putin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov.

But a spokesperson for Mr Kadyrov blasted the newspaper in a phone call with Russian news agency Interfax.

“You cannot detain and oppress someone who simply does not exist in the republic,” Mr Karimov said.

Human Rights Watch has reported concerns over authorities turning a blind eye towards violence and murders targeted against LGBT+ individuals – a phenomena Mr Karimov appeared to allude to in his statement to Interfax.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” he told the agency.

Russian LGBT+ activist Mikhail Tumasov said on social media that he was outraged by the reaction of officials in Chechnya.

“No national and/or religious traditions and norms can justify kidnapping or killing of a human being,” he said.

“Any references to ‘traditions’ to justify kidnappings and killings are amoral and criminal.”

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Novaya Gazeta reported that men had been arrested from across the territory, not just in the capital of Grozny.

Detained men included two well-known broadcasters and some close to religious leaders in the Islamic territory, the paper reported.

The report characterised the crackdown as a ‘preventative’ measure after LGBT+ activists filed for permission to hold several gay pride events in early March.

News of those applications sparked protests, homophobic threats on social media, and calls for LGBT+ individuals to be ‘cleansed’ from the country.

Mr Tumasov said that activists in Russia were working to confirm the details of vulnerable individuals in Chechnya and help get them out of the territory.

“People’s lives are endangered and the only way to help is the evacuation,” he said.

Novaya Gazeta is known for its criticism of the Kremlin and the Russian establishment.

Since 2001, several of its journalists have been killed.

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Showdown over Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch

Democrats have corralled enough support to hold up a Senate confirmation vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee but Republicans are threatening to change the Senate rules to ensure conservative judge Neil Gorsuch gets the lifetime job.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to send Gorsuch’s nomination to the full Senate, setting up a political showdown this week between Trump’s fellow Republicans and the opposition Democrats that appears likely to trigger a change in long-standing Senate rules to allow his confirmation.

Democrats, portraying Gorsuch as so conservative he is outside the judicial mainstream, have amassed 42 senators in support of a procedural hurdle called a filibuster requiring a super-majority of 60 votes in the Republican-led, 100-seat Senate to allow a confirmation vote. Even before the panel voted, committee member Christopher Coons put the Democrats over the threshold as the 41st senator backing the filibuster bid.

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The Senate’s Republican leaders insist Gorsuch will be confirmed on the Senate floor on Friday regardless of what the Democrats do. Republicans hold a 52-48 Senate majority.

In the face of the filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be expected to force a confirmation vote by having the Senate change its rules and allow for a simple majority vote for confirmation of Supreme Court justices, a move sometimes called the “nuclear option” that Trump favours.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, leading the filibuster effort, said McConnell should have the “vision and courage to see past this impasse” and not “go nuclear”, suggesting that Trump replace Gorsuch with a new consensus nominee chosen after meeting with Democrats.

Senate confirmation of Gorsuch, 49, would restore the nine-seat high court’s conservative majority, fulfilling one of Trump’s top promises during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump in January nominated Gorsuch, a conservative appeals court judge from Colorado. He could be expected to serve for decades.

WATCH: Trump meets Egyptian president at the White House

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Tax cuts a real stimulus: Turnbull

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers are refusing to put a precise figure on the economic effect of the business tax cuts passed by the parliament last week.

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Instead, they continue to pressure Labor to say whether the reductions would stay in place if they won government.

“The Labor Party seems to think that you can keep on increasing taxes and people will keep on investing and people will keep on employing,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“They are kidding themselves. They’re not dreaming, they’re having a nightmare. That is a Labor economic nightmare for everybody else.”

The government’s 10-year plan to reduce the company tax rate to 25 per cent was repeatedly spruiked as delivering a one per cent dividend to economic growth, but it remains unclear what impact the agreed cuts for firms with a turnover of up to $50 million will have on their own.

“It will add substantial economic growth. It’s a real stimulus,” was as close Mr Turnbull would go as an answer.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government doesn’t need to be convinced about the need to give small and medium-sized businesses a tax cut.

“The Labor Party needs to be convinced about that,” he told the same media conference at a small Canberra business.

He said modelling had been done on the whole 10-year package – a program the government will continue to pursue.

“If you go down the pub and you talk to small business people they are not talking about econometric models,” Mr Morrison said.

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Australians have every right to demand an answer to this simple question.

“Instead of providing answers to Australian taxpayers who are footing the bill for this $24 billion in company tax cuts, the prime minister is hell bent on ensuring Australia’s lowest paid get a cut in penalty rates at a time when wages growth is at record lows,” he said in a statement.

Mr Bowen later told reporters Labor wants to see how the coalition is going to pay for these business tax cuts before making a decision on whether to retain them in government.

“Scott Morrison can hold as many frothing-at-the-mouth press conferences hyperventilating as he likes saying the Labor Party must do this and must do that,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“The Labor Party doesn’t have to do anything Mr Morrison says. The Labor Party will take its good time, consider the options.”

We are delivering results: Turnbull

The prime minister has dismissed the concerns of his predecessor Tony Abbott over the way his government is negotiating with the Senate, insisting it is delivering results.

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Mr Abbott doesn’t approve of the horse-trading the government resorted to in order to get key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon on board with its business tax cuts last week.

But Malcolm Turnbull reeled off a list of his government’s achievements since last year’s election.

“Both the double-dissolution bills are now law … personal income tax cuts passed, child care reforms passed, all the business tax cuts that were set to be delivered in this term of parliament are now passed,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“We know how to govern, we know how to deliver. We’re proving that if you’re prepared to negotiate, you can get things done in the 45th parliament.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government has also passed nearly $25 billion of savings.

Mr Abbott again urged his party to reform the way the Senate works arguing it is almost impossible to get an upper house majority to cut spending.

“What we need to do is give the public something to hope for and we’ve got to give our own people something to fight for,” he said.

He also believes the coalition can win the next election but only if it is bold and gives the people something to hope for.

Mr Abbott, participating in his annual Pollie Pedal, was speaking after the latest Newspoll showed the coalition trailing Labor by 53 to 47 per cent in two-party terms.

“If we are bold and we do have a clear direction, of course we can win the next election,” Mr Abbott told Sky News on Monday night.

He said he was in favour of the lines of attack the government was using against Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target.

But he reiterated calls to freeze the target where it is.

“We can exhilarate business, exhilarate enterprise right around our country by doing this,” he said.

Youth exploit Vic’s failing system: review

Violence and disturbances became “commonplace” as teens exploited infrastructure weaknesses in Victoria’s youth justice system, a report has found.

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Youth justice staff are also ill-equipped to deal with the offenders, who are increasingly showing no respect for authority.

Former chief commissioner Neil Comrie was called in to review the system after a series of riots in Melbourne’s Parkville youth justice centre in November.

Youths smashed through ceilings, climbed onto roofs and threatened staff with makeshift weapons during the November riots – the latest in a string of incidents.

“It is clear that a defining point has been reached in the long history of youth justice in Victoria,” Mr Comrie wrote.

“Infrastructure, policy and systems that were designed and built for a different era have proven to be incapable of delivering the imperative of a safe and secure youth justice system in 2016/17.”

He said the incidents led to an environment where violence and disturbances were commonplace at youth justice centres.

Part two of Mr Comrie’s review was released on Tuesday, making 11 recommendations including better training for staff.

All of the recommendations have been accepted by the government.

Youth Justice was transferred from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Justice and Regulation on Monday.

The sector is under massive scrutiny following the riots and a mass escape from the Malmsbury youth justice centre in January.

The riots rendered parts of Parkville uninhabitable so the government moved some detainees to a unit in the adult Barwon prison.

That decision sparked several court challenges, the latest starting on Monday.

A parliamentary committee and the Commission for Children and Young People are currently investigating the system.

And the government will also soon receive the Youth Justice Review being undertaken by experts Penny Armytage and Professor James Ogloff.

It was announced in February that a new youth prison would be built west of Melbourne.

Bionic eye developer raises $US18m from HK

Bionic Vision Technologies has raised $US18 million ($A24 million) from Hong Kong investors to help if further develop the Australian company’s “bionic eye” in new trials.

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The privately owned firm will use the money to manufacture the devices and conduct more trials in patients with degenerative eye condition retinitis pigmentosa.

Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common cause of inherited blindness, affecting more than 1.5 million people worldwide.

The bionic eye is implanted at the back of the eye, where it stimulates nerve cells in the retina with electrical signals created from images collected by an externally worn camera.

Bionic Vision hopes to begin the next-stage trials of the bionic eye in the coming months in Melbourne.

Patients will be implanted with a permanent device to use in daily activities, following early trials in which Bionic Eye only monitored patients in the clinic.

The company said on Tuesday that it had raised $US18 million from Hong Kong-based China Huarong International Holdings and State Path Capital to develop and commercialise the bionic eye.

“This investment is an important milestone for our unique Australian technology and an endorsement of our approach to making a positive impact on global health,” Bionic Vision executive chairman Robert Klupacs said in a statement.

“These new funds will help create an innovative solution to potentially help improve the lives of blind people.”

State Path Capital chairman Alistair Lam, whose uncle is Hong Kong business magnate Sir Li Ka-shing, said the bionic eye had significant global potential and the investment would help move the current version of the device closer to market.