Cat crashes a fashion show catwalk, hilarity ensues

A cat stole the show at the recent Esmod International Fashion Show in Istanbul, Turkey by preening itself, playfully attacking models, and actually walking the catwalk. Read the rest

State surveillance company leaked its own data, its customers' data, and its customers' victims' data

Wolf Intelligence is a German state surveillanceware company founded by Manish Kumar, selling tools that independent researchers described as "very shitty and it’s just copy paste from open source projects," used by governments to spy on their citizens. Read the rest

United Nations: ISIS is regrouping

It’s been a while since we’ve heard a lot about the so-called Islamic State. Since the "defeat" of ISIS in Iraq and the majority of Syria, much of the focus in the war-torn regions of the Middle East has been on: the ongoing pissing match between the United States, Russia and Turkey in Syria, what will become of the civilians whose lives were shattered during the Syrian Civil War, hostilities between Iran and damn near everyone, Palestinian rights, and what the Israelis have cooking in regards to Gaza and the protection of their populace from a variety of aggressors.

Would you be surprised to learn that ISIS is still kind of a big deal? Because it sort of sounds like the United Nations was. According to the CBC, a report from U.N. Terrorism experts says that ISIS is still doing fine, thank you very much, boasting as many as 30,000 members stationed in Syria and Iraq. However, after multiple ass-kickings at the hands of professional and volunteer military forces across the Middle East, they’ve decided to tone things down a bit. That overt, "we're gonna build a freaking caliphate" look of theirs? SO last year. Currently, ISIS is playing it cool by conducting covert operations in its bases of operation while the terrorist group regroups and rebuilds.

From The CBC:

While many ISIS fighters, planners and commanders have been killed in fighting, and many other fighters and supporters have left the immediate conflict zone, the experts said many still remain in the two countries — some engaged militarily, "and others hiding out in sympathetic communities and urban areas."

...

Read the rest

Ikea's Swedish meatballs? Totally NOT Swedish

Here's a fact you can kill with alcohol or a head injury and never miss: Ikea doles out around 2 million of its Swedish meatballs, per day. Here's another: those Swedish meatballs? There's a very good chance that they're not actually Swedish.

According to the Hürriet Daily News, the recipe for Swedish meatballs is actually based on a recipe from Turkey. In a tweet that shook the meat-in-ball-form world, the Swedish government declared that “Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century. Let’s stick to the facts!"

From the Hürriet Daily News:

Annie Mattson, a researcher at the literature department of Uppsala University, told Anadoly Agency that Sweden’s King Charles XII lost a battle against Russia and took shelter in Bender, then an Ottoman territory near Moldova.

Having spent a long time in Bender, apparently on a local food bender, Charles XII couldn't bear to leave behind the local cuisine. When he finally headed on home, he came packing the recipes for cabbage rolls, meatballs and, god love him, introduced Turkey's national love for strong, hot coffee to the Swedish people.

Earlier today, The Guardian got their meat hooks on this story and added to it. Apparently, feelings on the revelation, in Turkey are mixed.

This week in Turkey’s meatball capital, Inegöl, a local chef, İbrahim Veysel, told the Dogan news agency it was an honor that the Turkish dish should have become “an example to different cuisines all over the world”.

Read the rest

RIP Anna Campbell, a British woman who joined an all-woman Kurdish Protection Unit in Syria

Anna Campbell, from Lewes, England, has died fighting in the Kurdish Women's Protection Units ("YPJ") in Syria; she was likely killed by a Turkish airstrike. She was 26. Read the rest

The in-depth tale of Bylock, the Turkish messenger app whose 1x1 tracking GIF was the basis for tens of thousands of treason accusations

A group of exiled Turkish human rights lawyers have published an in-depth history of how Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkish government has described Bylock, an encrypted messenging app, whose 1x1 analytics pixel was used as the basis for accusing tens -- if not hundreds -- of thousands of Turks of treason, with consequences ranging from loss of employment and ostracization to imprisonment, to torture, to suicide. Read the rest

A 1x1 tracking pixel was used as evidence of treason against 30,000 Turks, sent tens of thousands to jail

When Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Turkish government took reprisals against hundreds of thousands of people suspected to have been involved in the failed coup of 2016, one of the criteria they used for whom to round up for indefinite detention as well as myriad human rights abuses (including torture) was whether people had a cookie on their computers set by a 1x1 tracking pixel served by Bylock, which the Erdogan regime says is evidence of support of exiled opposition leader Fethullah Gülen. Read the rest

Garbage collectors open a public library with discarded books

In Ankara, Turkey, one person's trash is literally another's treasure. Garbage collectors started saving books once destined for the landfill and opened a public library.

CNN reports:

For months, the garbage men gathered forsaken books. As word of the collection spread, residents also began donating books directly.

Initially, the books were only for employees and their families to borrow. But as the collection grew and interest spread throughout the community, the library was eventually opened to the public in September of last year...

Today, the library has over 6,000 books ranging from literature to nonfiction. There is also a popular kid's section with comic books and an entire section for scientific research. Books in English and French are also available for bilingual visitors.

The library is housed in a previously vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters...

The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.

(For Reading Addicts), image via CNN Read the rest

Study finds that people vote for strongman "dominance" leaders when they they feel out of control of their lives

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, London Business School organizational behavior scholars Niro Sivanathan and Hemant Kakkar used empirical methods to find the socioeconomic circumstances that predict when voters will elect "dominance-style" strongman leaders like "Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Rodrigo Duterte, Nicolás Maduro and Recep Erdogan." Read the rest

Unpaid Zara garment workers slip pleas for overdue wages into clothes

Turkish purchasers of clothing from fast fashion brand Zara have discovered notes slipped into pockets of their clothes by workers begging for support in their struggle to get long-overdue wages. Read the rest

This ice cream is flavored like Thanksgiving dinner foods

West coast ice creamery Salt & Straw isn't encouraging anyone to give up their Thanksgiving day meal, but they are making a version that is cold and creamy to ingest.

For the month of November, you can order their five-pint "Thanksgiving Dinner of Ice Cream Series," as follows (descriptions via Los Angeles Magazine):

-- Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans ("Sweet potatoes are roasted down and mixed with cream and sugar to make a sweet, spicy, sticky ice cream. Then Oregon pecans are mixed and caramelized with maple sugar. It is then of course topped off with hand-churned ribbons of Salt & Straw’s own delicious homemade gooey maple fluff.")

-- Buttered Mashed Potatoes & Gravy ("Salt & Straw has made over 600 different flavors of ice cream, and this is hands-down the most savory one ever served. Salt & Straw makes a potato- flavored ice cream, thanks to the real potatoes boiled down until the starch turns to sugar, and then stirs in their own homemade gravy fudge made from two mashed-up recipes, pun very much intended.")

-- Apple Cranberry Stuffing

-- Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey ("Turkey stock is cooked and mixed with sugar, spices and onions down until it bubbles into a caramel, which creates the base of the salted caramel ice cream. And Salt & Straw also roasts turkey skin until it’s crispy and then candy-coat it and mix bits of that in, too.")

-- Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie ("It starts with goat-cheese ice cream, which is sprinkled with pumpkin pie spices, but the generous helping of mashed pumpkin folded and swirled in really steals the show.")

All five pints are available now for $65 plus shipping. Read the rest

Turkish high school students will no longer be taught "controversial" evolutionary theory

Evolution is one of 170 topics that have been purged from the high-school curriculum by the Erdogan regime as part of its efforts to cozy up to the reactionary religious right that has backed its extreme authoritarianism. Read the rest

Cat enjoys relaxing and playing piano with owner

These videos of a guy in Istanbul playing the piano with his kitty cat are so sweet and genuine. I can't get enough of them.

His name is Sarper Duman. Play him off, keyboard cat. Read the rest

An absurd and awful moment in Switzerland's legendarily bonkers citizenship process

When I was becoming a British citizen, the one thing everyone knew was that the Life in the UK citizenship test was full of weird, arbitrary questions that most Britons couldn't answer, but next to Switzerland, the British process seems downright sane. Read the rest

U.S. Marshals arrest 2 Turkish men accused of role in embassy beating

Remember when the President of Turkey came to Washington to visit Trump, and his goons beat the crap out of American protesters on American soil? The DC-based Turkish news site Washington Hatti reported today that Eyup Yildirim was arrested for playing a role in this incident, and the Daily Caller now reports that a second, Sinan Narin, was also arrested. Both men beat peaceful protesters outside of the embassy of Turkey.

Reports Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller:

U.S. Marshals have arrested two Turkish men living in U.S. for their role in beating peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. last month, a source with knowledge of the matter tells The Daily Caller.

The State Department confirmed in a statement to TheDC that arrests have been, and the Washington, D.C. Metro police department identified the two men as Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin.

“Now that charges have been filed, the Department will weigh additional actions for the named individuals, as appropriate under relevant laws and regulations. Any further steps will be responsive and proportional to the charges,” a State Department official said.

Yildirim, a 50-year-old construction company owner from New Jersey, faces charges of assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault. Narin, from Virginia, faces an aggravated assault charge.

Read the rest

The Malta Files: a European version of the Panama Papers, revealing a global web of corruption

On Friday, a variety of news outlets around the world published the Malta Files, a cache of 150,000 documents leaked "from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services," revealing, among other things, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was secretly given a $25M oil tanker (!) by Azeri billionaire Mübariz Mansimov, a "friend" of Trump's who was present at the inauguration. Read the rest

Video shows Turkey's Erdogan watched from limo as his guards bashed protesters in Washington, D.C.

New video hit the internet today showing the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, looking on as armed security guards from his entourage violently attacked protesters demonstrating outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington. Read the rest

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