Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

Consider, therefore, what and how great virtues Christ showed us by His human nature in this procession: Who, while He was supreme and rich and powerful above all, as the true Son of God according to the divinity; nevertheless, did not display the excellence of His majesty before the people by worldly pomp: but with much humility and meekness approached the city, rebellious against Him. This is our King, Whom John Baptist proclaimed as the Lamb, that was to come into the world: Who for the salvation of the human race drew near to the place of suffering, to accomplish the work of our redemption: as it had been revealed to the holy patriarchs and prophets.
(Thomas A Kempis)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Post

Just in time for the week-end...

Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for killing nine people at a hotel in Mogadishu and murdering people on a beach:

Al-Shabab militants blasted their way into a Mogadishu hotel on Friday and took up positions inside, killing at least nine people and exchanging fire with security forces seeking to recapture the facility, a Somali police official said.

One survivor who made it safely outside the Maka Al-Mukarramah hotel in the Somali capital said the militants were killing anyone they could find inside. He did not give his name.

The attack started when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car at the gate of the hotel. Gunmen then quickly moved in, Capt. Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press from the scene of the attack.

Hours later, the militants were still holed up in the hotel's dark alleys and rooms. Sporadic gunfire could be heard, but it appeared that the security forces would wait until daybreak before trying again to dislodge the militants.

(Sidebar: by "militants", the "reporter" means terrorists.)
The Somali extremist group Al Shabaab have released a new video, showing civilians being forced into the sea and murdered in a hail of gunfire. 

Entitled 'In Remembrance 2',the video show Al-Shabaab coldly executing civilians with machine guns before leaving the bodies to rot on the beach.

The chilling video is the second part of a two episode series by Al-Shabaab's main media branch, al-Kataib Foundation.

The horrific scenes show half a dozen fully clothed civilians being forced into the sea, somewhere on the Somali coast.

Al-Shabaab gunmen, armed with machine guns proceed to callously gun down the prisoners in the sea. 

Videoed from the beach, sporadic gunshot is shown hitting the exposed heads of the struggling victims. The water is shown splashing as the hail of gunfire continues from the beach.

Graphic closeup footage of the dead bodies are shown, floating fully clothed in the water. The lifeless bodies appear to be left unburied, with footage later showing one of the corpses rotting on the sand.

The Tories are amending the proposed Bill C-51:

The government will propose a handful of amendments to the proposed anti-terror bill when it goes to clause-by-clause review on Tuesday, CBC News has learned, including a proposal that would protect protests from being captured by the new measures.

"Many witnesses were concerned that by saying "lawful" protests would not be considered terrorist acts, it meant that protests which were not necessarily terrorist, but not necessarily legal, could be," CBC News correspondent Chris Hall explained in an interview on CBC News Network on Friday afternoon.

"For example, incidents of chaining yourself to a fence to protest, a logging decision or mine development."

That section will be changed to narrow the scope of what might be captured as a terrorist-related activity, he said.

Well, I would consider bursting into the House of Commons with a gun to be an act of terrorism and chaining one's self to fence an act paid for by a special-interest group.

The Ontario Sunshine List for 2015 has been released:

A total of 111,438 public sector workers in Ontario were paid more than $100,000 in 2014, according to details included in the so-called Sunshine List released this morning.  

 The annual sunshine list, which includes nurses, teachers, police and firefighters, in addition to provincial civil servants, grew by more than 13,600 workers over 2013. 

 Reporters are still poring through the six-volume report of big earners, but it appears Ontario Power Generation CEO Tom Mitchell topped the list again with $1.55 million in salary and benefits.

There are about 12,500 employees from OPG, Hydro One and their subsidiaries on the 2014 list, up by nearly 1,000 over 2013, when the auditor general warned those salaries were driving up electricity rates.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was paid just over $209,00 last year, up about $10,000 from 2013.

The Public Salary Disclosure Act requires organizations that receive public funding from the Province of Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year.

The act was brought in under the Mike Harris-led Progressive Conservative government in 1996. At the time, Harris said it served as an important check on the public payroll. If the list was adjusted for inflation since 1996, the real benchmark salary would now be around $145,000.
Because Ontario Liberal voters don't have a problem with bloated, useless public sector workers, it is unlikely that this will change any time soon.

No, I would argue that millennial progressive leftist would-be voters know very little about politics because they believe government intervention and higher taxes magically fix everything and the only irreconcilable cultural differences out there are ones that involve food in some way:

The abysmal turnout among Millennials in the last two federal elections has been singled out to Elections Canada as one of the main culprits in the overall demise in voting numbers.

But the problem is not that young voters are any less civically engaged or politically aware than their older compatriots.

There is a generational divide between Canadians under age 35 and those over, says the study released Friday by the Broadbent Institute.

“When we ask why they don’t vote, a lot of them say the biggest reason is not because they don’t know about politics,” David McGrane, a professor of political science at the University of Saskatchewan and author of the report, tells Yahoo Canada News.

“They know every bit as much as older Canadians. They know where to vote; they know how to vote.”

But young voters across the country tend to lean to the left of the political spectrum, says McGrane, who was among a team that surveyed more than 8,100 voters across the country over the past four years.

They are more socially progressive and they’re looking for an activist government, says his report. 

They support social spending and they’re in favour of higher taxes if it means better public services.
Compared to older Canadians, they are less likely to favour economic growth over the environment. Health and education are priorities for them, not crime and justice, McGrane says.

“So, they’re really describing a policy agenda and a set of political priorities that I think are quite different from Stephen Harper,” he says.

(Sidebar: oh, surprise, surprise.)

This is something Obama might do:

It's no wonder why lawyers are hated:

On March 26th, 2010, the ROKS Cheonan was sunk by the North Koreans killing forty-six sailors.

South Korea responded by ... doing nothing of any consequence, really, unless one calls already frosty relations action. So unless President Park is ready to lay some serious hurt onto North Korea, forty-six men died for nothing:

President Park Geun-hye paid tribute Thursday to the dozens of fallen soldiers who died in a North Korean torpedo attack five years ago, saying she will build a strong defense posture to prevent similar tragedies.

On March 26, 2010, the 1,200-ton warship Cheonan sank near the western maritime border with North Korea, killing 46 of the 104 sailors on board. A South Korean-led investigation, including experts from the U.S., Australia, Britain and Sweden, concluded that the corvette was downed by a North Korean torpedo, but Pyongyang has denied any responsibility.

Speaking at a memorial ceremony in Daejeon National Cemetery, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, Park vowed to push for reunification of the two Koreas to honor the fallen soldiers.

"The government will expand our national defense capabilities and establish a firm war deterrent based on our solid alliance with the United States, and ensure that incidents similar to the attack on the Cheonan never happen again," Park said in her address to the more than 5,000 people gathered, including the bereaved families, survivors, top government officials and citizens.

She also ordered the military to be on the alert against unexpected provocations and block all such possibilities.

"I hope North Korea also abandons its reckless provocations and belief that nuclear weapons can protect it," Park said. "Only when North Korea abandons its isolation and stagnation for the road to true change will we be able to build a new Korean Peninsula."

This year marks the 70th year since Korea gained independence from Japanese colonial rule and came under U.S. military occupation in the South and Soviet occupation in the North.

"Realizing a unified homeland where people of both the South and North are happy is sure to be an earnest wish of our patriotic martyrs and a way to ensure that the sacrifices of the Cheonan soldiers were not in vain," Park said.

Adding insult to injury:

North Korea on Wednesday again denied responsibility for sinking the South Korean navy corvette Cheonan in 2010 and blamed the U.S. for "fabricating" the incident. 

North Koreans escape their homeland moreso for freedom than food, have a harder time acclimatising to the southsuffer from depression, North Korean soldiers are defecting like crazy, defectors seek refuge in the south in great numbers and - for some reason- Kim Jong-Un is still alive. 

And now, spring in South Korea:

People enjoy warmer weather in Seoul on Wednesday. /Newsis
(photo credit here)
Screw you, "global warming".

But Wait! There's More!

A whole lot more...

Baffling: the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings jet that crashed into the French Alps apparently flew the plane into the side of the mountains killing all aboard:

Ignoring the captain's frantic pounding on the door, the co-pilot of the Germanwings jet barricaded himself inside the cockpit and deliberately rammed the plane full speed into the French Alps as passengers screamed in terror, a prosecutor said Thursday.

In a split second, all 150 people aboard were dead.

Andreas Lubitz's "intention (was) to destroy this plane," Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said, laying out the horrifying conclusions French investigators reached after listening to the final minutes of Tuesday's Flight 9525 from the plane's black box voice data recorder.

Saudi Arabia, fearful of an unstable Islamist state mirroring its relatively stable Islamist state, has launched air strikes in Yemen (the country Obama declared victory in):

The turmoil in Yemen grew into a regional conflict Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and its allies bombing Shiite rebels allied with Iran, while Egyptian officials said a ground assault will follow the airstrikes.

Iran denounced the Saudi-led air campaign, saying it "considers this action a dangerous step," and oil prices jumped in New York and London after the offensive.

The military action turned impoverished and chaotic Yemen into a new front in the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Obama has made overtures to both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Either he knows no loyalty and is hedging his bets or has not thought his alliances through.

Well, when one lives in northern communities and doesn't find sources of vitamin D, a diagnosis of rickets shouldn't be a surprise:

Rates of rickets continue to rise among aboriginal children in the North, a trend that has researchers increasingly concerned.

Dr. Leanne Ward, who works with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, did a 2007 study examining rates of rickets in aboriginal children in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut and Alaska between the ages of one and two.

The study found incidences of rickets that were six to 12 times higher than the rest of Canada, a trend that Ward says hasn't changed.

"We are all very concerned that we are seeing rickets in 2015," says Ward. "This is a global health problem we shouldn't be seeing anymore."  

She says public health's efforts to stop the resurgence is an "abysmal failure."

Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D. It is categorized as a "rare disease" in developed countries, meaning that it affects less than one in 200,000 people on average. It can lead to bone, muscle and teeth development issues and an increased possibility of fractures.

"Infants can present in the first year of life, with seizures," says Ward. "They'll often show up in the emergency room. Older children will present with fractures, significant deformity of the lower limbs, so they have a waddling gait."

Ward says rickets isn't just caused by a lack of sunlight. She blames poor diets, and the lack of access to rich in vitamin D "country foods" such as char and caribou for the increased instances of the disease in the Northern aboriginal population.

The Ontario provincial government is planning on giving lower-income households hydro rebates:

The provincial government is unveiling a plan to give hydro rebates to low-income households. 

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli will announce the initiative Thursday morning in Toronto.

I'm sure there's a rub in here somewhere.

Ineligible households will see their bills rise slightly – less than one dollar a month – to fund the program. 

There it is.

This is the government Ontario Liberal voters want.

Quibble: PEGIDA is not anti-immigrant:

A Europe-based anti-Islam, anti-immigration group called PEGIDA is making its Quebec debut this weekend — and local politicians and community members want to tell the group its views aren't welcome in Montreal.


Hundreds gathered in front of the National Assembly to protest against the Couillard government's budget, which was tabled late this afternoon.​

The student association ASSÉ said eight buses filled with students have travelled from Montreal for the demonstration.

ASSÉ spokesperson Camille Godbout said the Liberals have made several cuts to the education sector since taking power in 2013.
Good luck with this voters block, Liberals.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mid-Week Post

Ten more days until Easter.

The United States made it clear Canada's precision-guided bomb arsenal and expertise would be welcome in Syria, Jason Kenney said Wednesday — a narrow glimmer of clarity in the Harper government's murky reasons for expanding its Middle East campaign to include the war-torn region.

The defence minister would not go so far as to say the Americans asked Canada to expand the scope of its airstrikes outside of Iraq, but did indicate that Washington left the option open for consideration.

Accused B.C. terrorist John Nuttall promises to do better after an undercover officer chastises him for proposing a poorly researched plan to hijack a Via Rail passenger train in Victoria that no longer exists, his trial has heard.

Covert police video played in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday shows the undercover officer telling Nuttall he will help track down whatever supplies are needed but that Nuttall must be realistic.

"This thing has to be prepared. It has to be researched," says the officer, posing as an Arab businessman and whose identity cannot be revealed.

"I'm here to make what you have in your head become true, what you want in your heart to be reality. That's what I'm here for."

Just... wow....

Footage has emerged showing terrified tourists fleeing as Islamic State gunmen launched a deadly assault on a museum in Tunisia.

Italian tourist Maria Rita Gelotti was filming during a guided tour of the Bardo Museum in Tunis when a first explosion rang out, quickly followed by another.

Ms Gelotti is heard asking her husband Marcello Salvatori "did they shoot?" as gunfire echoed through the building and holidaymakers and staff ran for cover.

The couple hid in a fire escape while three gunmen attacked the renowned Tunis museum, killing 21 people, the deadliest attack on tourists in Tunisia in 13 years.

"Food insecurity", as in food is insecure or prone to theft or seizure? It's a clever distracting term for the problem of food inaccessibility in Canada's North:

About 1.1 million Canadian households did not have enough food to eat in 2012, says a new report from Statistics Canada.

Five per cent of Canadian children and eight per cent of adults experienced “food insecurity,” meaning they could not afford enough nutritious food, says the report released Wednesday.

“We weren’t surprised by the results that we got. They have been consistent,” analyst Shirin Roshanafshar tells Yahoo Canada News.

In Nunavut, almost 37 per cent of households reported going without. That’s more than four times the national average of 8.3 per cent.

“Nunavut had the highest rate of food insecurity amongst all Canadian provinces and territories,” Roshanafshar says.

The report by Roshanafshar and analyst Emma Hawkins looked at data from 65,000 Canadian Community Health surveys filled out annually from 2007-2012, focusing on 2012.

While Nunavut reported the highest rate of food insecurity, all the territories were hit harder than their provincial counterparts to the south. ...
Almost 14 per cent of households in the Northwest Territories reported that they’d been unable to afford the quality or quantity of food they needed at some point in the previous 12 months. A little more than 12 per cent of Yukon households reported the same.

In southern Canada, Maritime provinces had the highest rates of hunger: Nova Scotia 11.0 per cent, Prince Edward Island 10.6 per cent, New Brunswick 10.2 per cent.

The report notes that food insecurity is highest among single-parent families with children under 18, with almost 23 per cent reporting that they could not afford enough nutritional food.

“Among various household types in 2011–2012, lone-parent families reported the highest rate of food insecurity, while couples with no children reported the lowest,” it says.
It might have something to do with the fact that one lives so far up north that food must be transported a farther distance, or that one lives in an economically depressed area or that single-parent households just don't have the financial security two-parent households have.

And there is the dependence on government services.

I wonder who pays for those?

We don't need to trade with China, not even our oil:

Did Miss Freeland forget Harper's pandering to China?

Also: Rebel Scum:

Star Wars fans aren't thrilled the popular nerd destination of Tataouine is now a backdrop in Tunisia's struggle to keep ISIS terrorists out.

According to CNN, “This struggling town on the fringes of the Sahara still draws a few fans of the movie but now finds itself part of a real conflict, as a way-station for jihadists crossing the Libyan border 60 miles to the east.”

Over at the Fur: wearing niqabs during non-segregated citizenship ceremonies is a right only in Canada, historians eager to preserve a gulag- part of the former Soviet Union's dreadful past- have been removed from their museum, but... but... multiculturalism, increased benefits for the public sector in Ontario, leftism and all its rancid manifestations race to the bottom of the barrel, Yemeni rebels steal secrets files on American spy operations, Russia questions Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands and much, much more!

(Paws up)

The human body is meant to crave, eat and digest meat. Eating meat has been a mainstay of human culture. Veganism, on the other hand, is contrary to biology and human custom and doesn't even seem individually sustainable or pleasurable:

“A lot of my friends read my blog and ask, ‘Are you vegan now?’ It’s how I eat most of the time, and it’s how I enjoy eating, but it doesn’t mean I can’t eat a bite of chicken now and then, when I want. I was vegan for a little while, and I just realized it wasn’t for me. I still craved meat sometimes! I’ve been trying to stay away from the word ‘vegan,’ because it’s like a huge lifestyle choice and people take it very seriously.”

And now, a happy story from ISIS-controlled Syria:

In the initial panic to flee the besieged city, one Kobani resident who fled with his family had to make the painful decision to leave his beloved cat behind.

Merrof Ekary had rescued his cat from the city’s streets when it was only a few days old, he told BuzzFeed News through a translator, local freelance journalist Jack Shahine, who is also Ekary’s neighbor.

Ekary named the cat Gewre, which is Kurdish for “the white one,” and fed her milk and fish oil until she put on weight.

Shahine said his friend was devastated to have to leave Gewre behind in Kobani when he fled in mid-September, but that he needed to concentrate on getting his family out of the city. …

Shahine said Ekary returned to the city a few days after fleeing to rescue Gewre and bring her to Turkey, but found she had since given birth to a litter of three kittens.

“ISIS was close to the city and it was chaos and everyone was frightened, including us,” Shahine said. “When we saw the cat had babies, we couldn’t bring it with us, so we left her behind and my friend was very upset.”

In making the painful decision, Ekary rationalized that the cats’ best chance for survival was if they remained together.

Months later, after Kobani had been liberated, Ekary returned to his home in early February to inspect the damage, but found someone waiting for him.

“He loves her so much and he was so relieved to find her,” Shahine said, noting how agonizing the original decision had been.

“The connection between Merrof’s three children and Gewre was very strong,” Shahine told BuzzFeed News from Kobani. “He was always telling us that the whole family was so close to the cat and that she was just like person, except she didn’t talk.”

Gewre is now being cared for by Ekary’s brother in Kobani, as the city is still too devastated for Ekary to return with his family.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Post

Scroll down....

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has thrown his hat into the presidential ring:

Texas junior Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favourite, announced early Monday that he's running for the presidential nomination for the Republican Party.

The move would make Cruz the first high-profile Republican to formally announce his presidential bid, ahead of other likely contenders such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. 

What differentiates Cruz from his competition, however, is that he was born in Canada — Calgary, Alta., in fact — to an American mother and a Cuban-born father. His heritage made Cruz a dual citizen at birth. Under U.S. law, being born to an American mother automatically gives you American citizenship, while being born on Canadian soil makes you a Canadian.

The U.S. Constitution doesn't preclude dual citizens from running for the presidency, but it requires presidents to be "natural born" citizens, which is commonly believed to be Americans born with citizenship even if they weren't born on U.S. soil.

So, Cruz is perfectly eligible for the White House. Two lawyers who represented presidents from both parties at the U.S. Supreme Court also recently wrote in the Harvard Law Review that Cruz meets the constitutional standard to run. 

However, things are not so straightforward  in the game of politics.

News of Cruz's Canadian birth surfaced in the U.S. media in mid-2013 — the same time he said he learned that he had Canadian citizenship, according to the paper that broke the story — and his opponents quickly jumped on the opportunity to call him "Canadian Ted." If the "birthers" who nagged Barack Obama about his citizenship were any indicator, it potentially could have caused a political headache for Cruz.

But any blossoming problem was quickly nipped in the bud.

Nine months after realizing he could have a passport emblazoned with the Arms of Canada and maybe even run for elected office in Canada, he officially renounced his Canadian citizenship in May 2014.

According to Cruz's spokeswoman, he said he was "pleased to have the process finalized" and that it "makes sense he should be only an American citizen."

Cruz has a lot of good buzz, despite the reflexive hatred thrown at him by frightened, little low-information voters. Hillary Clinton has too much baggage and is therefore a lost cause. Some Democratic supporters are pinning their hopes on the false aboriginal, Elizabeth Warren.

Obama could go either way. His era of screwing things up for the US term ends in a couple of years. If Warren were to win, the White House will remain in the incompetent hands of a Democrat. If Cruz were to win, he would inherit a fractured and economically depressed mess that Obama made. This would ensure that voters sour from anyone who is not a Democrat.

The United States will never be what it was. As with all empires, Pax Americana is gone. Obama was the nail in that coffin. United States does, however, have a chance to get back on its feet, something it cannot do with appeasement-ready statists.

Strolling down memory lane:

“This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” President Obama assured the American people last September.

Six months ago when President Obama publicly announced that anti-terrorism efforts in Yemen were working and Yemen stood as a "success story" for unrest in the Middle East, he clearly got it wrong. Yesterday, the State Department and the Department of Defense made a joint decision to remove remaining U.S. forces from the terrorist-filled country.

The State Department closed the Embassy in Yemen in mid-February and evacuated all State employees and security personnel after al Qaeda seized the Yemeni Army’s 19th Infantry Brigade’s Base. The Americans who were left behind were U.S. Navy SEALS and Delta Force commandos. Today, they too are exiting the country. According to major news networks there are approximately 100 U.S. troops evacuating the al-Anad Air Base in Yemen.

Hey, remember when people said that worries about terrorism were just bits of alarmism?

Members of Parliament, senators and their staff were told Monday to be leery when opening the mail after envelopes with unusual markings were delivered.

Protective services for the House of Commons and Senate issued separate warnings after the envelopes containing white powder arrived at the offices of two senators.

A later update confirmed that the substance in the envelopes, which carried a return address that read "Ottawa Shooting," was non-toxic.

Hundreds protest after an Afghan woman was beaten to death:

Hundreds marched Monday in the Afghan capital, demanding justice for a woman beaten to death last week by a Kabul mob over false allegations she had burned a Qur’an — a vicious killing that shocked many Afghans and renewed calls for authorities to ensure women's rights to equality and protection from violence.

The killing has also drawn condemnation from Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, now in Washington on his first state visit to the United States since taking office in September, who denounced it as a "heinous attack" and ordered an investigation.

On Thursday, a mob of men beat a 27-year-old religious scholar named Farkhunda to death, threw her body off a roof, ran over it with a car, set it on fire and at the end, threw it into the Kabul River near one of the Afghan capital's most renowned mosques, the Shah Doshamshera.

The attack was captured by cellphone cameras and has been widely distributed on social media.
Farkhunda, who like many Afghans had just one name, was buried amid a huge public outcry on Sunday, her coffin carried by women's activists who defied the tradition of men-only pallbearers and funerals.

Protesters who gathered near the Shah Doshamshera mosque on Monday demanded the government prosecute all those responsible for the death.

Kabul's police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said 18 people had been arrested and all had confessed to their role in Farkhunda's death.

Rest assured that those responsible will not pay for their crime as a woman in Afghanistan is worth much less than a man. If Farkhunda was on equal legal footing, the men would never have confessed knowing that doing so would seal their fate.

A fire broke out in North Korea on Monday and was rapidly spreading to the South Korean side of the inter-Korean border, South Korean authorities said.

The blaze started at around 11 a.m. near a North Korean guard post located about 600 meters north of the Demilitarized Zone, military officials said.

By 3:45 p.m., it had spread close to the Dora Observatory in Paju, north of Seoul, a popular tourist destination.

The observatory was closed to visitors on the day, and no casualties or damage was reported, officials added.

More than 50 South Korean firefighters were putting out the fire, Paju city and military officials said, adding that three helicopters were awaiting the approval of the United Nations Command to aid in the process.

The cause of the fire was unknown, according to an official at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

South Korea is polluted with fine dust from China and domestic sources:

Along with yellow dust from China in spring, ultrafine dust or particulate matter 2.5 ― particles 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter ― have become a major threat to public health.

Last year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government issued ultrafine alerts 11 times, triple the number from the year before, city officials said.

The capital also saw an average ultrafine dust concentration of 25.2 micrograms per cubic meter in 2012, which is more than double the safe level advised by the World Health Organization, according to the Environment Ministry.   ...

While China has generally been blamed for the murky air in the case of yellow dust, the significantly lesser-known cause of the ultrafine dust comes from home, experts say.

Recent studies have found that the majority of PM 2.5 here originates from within the peninsula.

In 2013, ultrafine dust from China only accounted for 30 to 50 percent of the total, the government’s data showed. The rest was triggered by local coal-fired power plants and diesel cars. 

If only South Korea could get a cleaner and more ethical energy source from somewhere...

Russia- ever the opportunist- talks unfair trade with North Korea before Kim Jong-Un's proposed visit to Moscow in May. China hopes a new ambassador will re-warm the cool ties with its erstwhile buffer state:

The new Chinese ambassador to North Korea, Li Jinjun, is expected to make efforts to warm relations with the wayward ally, while "facilitating" long-stalled multilateral talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambition, a state-run Chinese newspaper said Friday.

The appointment of Li, former vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's International Department, which has been closely engaged in contacts with North Korea's ruling party, comes as political ties between the two nations remain strained because of Pyongyang's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has yet to visit China since taking the helm of the reclusive state in late 2011. Kim is likely to visit Russia in May in what would be his international debut and an apparent message of affront against China.

Li "is on a mission to warm up relations between the neighbors against a backdrop of the DPRK's recent outreach to Russia," the state-run China Daily said, using an acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

It is almost comical to watch China and Russia play political football. When in collusion, they are the best of friends. Then they take out the knives.

A little late but still cool:

With the number of foreigners in Korea increasing steadily, celebrations of overseas festivals are becoming quite familiar.

On St. Patrick’s Day ― Irish cultural and religious festival ― Koreans and foreigners wore green and drank Guinness together, celebrating the onset of spring.
St. Patrick's Day corgi pup :)
If all nations could put down their guns and wear green, we might have fewer wars or at least be colour-coordinated.

And now, cats stealing pizza because cats stealing pizza:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Post

One day, the snow will melt...

But not because of global warming:

  • There has been no increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature since the late 20th century.
  • Every measure of pre-industrial carbon dioxide, not derived from Antarctic ice cores, indicates a higher and more variable atmospheric concentration.
  • The total lack of predictive skill in AGW climate models.
  • An ever-growing body of observation-based studies indicating that the climate sensitivity is in the range of 0.5 to 2.5°C with a best estimate of 1.5 to 2°C, and is very unlikely to be more than 2°C.
  • Clear evidence that the dogmatic insistence of scientific unanimity is at best highly contrived and at worst fraudulent.


In other news....

Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier have been found guilty of eight out of nine charges:

Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, two men accused of plotting to derail a Via passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S., have been found guilty on eight of nine terror-related charges.

Esseghaier was found guilty on all five terrorism charges against him. But the jury was deadlocked on one of the four charges that Jaser was facing.

On Friday, the 10th day of deliberations, after the jury said it was 'irrevocably deadlocked" on that one charge, Judge Michael Code told jurors he has the power to accept their unanimous decisions on the eight other charges.

Among the charges, both men were found guilty of:
  • Conspiring to commit murder for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
  • Two counts of participating in, or contributing to the activity of a terrorist group.
Esseghaier was also found guilty of:
  • Conspiring to damage transportation property with the intent to endanger safety for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
The jury was deadlocked on that same charge for Jaser. Code called a mistrial on that one specific charge.

Suicide bombers have killed at least one hundred and thirty-seven people in at a mosque in Yemen:

Suicide bombers attacked a pair of mosques Friday in the Yemeni capital, unleashing monstrous blasts that ripped through worshippers and killed 137 people in the deadliest assault yet targeting Shiite rebels who have taken over large parts of the rapidly fragmenting nation. At least 13 children were among the dead.

A purported affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombings, which also wounded 357 people — raising the alarming possibility the extremist group has expanded its presence to Yemen after already setting up a branch in Libya. Earlier this week, the group claimed responsibility for a bloody attack on Western tourists in Tunisia that authorities said was carried out by militants trained in Libya.

And yet, this is the news the White House- still irritated by Netanyahu's election win -calls "chilling":

Almost all of the 436 mosques in the Central African Republic have been destroyed by months of vicious fighting between Christians and Muslims, the US ambassador to the United Nations said.

Samantha Power spoke to reporters on Tuesday after a Security Council visit last week to the country, calling the devastation "kind of crazy, chilling".

She expressed concern about an upcoming possible security vacuum as European Union and French forces pull out and a UN peacekeeping force is still not at full strength.

At least 5,000 people have been killed since Central African Republic exploded into unprecedented violence in December 2013.

Nearly one million of the country's 4.5 million residents have been displaced. Many of those who have fled are Muslim.

Power said 417 of the country's mosques have been destroyed. She visited the one remaining Muslim neighbourhood in the capital, Bangui, and described the residents as "a terrified population".

Destroying houses of worship and murdering those of any religion should be abhorrent to those who call themselves a part of the civilised, sane world.

So why is this tolerated?

The recent bulldozing by the Islamic State (ISIS) of the ancient cities of Nimrud, Hatra, and Korsabad, three of the world's greatest archaeological and cultural sites, is just this group latest round of assaults across the large area under its control. Since January 2014, the flamboyantly barbaric ISIS has blown up Shi'i mosques, bulldozed churches, pulverized shrines, and plundered museums.
Worse, the ISIS record fits into an old and common pattern of destruction of historical artifacts by Muslims.

Some attacks target the works of other, rival religions, such as Orthodox churches in northern Cyprus (since 1974), the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan (in 2001), the Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia (2002), an historic Hindu temple in Malaysia (2006), and the Assyrian antiquities ("idols") in Mosul (2015). On a personal level, a Saudi national smashed historic statues at the Senso-Ji Buddhist temple in Tokyo in 2014. Nor is this danger over: Islamic leaders have bruited plans to destroy Persepolis in Iran, St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai, and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. ...

Ancient artifacts might even be demolished because their space is needed for something deemed urgent. The Palestinian Authority threw out precious Temple Mount archeological remains as mere rubble in 2000 to build a mosque. In 2013, Hamas bulldozed part of the 3,000-year-old Anthedon Harbor in Gaza for military purposes and the Turkish authorities damaged the Byzantine-era walls of the Yedikule Gardens to build a decorative pool. ...

Why does Islam inspire its adherents to annihilate their own patrimony? Because humiliation establishes and reinforces one's superiority. Destruction of infidel remains confirms the superior power of Muslims and, by implication, the truth of Islam. In parallel, eliminating the vestiges of Muslim rivals establishes the superiority of Islamism over other, less assertive interpretations of Islam.

Go screw yourselves, Obama administration, and the post-modern West. You've sold out your birthrights to a yodelling crowd of culture-destroying murderers.


Soldiers from Niger and Chad who liberated the Nigerian town of Damasak from Boko Haram militants have discovered the bodies of at least 70 people, many with their throats slit, scattered under a bridge, a Reuters witness said.

In what appeared to be an execution site for the Islamist group, the bodies were strewn beneath the concrete bridge on one of the main roads leading out of the town. At least one had its head completely severed.

The bodies were partially mummified by the dry desert air, suggesting that the killings had taken place some time ago.

(Paws up)

Unless one is willing to vote out the very bodies who waste taxpayer money, the minimum wage will be a joke:

An increase in Ontario’s minimum wage, announced by the province Thursday morning, might seem like good news for people wrestling to pay their bills and to make ends meet.

Anti-poverty advocates, however, say the increase of 25 cents won’t do much to alleviate financial woes and will still leave poverty-stricken Ontarians in the dust.

Says you, Lackey to Kim Fatty:

Hyun Hak-bong also hit out at allegations made against his country days after the United Nations launched yet another investigation into North Korea's human rights record.

The diplomat was asked about allegations made to Sky News last year by North Koreans living in the South Korean capital Seoul. They claim to have been tortured and beaten in their own country.
He said: "Those allegations are based on fabricated stories by the defectors from the North."

"Do you know the difference between human beings and animals? Human beings have a conscience and morality. If they do not have a conscience and a morality the are like nothing.

"They're animals. That is why we call the defectors animals. They are no better than animals. They're human scum."

Where is the love?

This is pretty disturbing:

“Research tells us that fewer than 10 percent of doctors actually recognize trafficking victims, and fewer than 3 percent of ER doctors had received training in recognition and action,” Chin says. “There is a huge disparity in the number of victims seeking help and the number of doctors who could recognize them.”

Gee, I guess the kids aren't alright:

Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting.

Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.

A feel-good story:

Eloise Charet can't forget the horrific scene at the orphanage she walked into in Cambodia in 1975.

"One of the rooms had all these children that were left to die," says Charet. "You could see ants crawling all over their bodies, flies, everything, devouring them while they were still alive."

March marks 40 years since Charet and her sister Anna helped approximately 55 orphaned babies and children escape from the terror ofPol Pot's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

At the time, the horror of the Khmer Rouge was escalating — more than 1.5 million Cambodians would die in the next four years in one of the most notorious genocides in history.

Charet and her sister had gone to Cambodia to start an orphanage in Phnom Penh. They called the orphanage Canada House.

She's been trying to find all the children she saved. She was recently reunited with one of them, Sam Nakatsu, over the phone when CBC's Radio West spoke to them about the anniversary.
Does this include Putin's secret bank accounts?

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he and almost everyone working for him would take a 10% pay cut because of mounting economic sanctions imposed on his country.

Whether Putin and his staff will actually feel the slash in their salaries is debatable, considering Putin says he is unaware of the amount printed on his paychecks. "Frankly, I don't even know my own salary; they just give it to me, and I put it away in my account," he reportedly said to a group of reporters during his annual Q&A session in December.

Putin's official salary is chump change compared with that of a prime minister of an island nation smaller than New York City.

Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong earns 12 1/2 times as much as Putin at a whooping $1.7 million. Loong's salary is large enough to pay for the combined salaries of the leaders of India, Brazil, Italy, Russia, France, Turkey, Japan, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Germany.

And now, the beef-stuffed onion ring is a real thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mid-Week Post

A scintillating evening...

The jury is still out on two men accused of plotting to derail a VIA train:

Jurors in the trial of Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, two men accused of plotting to derail a Via passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S., have halted deliberations for the night and are set to start a ninth day of deliberations Thursday as they try to reach a verdict on all charges. 

Jaser is facing four terrorism-related charges while Esseghaier is also facing a fifth terrorism-related charge.

Earlier Wednesday, jurors told Judge Michael Code that they had reached agreement on charges for one of the accused, but were at an impasse on some charges for the other man.

It’s not clear what verdict they reached, or whom it related to.

A Tale of Two Leaders:

Harper congratulated Netanyahu’s victory on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, noting that “Israel has no greater friend” than Canada.

(credit here)
I'm just joshing. Obama isn't a leader!

Mark my words- Obama will concede to Iran like it's going out of style.

Also: "cautiously"? Obama hates Netanyahu so much that he can taste stabbing. Look for increased concessions to Iran:

After six years of testy relations, U.S. President Barack Obama may have to resign himself to the likelihood that he has not seen the last of Benjamin Netanyahu.

A better-than-expected showing by the Israeli prime minister in Tuesday’s closely fought election raises the prospect that he could remain a thorn in Obama’s side, with the two men increasingly at odds over Iran diplomacy and Middle East peacemaking.

U.S. officials responded cautiously as they waited to see whether Netanyahu or his center-left challenger, Isaac Herzog, would get the nod from Israel’s president to begin the long and messy coalition-building process.

Clearly the result that many of Obama’s supporters had hoped for – a repudiation by Israeli voters of Netanyahu’s hard-line approach – was not to be. Exit polls showed that his Likud party had erased its rival’s pre-election lead, putting the two sides in a dead heat

“Looks like the White House will need to let the champagne chill a bit longer,” Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations, tweeted about the election outcome.

The election came just two weeks after Netanyahu defied Obama with a politically divisive speech to Congress attacking U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran. The final days of campaigning only served to deepen tensions between the right-wing leader and Washington.

More instability in northern Africa, this time in Tunisia where a terrorist attack has claimed  twenty lives:

At least 20 people have been killed in a shooting attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia, including 17 foreign nationals, Tunisian officials said today. 

In addition, two attackers have also been killed, Prime Minister Habib Essid said, calling it a "cowardly terrorist operation" that targeted tourists. 

The tourists were attacked while they were getting off a bus to enter the museum, Essid said, noting this is the first attack there targeting tourists. 

The attackers were wearing military fatigues, and when the tourists ran toward the museum to avoid the shooting, the attackers pursued them, Essid said. 

Among the 17 tourists killed, the nationalities included Polish, German, Italian and Spanish, Essid said. 

An additional 22 tourists and two Tunisians were injured, he said. 

Radek Sikorski, speaker of Polish Parliament, said seven Polish tourists were dead and three were in in critical condition. And the Italian Foreign Ministry told ABC News that three Italians were dead and six were wounded.

More "degradation" for ISIS:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government will present a motion in the House of Commons next week to extend and expand the current military mission in Iraq.

But while he mentioned expanding the current mission, Harper wouldn't say whether that would include Canadian troops going into Syria.

Unless, by "degradation" one means "total annihilation", this may be a pointless venture.

By "historical roots", I'm sure Putin means the former Soviet Union circa Stalin:

Speaking to tens of thousands of cheering supporters just outside the Kremlin walls, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday described Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula as a move to protect ethnic Russians there and regain the nation's "historic roots."

Addressing a rally marking the anniversary of the annexation, Putin also vowed to stand up to the West, which responded to the Russian move by slapping painful sanctions on Russia. ...
He went on to say that he continues to think that "Russians and Ukrainians are one people," and voiced hope that the Ukrainians would come to condemn "extreme nationalists" and the two nations could restore normal relations.

Fighting that flared up in eastern Ukraine between Moscow-backed separatists and government troops shortly after the annexation of Crimea has claimed more than 6,000 lives, according to the United Nations. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of fueling the mutiny with troops and weapons, accusations Moscow has denied.
Big words from a tyrant who will no doubt go into hiding once even his own people turn on him.

Oh, so NOW annexing South Ossetia has broken some rules:

Russia's new treaty with Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region breaks international law and hampers efforts to strengthen regional security, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

Culture: it matters:

The head of India's Catholic bishops, speaking out after a nun was raped in the east of the country last week, has said the country should be as concerned about the welfare of its people as it is about its cows.

The comments appeared directed against hardline Hindu nationalists who have stirred up animosity against India's Christian and Muslim minorities, while successfully lobbying for tougher laws against killing cows.

Cows are considered sacred by many Indians, but beef is eaten by some poor and lower-caste Hindus as well as by Christians and Muslims. Campaigns to protect cattle are often used to vilify religious minorities.

"The country has a responsibility towards all of us — every human being — and not just cows," Cardinal Baselios Cleemis told journalists. The comments, reported in newspapers on Wednesday, were confirmed by his office.

The western state of Maharashtra banned the selling of beef in February and the northern state of Haryana has since imposed stringent penalties for cow slaughter.

Cleemis spoke before visiting the hospitalized nun who was raped at a convent school in West Bengal, an attack which has triggered protests on city streets and in parliament. 

Police have not established whether the assault motive was religion or money. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said he was "deeply concerned" and demanded a detailed report into what happened.

The attack was the most serious in a series of incidents that have spread fear among Christians since activists, emboldened by Modi's election victory last year, began their "ghar wapsi" (homecoming) campaign to convert followers of "foreign religions" to Hinduism.

Indian Christians emphasize their religion's long history in India and say it is an integral part of the country. Some Hindu hardliners, however, are seeking to define the country as primarily an Hindu nation, in which other religions are guests.

And now, an illustrated history of Americanised Chinese food, the diet soft drink of Chinese food.