Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Post

Quickly now...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Kyiv during his European trip:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday will be the first G7 leader to visit Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to make Crimea a part of Russia.

The prime minister's plane arrived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, late Friday for a trip that will include talks early next week on nuclear safety. He will make a quick trip to Kyiv Saturday.

Canada has joined other G7 leaders in their condemnation of Russia's military action against Ukraine and last Sunday's referendum results, which have been denounced as a violation of international law.

Harper's visit to Kyiv — where he will meet with Ukraine's Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk —​ will be further "expression of Canada's principled stand on Ukraine," said the prime minister's director of communications, Jason MacDonald in an interview with CBC News on Thursday.

Related: where are those fascists I've heard so much about?

There was only one thing missing: the enemy. Everyone in Crimea. and now across eastern Ukraine, is talking about Ukrainian fascists, but nobody has actually seen one. “We have not seen them here yet, but we have seen them on television,” said Stanislav Nagorny, an aide to the leader of a local “self-defence” force in Sebastopol. The confusion was understandable: Russian television had unleashed a propaganda campaign impressive in both its intensity and cynicism, stoking ethnic hatred and exacerbating historical divides, mixing half truths with outright lies. Right-wing extremists and nationalists did take part in the revolution, but they do not control the government.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford is still sticking it to taxpayers:

One of the primary reasons Alberta Premier Alison Redford was forced to resign, earlier this week, was because of her $45,000 bill for a trip to South Africa.

Opposition parties and residents of Alberta felt that the expense was symbolic of the way the premier handled the public purse.

She repaid the $45,000 to the taxpayers of Alberta. But, somewhat ironically, its going to cost Albertans more money to get rid of her.

A lot more money.

According to a story in the National Post, several of the premier's staffers have been or will likely be released in the coming days as interim leader David Hancock takes over the reigns on Sunday. That, of course, means gold-plated severance payments for the exiting staffers that could potentially add up to over $1 million.

North Korea fires missiles... again:

North Korea test-fired 30 short-range missiles into the sea on Saturday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, the latest in a series of launches despite calls from Seoul and Washington to stop "provocative actions".

"North Korea fired off 30 short-range missiles between 4:00 am and 6:10 am (1900-2110 GMT Friday) this morning from its east coast into the Sea of Japan (East Sea)," said a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs.

"The missiles are estimated to have flown about 60 kilometres (37 miles)," he added.

Analysts said the missiles had been launched from the same location as 25 projectiles on Sunday, near the eastern port of Wonsan. The projectiles were Soviet-era short range Frog missiles from the 1960s, they said.

Isn't anyone bored of this routine?

Marie-Antroinette Michelle Obama appears to be an unwelcome guest in China:

Michelle Obama and three of her family members are staying in a $8,350-per-night Beijing presidential suite, but despite a 24-hour butler and other perks that come with the lodging, her entourage has inconvenienced 'pretty much everyone' and made the hotel staff 'fed up,' a well-placed hotel staffer has told MailOnline.

The sumptuous pad at the Westin Beijing Chaoyang hotel – its website calls the room 'an oasis of comfort – is a 3,400-square-foot masterpiece including a private steam room, 'corner sofas with silk pillows,' and in-room dining for six. 

But the Obamas' stay has already affected staff and guests at the hotel, with the Westin front-desk veteran alleging that Mrs. Obama's mother Marian Robinson has been 'barking at the staff since she arrived.'

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