Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tuesday Post

What's in the news?

Khurrum Awan was successful in his lawsuit against Ezra Levant.

(Sidebar: one may remember Khurrum Awan from his appearance on "The Agenda" in which Mark Steyn handed him his @$$. Please see the first part here. The money shots are here.)

Even though Khurrum Awan was the youth president of the anti-Semitic organisation, Canadian Islamic Congress, one cannot suggest even by association that he was or is anti-Semitic.

Yes, I can see how Awan would miss this.

So goes Crimea, so goes Moldova?

A top Russian policymaker issued a warning to Moldova as election results from the former Soviet republic showed that pro-EU parties were edging toward victory.

Russia is worried that a Moldovan government wanting closer ties with Europe would weaken its power in the region. The warning Monday comes after Russia annexed Crimea in March, following a referendum that showed overwhelming support for the move.

By 9 a.m. London time on Tuesday, over 98 percent of the votes had been counted following a parliamentary election on Sunday. Initial results showed that the pro-Russian Socialist Party was leading the way with 20.77 percent of the vote, but three pro-European parties were faring well enough that observers said they might be able to form a coalition. 

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's deputy prime minister, tweeted on Monday that Moldova's capital Chisinau should "think seriously whether the right path is chosen to move forward."

He bemoaned the dismissal of the pro-Russian Patria Party, which had been accused of illegal use of foreign funding, from the election. A Moldovan High Court upheld the ruling just days before the vote. ...

Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research at Standard Bank, said the pro-EU parties would likely get a narrow majority in parliament, but stressed that Trans-Dniester would continue to "loom" over Moldova. 

The region declared its independence in 1990 but has never been recognized internationally. There are fears of potential Russian intervention, Ash said, given that Moscow has been blamed for backing the rebels fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine.


Gazprom, a state-controlled energy giant, has a clear interest in preventing countries dependent on Russian natural gas from developing their own alternative supplies of energy, they say, preserving a lucrative market for itself — and a potent foreign policy tool for the Kremlin.

“Everything that has gone wrong is from Gazprom,” Mr. Mircia said.

This belief that Russia is fueling the protests, shared by officials in Lithuania, where Chevron also ran into a wave of unusually fervent protests and then decided to pull out, has not yet been backed up by any clear proof. And Gazprom has denied accusations that it has bankrolled anti-fracking protests. But circumstantial evidence, plus large dollops of Cold War-style suspicion, have added to mounting alarm over covert Russian meddling to block threats to its energy stranglehold on Europe.

Before stepping down in September as NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen gave voice to this alarm with remarks in London that pointed a finger at Russia and infuriated environmentalists.

“Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas,” Mr. Rasmussen said. He presented no proof and said the judgment was based on what NATO allies had reported.

(Sidebar: let's just say it's no coincidence that Russia has invaded Ukraine.)

Who does Russia think it is- Tides Foundation-funded thugs in Burnaby?

India is re-building its fleet after Chinese submarines were spotted:

India is speeding up a navy modernization program and leaning on its neighbors to curb Chinese submarine activity in the Indian Ocean, as nations in the region become increasingly jittery over Beijing's growing undersea prowess.

Just months after a stand-off along the disputed border dividing India and China in the Himalayas, Chinese submarines have shown up in Sri Lanka, the island nation off India's southern coast. China has also strengthened ties with the Maldives, the Indian Ocean archipelago. 

China's moves reflect its determination to beef up its presence in the Indian Ocean, through which four-fifths of its oil imports pass, and coincides with escalating tension in the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing's naval superiority has rattled its neighbors.

(Sidebar: is the Indian Ocean the next professional protest site for the Tides Foundation?)

"We should be worried the way we have run down our submarine fleet. But with China bearing down on us, the way it is on the Himalayas, the South China Sea and now the Indian Ocean, we should be even more worried," said Arun Prakash, former chief of the Indian navy.

"Fortunately, there are signs this government has woken up to the crisis," he said. "But it will take time to rebuild. We should hope that we don't get into a face-off with the Chinese, that our diplomacy and alliances will keep things in check."

If China wants India to bring it, it had better be ready to be marched into the sea.

Why would anyone want the same name as the fattest man in North Korea?

In North Korea, there can be only one Kim Jong Un.

A South Korean official said Wednesday that Pyongyang forbids its people from using the same name as the young absolute leader.

(Sidebar: maybe, one day, the popular press can ask about Camp 22? You know- do their jobs?)

Supporters of pro-Islamist Felicity Party shouted slogans as they protested against his visit – a backlash similar to the one observed in 2006 when Pope Benedict bowed down in prayer in the same mosque. Following much outrage from conservative Catholics and some Muslims, the Vatican was then compelled to publish a statement clarifying that Benedict had merely been in meditation.

Let us all be reminded of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's experiences:

In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

Pope Benedict XVI faced a growing chorus of demands yesterday for an unequivocal apology for remarks seen as portraying Islam as a violent faith, despite attempts by Western leaders and church officials to defuse the crisis. ...

In a telegram to the order of an Italian nun killed in Somalia in what some suspect was retaliation for Benedict's comments, the pope expressed hope that her sacrifice would help build ``real fraternity among people with reciprocal respect of everyone's religious convictions."

But the deluge of criticism and threats continued.

Italian media cited a report from Egypt of an Al Qaeda group calling for the German-born pope to be punished by strict Islamic Sharia law for insulting their religion. In Iraq, a group linked to Al Qaeda has vowed war on ``worshipers of the cross." ...

In Iraq, where an effigy of the pope was burned Monday, parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani called his apology ``inadequate and not commensurate with the moral damage caused to Muslims' feelings."

The Grand Mufti of the Palestinian Territories, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, said Benedict must make ``a personal and clear apology to 1.5 billion Muslims in this world for the insult."

But the cleric asked for an end to attacks on churches in the area, after seven were vandalized this weekend.

Learn from one's predecessors, is the point.

And now, DIY Christmas trees.

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