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.

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