Monday, March 02, 2015

Monday Post

For the work-week...

Tomorrow, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress:

Mr Netanyahu says the deal would be inadequate to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
He is due to give a speech in Congress on Tuesday which was not agreed in advance with the Obama administration, angering the White House.

The speech comes two weeks before Israeli elections, with his Likud party under pressure in domestic polls.

The US and other powers - the so-called P5+1 - are negotiating with Iran on its nuclear programme. 

They want a framework agreement by the end of the month which addresses concerns that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons technology, something Tehran denies.
I think by now Mr. Netanyahu knows Obama specifically cannot be trusted but is hoping for popular support elsewhere, support that will play out in the 2016 election or sooner.

The poor, downtrodden Mohammed Emwazi from a wealthy family and member of a network in contact with men convicted of trying to bomb the London subway system (themselves searching for their "identities" by raping girls and beheading people) wanted to kill himself:

Newly published emails suggest the man who became known as "Jihadi John" had suicidal thoughts before leaving Britain for Syria.

In an email exchange with the Mail on Sunday five years ago, he talked of taking too many sleeping pills and sleeping forever as a way to get away from British security service scrutiny. Mohammed Emwazi told a journalist at the newspaper in an email that he felt like a "dead man walking."

Emwazi was revealed this week to be the Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John," who appears in beheading videos brandishing a large knife.

He was a computer science graduate who lived in west London before leaving for Syria in 2013. He was interrogated by security services while in Britain but was never arrested or charged.

He didn't much to the civilised world's dismay.

North Korea rattles its sabres... again:

North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Monday, South Korean officials said, a defiant response to annual joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, but one which drew a swift protest from Japan.

The firing came hours before the U.S.-South Korean military exercises were scheduled to begin, drills which the secretive North denounces as a preparation for war.

The missiles landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and southern Japan early on Monday morning after traveling for about 490 km (305 miles), according to South Korea's Defense Ministry.

Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said North Korea fired the missiles without designating any no-sail zones, which was regarded as a provocation.

(Sidebar: I would regard firing any missile as a provocation.)

A head pastor of large Canadian church has failed to return from a humanitarian mission to North Korea, and the Canadian government has reached out to try to locate him, his Toronto-based church said on Monday.

Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, 60, has made hundreds of trips to North Korea, where he helps oversee a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in the Rajin region, said Lisa Pak, a spokeswoman for the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in suburban Toronto. 

North Korea and China have clamped down on Christian groups in the last year, and several American Christians have been detained by North Korea.

Pak said they have not heard from Lim since Jan. 31 but were not initially worried because he is an experienced traveler and knows the country well. They also thought he could be caught up by North Korea's quarantine of foreign travelers who may have been exposed to Ebola.

North Korea ended the quarantine program on Monday. 

"This is not an unusual trip for him ... he's not a tourist who got lost, he speaks Korean, he's been there many times," said Pak. "We didn't want to cause unnecessary hysteria, just make sure he is OK. He's very non-political; he just wants to help the people."

The 3,000-member church, where Lim has been head pastor for 28 years, has done humanitarian work in North Korea since about 1997, Pak said. Lim immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1986 and has a wife and grown son, she said. 

Lim left Toronto on Jan. 27, flew to South Korea, and planned to visit China and North Korea during his trip, Pak said. After hearing from Lim on Jan. 31, the church expected him to be out of contact until Feb. 4. When he did not contact the church, it waited another 21 days to allow for a possible Ebola quarantine.

The Canadian government said consular officials are in contact with Lim's family members and have offered consular assistance but declined to comment on Lim's situation.

Given the situation with the Garratts, I don't believe the Canadian government will help.

A slick new documentary on China's environmental woes has racked up more than 28 million online views in two days, underscoring growing concern in the country over the impact of air, water and soil pollution.

Hosted by former state television reporter Chai Jing, "Under the Dome" offers a well-produced look at the cost to the environment of 30 years of breakneck economic development.

Chai discusses the issues before a studio audience while standing in front of a screen showing videos of polluting industries, interviews with affected people and visits by her to sites in China and abroad illustrating the extent of the problem.

It also faults government regulators for failing to crack down on polluters and permitting the widespread burning of the most polluting types of coal, oil and gasoline.

Chai said she was moved to produce the 104-minute documentary out of concern for the effect of pollution on her infant daughter's health. Costing about $160,000 to make, the documentary won praise Sunday from new Chinese Environment Minister Chen Jining, who said it reflected "growing public concern over environmental protection and threats to human health."

(Sidebar: if one of the official party apparatus likes it, how controversial can it be?)

This man is an @$$hole:

On 16 December 2012, the 23-year-old woman had been to see a film, the Life of Pi, with a male friend. At 8.30pm they boarded an off-duty bus, with six men on board, five adults and a juvenile. The men beat the friend and each raped the woman in turn, before assaulting her viciously with an iron instrument.

Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus, described to me every detail of what happened during and after the incident. While prosecutors say the men took turns to drive the bus, and all took part in the rape, Singh says he stayed at the wheel throughout.

Along with three of the other attackers, Singh is now appealing against his death sentence. In 16 hours of interviews, Singh showed no remorse and kept expressing bewilderment that such a fuss was being made about this rape, when everyone was at it.

"A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy," he said.
"Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20% of girls are good." 

People "had a right to teach them a lesson" he suggested - and he said the woman should have put up with it. 

"When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy," he said. 

Chillingly, he went on: "The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won't leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, 'Leave her, she won't tell anyone.' Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death."

If you want to stop Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, stop the drinking:

Pregnancy tests will soon be available in two women's washrooms in Whitehorse as part of a study on reducing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, says Mike McCann, the outgoing executive director of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon.

FASSY is funding the Whitehorse portion of the project, which is part of a two-year study led by the University of Alaska Anchorage. 

The pregnancy test dispensers and more traditional posters aimed at awareness will have bar codes that can be scanned with a smartphone, says McCann.

"That will take you to a web page that allows you to do a a survey," he says. "That is, how they're collecting the data as to what medium results in more people responding and the knowledge level gained through those different venues."

The study will look at whether dispensers in public washrooms are more effective than posters at helping reduce fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Perhaps if one actually used government money wisely (or pulled themselves up by their boot straps), this wouldn't be a problem:

The chief of the volunteer fire department in Wadena, Sask. is concerned about emergency responses in a nearby community. 

Harold Narfason says the Fishing Lake First Nation, located approximately 25 kilometres southeast of Wadena, has a lapsed contract with his fire crew.

Last month, two toddlers died in a fire on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation​. The nearest volunteer firefighters had a contract there in the past, but it was cancelled, reportedly over unpaid bills. 

Narfason said his department no longer responds to fires at Fishing Lake. 

"It was four years that they hadn't paid and we were over $60,000 in debt," he said. "Where do you continue going and where do you stop? That was our hardest decision," Narfason said the First Nation received a letter about the debts, and a community board decided to cancel the contract due to the unpaid money. 

However, the Wadena Volunteer Fire Department still responds to Fishing Lake for emergencies that require extractions using the jaws of life as well as to support STARS Air Ambulance crews. 

Narfason said other nearby volunteer fire departments are now called to Fishing Lake in the event of a fire, but it's difficult to know that they may be further away in the event of a fire. 

He said his volunteers have discussed what they would do if a fire started there and lives were at stake.

"Whether we had board approval to take the equipment or not, we would, as volunteers, take the trucks and go," Narfason said. "If we get charged with stealing a fire truck, we would deal with the situation then."

What are people spending money on that they cannot afford (but might steal) life-saving equipment?

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