Friday, May 01, 2015

Friday Post

Lily of the Valley Pictures Gallery

For the glorious month of May....

It appears the NDP  may acquire some seats in the Alberta election:

But the over 40 year reign of the PCs in Alberta could come to an end on May 5, if recent polls are any indication. The NDP, under new leader Rachel Notley, are putting in a real challenge to Premier Jim Prentice.

The latest poll from EKOS Research, which randomly sampled 721 Albertans between April 25 and 29 and released on April 30, suggests the NDP could sweep the province.

In a dramatic change from the results of the last Alberta provincial election in 2012, when the Wildrose Party offered the biggest challenge to the PCs, about 42 per cent of Albertans intend to vote for the NDP, according to the EKOS poll.

Twenty-three per cent of voters intend to cast a ballot for the PCs and 21 per cent for the Wildrose
In 2012, the PCs won a majority government and the NDP only received about 10 per cent of the province’s votes.

I'll fondly remember the days when Alberta was a functioning province.

My advice: stop equalisation payments and watch Quebec burn from a distance:

Anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police in Montreal on Friday night, with authorities firing off tear gas in an attempt to disperse them.

The several hundred demonstrators were taking part in the annual May Day protest.

Police declared the demonstration illegal shortly after it began because organizers did not give the route beforehand.

Earlier in the day, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Montreal and elsewhere in the province in peaceful protests to mark International Workers Day.

Those demonstrations focused primarily on big banks and the Quebec Liberal government's cost-cutting measures.

Alexa Conradi, president of the Quebec Federation of Women, said the Couillard government hasn't taken into account any of the proposals presented by social groups.

"Instead, what it's doing is causing cuts to public services, in health care and in the regions." she said. "A lot of these services are absolutely essential to maintaining a degree of equality in our society."

(Sidebar: like how Ottawa subsidises failing provinces?)


The proponent of a liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia’s north coast is offering more than $1-billion to obtain the consent of a First Nations community, a groundbreaking proposal that could establish the new price for natural resource development in traditional aboriginal territories.

In a province where resource projects have stalled and sometimes foundered over aboriginal opposition, the tentative deal between the Prince Rupert-based Lax Kw’alaams band and a joint venture led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas sets a new benchmark for sharing the wealth from energy extraction.

If approved by band members, the agreement will transfer roughly $1-billion in cash to the Lax Kw’alaams band over the span of the 40-year deal, while the B.C. government is putting more than $100-million worth of Crown lands on the table. For the 3,600 members of the Lax Kw’alaams community, the total package works out to a value of roughly $320,000 per person.

Former Prime Minster Jean Chretien has met with Vladimir Putin:

The Harper government wants to know what former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien said in his meeting Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

And Defence Minister Jason Kenney said he hopes Chretien delivered the same message the Conservatives always send these days to the Russian leader — get out of Ukraine.

The reports by Russia's news agency that Chretien met Putin in one of his palaces near Moscow on Thursday appeared to catch the Conservatives off-guard.

The meeting was a slap to the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which has moved to politically isolate the Russian leader, blaming him for the unrest in Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea last year.

"I haven't been briefed on what happened. I'm not sure if Mr. Chretien has chosen to brief our mission in Moscow. We would be curious to know what was discussed," Kenney said during a symposium on Canada's security relations with the European Union.

"All I can tell you is that the government of Canada has taken whatever opportunity we've had in meeting Mr. Putin, such as Prime Minister Harper's brief encounter with him at the margins of the G20 in Melbourne, to be very clear about our insistence that Russia get out of Ukraine.

"We would hope that Mr. Chretien would have taken — availed himself — of the opportunity to convey the same message."

As Chretien has never at any time put Canada in the forefront, his meeting with Putin is no doubt self-serving and humiliating to Canada.

Russia backs Iran and Iran backs the Houthis who have stormed through Yemen.

Carry on:

Russia criticized Western and Arab members of the U.N. Security Council on Friday for paying "lip service" to humanitarian needs in Yemen after the council was unable to agree on a Russian-drafted statement calling for pauses in fighting to allow delivery of aid. 

In the latest sign of increasing tensions between Russia and the West, who are already at odds over Syria and Ukraine, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his three-paragraph statement on Yemen was met with a "procrastination reaction."

"I was prepared to drop a reference to (a call for) an immediate ceasefire, just at the very least they need to have periodic humanitarian pauses to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian supplies, they couldn't even agree to that," Churkin said after closed-door consultations on Yemen.

It seems that Kim Jong Un will not be going to Russia after all:

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, refused an invitation to visit Moscow to mark the Soviet Union's victory in World War II because Russia refused to meet Pyongyang's demands for special treatment for the young dictator. 
A spokesman for the Kremlin announced on Thursday that Mr Kim had "decided to stay in Pyongyang" due to "internal issues".
The North Korean leader's snub to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, apparently came as a surprise to Moscow, which only hours earlier had indicated that preparations for Mr Kim's first overseas visit since he inherited the country in December 2011 were well under way. 
South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that Mr Kim opted to remain in Pyongyang because Russia "refused to comply with the North's request for special treatment, given that there will be several other foreign dignitaries at the event. 
"Without top-grade security, Kim would inevitably have become a freak show for the global press", it added.

But he already is a freak.

The Yongbyon nuclear reaction may have been reactivated:

Recent satellite images suggest that North Korea's five-megawatt reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex may have resumed operations. ...

Published on April 30, a report by Dr. David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini from the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said the imagery showed several "signatures" of low-level activity. Last year, the institute said the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon - seen as North Korea's main source of weapons-grade plutonium - appeared to have been partially or completely shut down, possibly for renovations.

38 North, a program of the US-Korea Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, said in a recent report they estimated that Pyongyang currently possesses anywhere between 10 to 16 nuclear weapons, and is able to put these weapons on top of at least medium-range missiles, which are able to hit most targets in Japan and South Korea.

Read the whole thing.

Hey! Rioting does get results:

City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby says Freddie Gray received his critical injuries in Baltimore police custody and has charged all six officers involved in his death. ...

Bystanders then began recording the arrest, watching as Gray was placed in the police van. The prosecutor faults the three arresting officers for not properly restraining or seatbelting Gray in the van, calling his arrest illegal to begin with.

“Lt. Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Miller failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest, as no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray,” Mosby said.

The van made its first stop at Baker Street, where Gray was removed, put in flex cuffs and leg shackles and, again, not properly restrained. It is here prosecutors believe he was injured.

“Following transport from Baker’s Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being restrained, handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained by his feet inside the Baltimore Police Department wagon,” she said.

That van stopped again at the intersection of Mosher and Freemont Street. The driver got out and observed Gray, but gave him no medical aid—and Gray still wasn’t in a seatbelt. The van made a third stop at Dolphin and Druid Hill Street, where Gray said he couldn’t breathe and asked twice for medical attention.

“However, despite Mr. Gray’s request for a medic, both officers assessed Mr. Gray’s condition. At no point did they restrain Mr. Gray per BPD general order, nor did they render or request medical attention,” she said.

The van then headed to North Avenue and Pennsylvania, where it stops to pick up Donta Allen. At that time, Gray was already unresponsive, according to Mosby. The officers did not get him medical help; he was still not properly secured in the van. Finally, the van drove to the Western District Police Station, where officers first removed the other prisoner from the van, before realizing that Gray had stopped breathing and was now in cardiac arrest.

As no other prisoner was reported injured,  how ever did Mr. Gray get hurt?

If anything, Mr. Gray was neglected, something for which there should be a reckoning.

One should not expect any calm, however.

One might be prompted to singularly call out Pakistan for its savagery but one would be mistaken:

A child has just been born and nobody looks happy - not even his parents. His tiny body is still smeared in blood. The newborn cries incessantly, and so does the teenage mother. The baby weighs only 3,500 grams and is around the size of the palm of a large hand. And that's when the mother's trembling hands reach the child's frail neck. She closes her eyes and presses her thumb against the child's throat. She strangles him. A child who arrived in the "civilized world" some 45 minutes ago, must now leave it. The nurse puts the child's corpse in a plastic bag and takes it out of the clinic. ...

According to the Edhi Foundation, a Pakistani welfare organization, more than 1,100 newborns were murdered and dumped in garbage bins last year. The organization says it collected the figures only from the country's big cities, and the number could be much higher nationwide.

"A six-day-old child was burnt to death. We also found the corpses of babies who had been hanged, or who had been partly eaten by animals," Anwar Kazmi, a manager at the Edhi Foundation, told DW.

"I can never forget one incident. A woman left a child in front of a mosque hoping that somebody would adopt him. But the cleric of the mosque ordered the people to stone the child to death. I saw the mutilated and torn body of the child myself," he recalled.

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