Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Post

To wit...

Good luck with that:

Alberta's New Democrats launched the post-Tory period of provincial politics Monday with a throne speech announcing bills to ban corporate and union political donations and to increase taxes on large corporations and the wealthy.

The bills follow through on promises made in last month's election campaign which ended with Rachel Notley and the NDP toppling a nearly 44-year-long Progressive Conservative dynasty.

Yes, about that:

If energy companies are skittish about investing in Alberta, they’re welcome to set up shop next door, Saskatchewan’s economy minister said Wednesday.

Bill Boyd said he’s been watching the political debate in neighbouring Alberta over the newly elected NDP government’s plans to review oil and gas royalties.
Boyd said he’s been hearing “a fair bit of concern” from companies at the Global Petroleum Show, a massive exhibition in Calgary this week with some 50,000 attendees from around the world.

“During this period of time where there’s some degree of instability, I think they’re a little bit worried as to what may eventually transpire,” he said in an interview.

“A little bit more serious than that, though, is they are certainly pulling back in terms of investment. I don’t think new investment decisions are going to be made until that climate is known.”

As I said, good luck with that.

Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that Paul Watson is a fraud:

Paul Watson, a Canadian environmentalist and star of a reality television show, says Canada has effectively barred him from returning to the country since his passport was seized three years ago by German authorities.

Surely not!

The family advocate for First Nations families dealing with Child and Family Services is devastated after her first week on the job, working for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. 

The assembly created the position of family advocate to respond to mounting concerns about children in the care of CFS in Manitoba. More than 10,000 children are in care and roughly 90 per cent of them are aboriginal. ...

While Morgan said she believes the solution to the child welfare system involves revamped legislation, she also sees that current legislation allows for some actions to be taken that aren't happening at the moment. For example, she said she is skeptical about whether full investigations are conducted before a child is removed from a home. She also has not seen evidence of preventative measures being pursued.  

"Prior to this role I worked in the area of restorative justice and I would see how many children would come through our doors as a result of being in CFS care, and knowing what I've learned over the years and all of these intricacies of residential school effects, I, as a First Nations person, didn't want to look back 30 years from now and be here in this place and time, knowing that this was going on and I didn't do anything about it," Morgan said. 

The conclusions of an inquiry into Phoenix Sinclair's death, a child who did not attend any school, residential or otherwise, because her parents killed her and the CFS did not stop it:

Throughout her five years, Phoenix was in the care of the child welfare system for the first few months of her life, and again, for a time, at age three. She was shuffled between the homes of Kematch, Sinclair, his sisters, and his friends Kim Edwards and Rohan Stephenson, never attending daycare, nursery school, or any community programs. When Kematch and her new partner, Wesley Mackay, moved her from Winnipeg to Fisher River and then killed her, nobody knew she was missing, except the boy who saw her die

Meanwhile, at least 13 times throughout her life, Winnipeg Child and Family Services received notice of concerns for Phoenix’s safety and well-being from various sources, the last one coming three months before her death. Throughout, files were opened and closed, often without a social worker ever laying eyes on Phoenix.

Let's just blame things on residential schools and call it a day.

Greece is an unbelievable financial black-hole and I have no idea why anyone would want to be saddled with it:

Greece and its creditors hardened their stances on Monday after the collapse of talks aimed at preventing a default and possible euro exit, prompting Germany's EU commissioner to say the time had come to prepare for a "state of emergency".

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ignored pleas from European leaders to act fast. Instead he blamed creditors for Sunday's breakdown of the cash-for-reform talks, the biggest setback in long-running negotiations to unlock aid. He said his government had a responsibility to defend Greece's dignity and would resist demands for further pension cuts.

"It is not a matter of ideological stubbornness. It has to do with democracy," said the 40-year-old leftist, who was elected on a pledge to end austerity.

(Sidebar: I think one can see a problem here.) 

Some of the world's most powerful oil executives will attend Russia's top investment show next week, once again helping the organizers shrug off a meager turnout from other leading Western industrialists and bankers.

Many CEOs and chairmen from major U.S. and European firms withdrew from last year's St Petersburg International Economic Forum because of tensions tied to Russia's annexation of Crimea and a separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

The political environment has calmed and a shaky ceasefire holds in Ukraine, but Western sanctions remain in place and most Western business chiefs have again decided to skip what used to be a key event in the international corporate calendar.

However, for the second year running, oil executives are showing up regardless, with the heads of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total flying into the home town of President Vladimir Putin.

BP's review of world energy supplies, published this month, estimated that Russian oil and gas reserves had jumped above 100 billion barrels for the first time, climbing to some 103 billion from 93 billion in the last review in 2013. This put it sixth in the global reserves league table.

Such an abundance makes it economically vital for major energy firms to maintain healthy ties with Moscow.

Why worry about Ukraine or downed jets?

A North Korean soldier has made a rare bid to defect to South Korea by crossing the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.

The teenager walked up to a South Korean guard post in Gangwon province's Hwacheon county around 8.00am local time (23.00 GMT) after walking across the world's most heavily militarised border.

No gunfire was exchanged as the soldier approached guards and expressed his wish to defect, officials from the South Korean Defence Ministry said.

"We've confirmed his will to defect after he reached our guard post," a ministry spokesman said.

The soldier was taken into custody and an investigation has been launched by South Korean officials.

More than 1,000 North Korean soldiers defect to the South every year, although it is rare for anybody to attempt to cross the heavily mined DMZ.

More about North Korean defections here.

Israel issued a report on Sunday arguing its 2014 Gaza offensive was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the release of findings of a U.N. war crimes investigation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scorned as a waste of time.

The 277-page report, which cited Israel's internal probes and statements from Western leaders backing its right to self-defence, suggested the Netanyahu government hoped to defuse criticism from the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) inquiry in advance. 

Deeming the HRC biased, Israel boycotted its investigators as it did those from the council who looked into its 2008-09 Gaza offensive. That HRC inquiry accused Israel of war crimes. 

Launched last July after a surge of cross-border rocket fire by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, Israel's 50 days of shelling, air strikes and ground incursions in the congested enclave killed more than 2,256 Palestinians, including 1,563 civilians, a U.N. report said in March.

Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel also died in the conflict. ...

In public remarks to his cabinet, Netanyahu again accused Hamas of hiding behind civilians by deliberately operating in Gaza's crowded districts.

"Whoever wants to continue with baseless blaming of the State of Israel, let them waste time reading the report by the U.N. commission. We, for our part, will continue protecting our soldiers. They will continue protecting us," he said.

And now, a blind Irish cat defies the odds by climbing a mountain:

To all those who say that blind Irish cats can't climb mountains, I say to you: Stevie did!

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